Texas-OU Cotton Bowl Contract Amended

Given Texas' home football winning streak and streaky record at neutral sites, the proposal about turning the Texas-Oklahoma shootout into a home-and-away series has some merit. But the "old school" in me applauds the contract amendments announced Friday between both schools and the State Fair of Texas intended not only to keep the rivalry in Dallas but to expand seating for ticket-starved fans.

The new contract includes the possibility of temporary seating options, as well as approaching the City of Dallas about adding up to 10,000 permanents and 16 suites in the venerable, old stadium with a current capacity of 75,587.

Athletic directors from both schools said the main objective is to provide more options for fans.

"Our number one priority in the conversations was to provide more seats for our fans," Texas AD DeLoss Dodds said. "We are happy that they are committed to working with us on that and willing to make some other adjustments to enhance the game's experience for the fans and both institutions."

Hey, we all know it's about the money and, frankly…do we care? They could add 20,000 seats to the stadium and there still wouldn't be enough tickets to the Shootout. The Red River Rivalry pumps at least a couple of million bucks into Big D's coffers in a single weekend, and while both the cities of Austin and Norman wouldn't sneer at the infusion of revenue, the Cotton Bowl amendment is an attempt to provide a win-win situation for all parties.

The new deal would waive the stadium rental fee for the remaining four years of the existing contract, resulting in an annual savings of $47,300 for both schools until 2006. In addition, State Fair Association officials have proposed (and will initiate) the development of underwriters to provide $150,000 to offset each school's expenses related to the game. The combined benefit amounts to $122,300 for each school.

The revision also calls for (thank God!) renovations to congested restroom and concession areas. (One should not rub up against a Sooner unless your tetanus shots are current.)

It would be interesting to observe the City of Dallas' response to proposals to renovate a stadium that, essentially, sits empty all but three or four days per year (at least for football purposes). Should either Dallas or State Fair officials punt on the proposals, an agreement is now in place to end the contract for the remainder of its term. However, UT and OU athletic officials said there is no expectation of exercising that option.

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