Sports-writing colleague Kirk Bohls and I wrote an article for today’s paper coming off an interview with William Powers Jr., president of the University of Texas. We focus on his views about the turmoil in the Big 12 athletic conference.
There’s an interesting academic twist to the subject as well.
UT, like many schools, wants to play against opponents with academic heft. Back when the Big 12 consisted of 12 schools, seven of them were members of the Association of American Universities, a group of major research institutions. Such membership is the gold standard of academic excellence.
That said, there are many schools — Amherst College, Swarthmore College and the University of Notre Dame are some that come to mind — with fine academic programs but not the beefy research portfolio required for AAU membership.