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U. Texas, U. Oklahoma heads won't rule out leaving Big 12

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The presidents of the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma said on Monday they wouldn't rule out leaving the Big 12 football conference.

Their remarks came moments after the board of regents for both schools authorized the presidents to negotiate and, if necessary, take quick action on whether to remain in the conference or whether to jump. Nebraska and Colorado have already left, and Texas A&M has announced plans to do so.

If Texas and Oklahoma decide to follow suit, it would likely spell the dissolution of the Big 12 conference and remaining members would rush to align with other conferences.

Neither UT President Bill Powers in Austin nor OU President David Boren in Tulsa would commit to any plans, either to start active negotiations with other conferences or to explore sticking with the Big 12.

"This is an ongoing process," Powers said. "We'll comment when the process is over, and right now we'll just do what's best for our students, for the university and for our student athletes."

(Reporting by Karen Brooks; Additional reporting by Steve Olafson in Oklahoma City; Editing by Jerry Norton)