If Texas A&M is bowing out, is Houston headed for Big 12?

HOUSTON (AP) - Houston athletics director Mack Rhoades would not say if he has been in contact with the Big 12 in the wake of Texas A&M's plans to leave the league.

Houston began competing in Conference USA in 1996. Last summer, two Houston-based lawmakers wrote a letter asking Big 12 officials to consider adding Houston after Colorado and Nebraska announced they were leaving. Texas A&M said Wednesday it plans to leave by July.

Rhoades said he's focused on improving Houston's athletics program, adding that "we're always going to look to get better." He thinks A&M's exit will prompt more realignment, but he wouldn't speculate on how it may affect the Cougars.

Texas A&M dealt a blow to the Big 12 Conference Wednesday, saying it plans to leave by July 2012 if it is accepted by the SEC or another league. The Aggies are a charter member of the Big 12, which was founded in 1996.

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