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Pitch for new Cowboys' stadium includes UT-OU

Posted: Monday October 4, 2004 5:54PM; Updated: Monday October 4, 2004 5:54PM
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DALLAS (AP) -- The annual Red River Shootout between Texas and Oklahoma will remain at the Cotton Bowl until the current contract expires, but the venue could be up for grabs after that.

The State Fair of Texas president says the Cowboys have agreed not to pursue the shootout in their plans for a new stadium in Arlington unless Dallas officials fail to meet their commitment to renovate the 74-year-old Cotton Bowl in South Dallas.

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However, Cowboys officials say they are unaware of any such agreement and would honor "any written contract that is in place with the Texas-Oklahoma game," according to The Dallas Morning News' Monday editions.

A new five-year contract was approved earlier this year.

If Arlington voters approve the new stadium in November, Mayor Robert Cluck said city and Cowboys officials would start trying to book the annual UT-OU game and other big-ticket sporting events as soon as the facility is built.

"We understand Dallas has a contract with [the schools ], and we're not going to interfere with that contract," said Cluck. "Once the stadium is built, we're going to be out trying to find every event we can."

State Fair president Errol McKoy said a gentlemen's agreement with the Cowboys was reconfirmed recently by a team official at the fair.

"He told me they will honor and respect any agreements, and will not approach the schools, will not try to steal the game," said McKoy. "The Cowboys, the athletic directors, everybody -- the goal is to make sure the game stays in Dallas, in the Cotton Bowl."

A proposal to lure the interstate grudge match away from its historic bowl home is part of the campaign to persuade Arlington voters to authorize millions of dollars toward construction of a new Cowboys stadium. The current venue is aging Texas Stadium in Irving.

This summer, a glossy mailer distributed among promotional materials for an Arlington stadium stated: "A new Dallas Cowboys stadium could bring the coveted Texas vs. Oklahoma football game to Arlington, keeping tens of thousands of tourists and millions of dollars in local spending every year here in our region."

The Cowboys said they learned in meetings with UT and OU that Dallas would lose the game if facilities weren't improved soon.

"It's just another reason why we are working diligently to build a facility like this," said Cowboys spokesman Brett Daniels. "We think all parties agree it's of a valuable interest to keep this economic engine here in the Metroplex."

Oklahoma's athletic director, Joe Castiglione, has said he hopes the Texas-OU rivalry can continue at the Cotton Bowl because the hoopla surrounding the State Fair makes the game special.

DeLoss Dodds, UT's athletic director, said he also hopes the game remains in Fair Park as long as stadium upgrades are completed.

"If I had my druthers, I'd like to keep the game in its traditional setting -- the State Fair and the Cotton Bowl," said Dodds.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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