As someone who has taught, and done administration, in higher education 36 years, I disagree. During this time, I have had thousands of athletes (some notable ones), student trainers, band members, and cheerleaders in class. I have been on athletic policy study groups and accreditation studies/teams over three decades. I've worked at a BIG TEN University and live in the community. I know the concerns about class attendance policies (and travel expenses). It's not a silent issue. I have seen BIG TEN teams travel, by bus or campus vans, for track meets, field hockey matches, wrestling tournaments, golf events, etc., sometimes on 500 mile plus (one way) journeys. Having a coach or student player plea for accommodation to miss an extra day of class, sometimes two, is not uncommon. This is sometimes in addition to what the policy normally allows, and can sometimes be unexpected, such as a given team making some play-off.
I hear that, I've spent time in college athletics as a travel party member with teams in the A-10 and C-USA. I understand the academic issues and travel expenses...
But we're talking about a conference travel schedule. In the grand scheme of things, adding a member that's at a distance doesn't change that much, because you're probably not changing the number of conference games/conference road trips. Texas isn't being ADDED, it's taking the place of a different road trip.
For example. Penn State women's hoops, flying commercial I assume.
This was their conference schedule (18)
Home: Ohio St, Mich St, Mich, Purdue, Indiana, Iowa, Ill, Minn, Wisc,
Away: NWern, Mich St, Mich, Purdue, Indiana, Iowa, Ill, Minn, Wisc
Now, you add Texas for a 12-team league. You're probably going to 16 games because a hoops schedule based on East/West divisions makes total sense (football divisions have nothing to do with it, and the standings could still be 1-12, like C-USA does).
E: PSU, OSU, MSU, Mich, Purdue, Indiana (H/A) W divide up: Iowa, Illinois, Minn, Wisc, Texas, NW
Now their schedule looks like this (16)
Home: OSU, MSU, Mich, Purdue, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Wisc
Away: OSU, MSU, Mich, Purdue, Indiana, Texas, Northwestern, Minn
Six road trips are the same.
Instead of Iowa, Ill and Wisc, they go to OSU, Texas, and I gave them two of the three furthest road trips the same year in the E/W split. (Many conferences have issues like this and schedule so two teams in the East wouldn't go to both Texas AND Iowa in the same year, they'd get one at home).
So you're talking about the difference in travel time between flying to Austin vs Ames. It's not that great. It's an hour or two. And it's an hour they are spending on a plane instead of at a hotel room in Ames, anyway.