Archive for Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rumors of the Big 12’s death were greatly exaggerated

Around Town column

June 17, 2010

That collective sigh of relief heard this week in the area was from Big 12 fans who could finally breathe after a week plus of listening to what looked like the blow-by-blow destruction of their beloved conference.

It was quite a rollercoaster ride, but in the end the University of Texas stayed put, as did the rest of the Big 12 south, and preserved what is now the Big 12 minus two. Thank God.

I’d first been tipped to this possibility a month and a half ago when Chicago son and his New York girlfriend were here for a wedding. I was taking them back to the airport when conference realignment came up. I hadn’t known about it.

I filed that conversation away until last week when the reality of it started showing its ugly face. First rumor was Missouri and Nebraska bolting the Big 12 for the Big 10. Nebraska did it, while Missouri was left at the altar, even though they now deny any involvement. Colorado jumped to the Pac-10. That’s OK. We don’t need their high altitude anyway, the only real competitive edge they had.

But when that happened, the doomsayers nationwide and mostly in the region shouted it was the death of the Big 12. That was accentuated with reports of the Big 12 south heading to the left coast’s Pac-10, too, or Texas A&M to the SEC, which opened up a spot for Kansas University to head west. Or whatever scenario you were buying into at the time.

As for me, I’m proud to say I wasn’t buying. Oh, I certainly realized the possibility of what was going on and the end of college athletics around here as we know it. But it just didn’t make any sense — to me, anyway.

The two-hour time difference between Texas and the land of fruits and nuts, coupled with increased travel time and cost, as well as many other factors, kept me believing that the end was not here … yet.

But I admit I kept up with the ongoing saga like I’ve never done before. My mainstay was Matt Tait’s blog at He did an excellent job. He kept track of reports from all over — ESPN, various Texas and other websites, as well as tweets on Twitter, taking the whole media communications network to another level. At least for me.

Through it all, I held firm in my stance that the Big 12 would survive. But I wasn’t going to believe it until Tuesday after the Texas Board of Regents were to meet. Once that “official” announcement was made, I turned my focus to the various people I’d been communicating with via text message and Facebook with one message: I hate to tell you I told you so, but I told you so.

And I really didn’t hate that.


Torch 11 years, 3 months ago

Standby Jeff.

I'm not sure this is over.


NanCrisp 11 years, 3 months ago

Talk of conference jumping goes way farther back than a month-and-a-half ago. Missouri alumni were seriously debating the merits at Christmas time. That was when the Kansas City Star began giving voice to the rumors. Of course, at the time folks around here couldn't have cared less whether the northern- and eastern-most Big 12 members were discussing the more lucrative financial offerings of other conferences.

The talk around the dinner tables in Mizzou centered around the facts that: 1) Many of Mizzou's best-attended games (talking football, of course, which is what this is all about) are with Illinois, Notre Dame, general points east; 2) The Big Ten splits media money equally among the members, while the Big 12 has this agreement that favors the Texas schools.

Knowing what Tigers were thinking, it's easy to see why Nebraska and Colorado chose the paths they did. At the time, Texas was playing the greed card and there was no reason for them to change. It took losing two schools to put the possibility of the conference dissolving on the Texas radar screen. Once that happened, the University of Texas (and its minion schools in the Big 12) had to seriously consider which side the bread was buttered on. Jumping to the Pac 10 wouldn't have been as sweet a deal as they've had in the Big 12. Even though there's a bigger pie, sharing with 11-15 other members significantly reduces the Texas piece. Preserving the Big 12 was found to be advantageous to the Texas schools, and that is why it's going to go on (for now, as Torch suggests).


Highstreet 11 years, 3 months ago

KU had the liefeline to the Pac-10. KSU and Misery had no such lifeline so they were saved by this agreement -for now. Having a perennial top-5 basketball program is a great hole card to have, even if this is all about football money. Agree that this conference is destined to fail. Texas wrecked the old SWC and they'll wreck this conference whenever they want to.


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