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.

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