Monday, September 5, 2011

Texas lawmakers may get involved in Big 12 jockeying


As buzzards begin circling, anticipating the imminent demise of the Big 12, top Texas lawmakers are reaching out to slow the realignment process.

Multiple league sources confirmed Sunday that Texas lawmakers, including Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, are preparing to take a more active role in determining whether Texas A&M; should head to the Southeastern Conference and whether Texas should join Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech as part of a four-school move to an expanded Pac-12.

One league source said Sunday that the anticipated interest from lawmakers probably “has more to do with Texas” than A&M; because a Longhorns move to the Pac-12 — if finalized — could kill the Big 12. A&M; announced plans Wednesday to withdraw from the Big 12, pending an invitation to the SEC.

Dewhurst’s office said he is following the situation.

“Lt. Gov. Dewhurst’s primary focus is to ensure the best possible outcome for all Texas universities,” said Dewhurst spokesperson Mike Walz in an e-mail response to questions from the Star-Telegram.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s office said only, “The governor believes these decisions are up to each school,” according to spokesperson Lucy Nashed in an e-mail.

A&M;’s action triggered statements during the weekend from school presidents at Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, who announced plans to explore other conference options in concert with one another. In a Friday interview, Oklahoma President David Boren said his school’s athletic future could be determined “within 72 hours.” A Sunday report in “The Oklahoman” said OU’s “sole focus” is on joining the Pac-12 after passing on the opportunity to do so last summer.

OSU President Burns Hargis said Saturday that his school will remain connected to OU because such a move is “in the best interest of our institutions and the state of Oklahoma.”

A departure by either, or both, schools in Oklahoma could spell the death knell for the Big 12. As one league official said Sunday, “If Oklahoma decides to leave, I don’t think it matters what the (Texas) Legislature does. There won’t be anything left to save.”

Before Saturday’s Oregon-LSU game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said schools have approached him in the past week regarding expansion and indicated he would not be surprised to see more realignment in the near future.

“I feel like further consolidation and more stability would be a healthy thing for college football,” Scott said. “Right now, there is obviously some instability that I don’t particularly think is a healthy thing in some parts of the country.”

It is possible that only Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could join the Pac-12, if invited, thereby leaving the Texas-based schools to figure it out for themselves.

Although Pac-12 rules prohibit single-school networks, such as Texas’ recently launched Longhorn Network, it is possible that the network could be adapted to fit into the existing Pac-12 model if Texas chooses to join that league. A source close to the situation said Saturday night that it would be “difficult but not impossible” for the LHN to be adapted into the existing Pac-12 structure, which includes one league-wide network and six regional networks, each featuring two schools.

Under that model, an eventual Pac-16 could include an adapted version of the LHN as a two-team regional network (featuring Texas and Tech), with another regional network featuring OU and OSU.

If the Big 12 implodes, there has been speculation about the Big East seeking to bring in the five remaining Big 12 schools (Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State) as part of an expanded football league in 2012. Another scenario could include the Big East going after only Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri. TCU will join the Big East next season.


Spencer Goff 10 years, 1 month ago

"Under that model, an eventual Pac-16 could include an adapted version of the LHN as a two-team regional network (featuring Texas and Tech), with another regional network featuring OU and OSU."

I felt like KU had a shot at the Pac 12 right up until reading that line. I'm not sure how else they would regionalize their television marketing to fit in with KU.

I know Scott would like to add the Kansas City market moreso than Lubbock, but I have no idea how they would make it work.

The irony of UT's network being handed to Tech almost is hilarious enough to make it worthwhile.

Kman_blue 10 years, 1 month ago

The PAC is pairing Utah and Colorado together. I know both are big squarish states in the Rocky Mountains, but there's a world of difference between Salt Lake City and Boulder or Denver. So, it wouldn't be too difficult to see KU and OU paired together.

I could see OU and OSU pairing themselves to the PAC, but the PAC is the 1 conference with enough academic and political snobbery to actually possibly vetoing OSU from joining, which could open a door for KU. All crazy hypotheticals, but I could see that happening if OU is really hell bent on leaving like A&M.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

It could only happen if Texas did not join the Pac Whatever. KU and maybe mizzou could be the other two and easily join in on a network...... although typing that almost makes me spit coffee on my computer.... imagine sharing a network with mizzou..................

jayhawkintx73 10 years, 1 month ago

Well, I think the rest of the Big 12 should leave the Texas Longhorns to themselves. Kansas, Kansas State, OU, Oklahoma State, Missouri, and Iowa State should start talks with teams from other leagues that aren't currently BCS conferences. This would include BYU and even Notre Dame as an independent. The Big 8 didn't need any team from Texas in it. This would not be the first time the teams in Texas destroyed a conference.

Every team is going to have to make a choice right now. It is either they are committed to the Big 12, or they aren't. It can't be both ways.

pepper_bar 10 years, 1 month ago

You realize Oklahoma isn't staying, right?

milehighhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Sorry, but this seems a bit ridiculous. What school in their right mind would touch the Big 12 now these reports have surfaced (of OU and TX going to the Pac-12) - they would have no idea what kind of conference they are moving to, and how long it will have that particular makeup. Notre Dame and BYU have already said no (according to some decent sources) which is what prompted OU and Texas to consider the move in the first place.

I would also suggest that it can be both ways. Teams are committed to the Big 12 right now because in theory, they have to be. That does not mean that if the Big 10 came calling, any school would stay.

The Big 12 is gone, and the 'new' Big 8 that you propose would be slightly better than the WAC, Mountain West or Missouri Valley. It couldn't sniff the quality of the other conferences. I'm nostalgic too, but would prefer we kick out of the conference: it simply is not a viable vehicle any longer.

Michael Pannacciulli 10 years, 1 month ago

Yes, couldn't agree more. Big 12, Big 9 or Big 8 dreaming needs to end and we need a serious BCS home NOW. I would LOVE for us to make the headlines over the OKLA schools or the TX schools first. I see our only real option being the Big East. The other conferences are CRAP. HEAR THAT, CRAP! If we need to hire the dude from the sham wow commercials to sell KU then do it - we deserve the best conference we can get into...WAC, Conference USA, Mizz Valley...all bunk. Sheaon, Gray-Little, Self, Gill, that guy that bought the Naismith rules for how to get things done, see what he suggests KU does...oh and by the way you have to take that zit faced little brother with you KU - KState so start planning on how you will sell them as part of the deal too!!!

robervl 10 years, 1 month ago

I agree let Texas go independant and keep the rest together.

chriz 10 years, 1 month ago

I don't know why everyone wants to keep the Big 12 together, with Kansas in it, as it would only benefit the teams joining us. If it's our only option, then fine. Otherwise, we need to think about how we're going to end up in one of the four 16-team mega-conferences. Otherwise, we can look forward to our basketball program playing Memphis's schedule every year and getting Final Four appearances vacated due to our efforts to actually get a decent recruiting class.

jhox 10 years, 1 month ago

I personally believe the Big 12 is done. The one and only thing that would save the conference is for Texas and ESPN to either fold the UT network or share revenues. That may be why OU is threatening to leave. Maybe they're playing a little poker with UT? If the Texas legislature wants to save the conference, perhaps they can somehow force UT to back down and share revenues more fairly. That's the only hope.

Texas reminds me of Enron...what was that movie called? The Smartest Guys in the Room? That's UT. They've painted themselves and the conference into a corner, and it is probably beyond saving.

Robert Brock 10 years, 1 month ago

UT - The Movie...combination of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Hud (probably Paul Newman's best performance as a Texas cattleman who was amusing and likeable but selfish and dangerous - therefore not fit to live with).

LAJayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

If OU is playing the bluff game, it would be to secure financing for their OWN network. Texas and ESPN both want the Big 12 to stick together because that gives the best profits to TLN. OU threatens to leave causing ESPN to create a contract with OU as well. That's the OU power move theory, anyway.

TLN is not going to fold (ESPN would simply not let that happen at this point with all they've put into it). Either OU gets their own network backed by ESPN, or Texas moves to the Pac Whatever. There is always the outside chance Texas goes independent, but that seems rather unlikely to me. It's one of the other two options.

Aligned 10 years, 1 month ago

“I feel like further consolidation and more stability would be a healthy thing for college football,” Scott said. “Right now, there is obviously some instability that I don’t particularly think is a healthy thing in some parts of the country.”

This is the guy who is largely responsible for creating the instability we're currently experiencing! What a jerk.

jhox 10 years, 1 month ago

Don't blame Scott. The University of Texas created this instability. They've always been greedy, and they've taken more and more for themselves with every passing year. They have effectively ran the Big 12 office since the formation of the league, with every decision being made with one consideration only, "Does this benefit the University of Texas?"

It was and is unhealthy for the league and for college football. I would love to see the Big 12 survive, but it has zero chance unless UT is willing to share the riches equally. Unfortunately, bullys don't like to share.

Kman_blue 10 years, 1 month ago

What riches should they be sharing? Because despite a minority portion of current conference $$ being shared unequally based on TV appearances (it guarantees no school more $ as OU got the most conference $ in 2009-10), the vast majority of Big 12 conference $ is shared equally now. The brand new $1.3 billion TV deal they just signed would of been shared equally as well as 1/2 of the rest of the conference $, which comes to about 3/4 of all conference $ being shard equally. This actually hurt KU, OU, UT, and A&M because we all got more $ than an equal share year in and year out over the past decade or so.

So what riches was UT supposed to be sharing? $ from their 3rd tier rights in the LHN? KU, OU, ISU, KSU, MU, OSU, A&M, TTech, and Baylor all don't share any of their 3rd tier rights $.

I would agree though, that UT could probably keep A&M from leaving and stop the Big 12 implosion right now if they backed out of their contract with ESPN (although I don't know what kind of penalties that might entail and if there are big $ penalties, the Big 12 could and should guarantee sharing those costs in exchange for a Big 12 network IMHO) and organized a Big 12 network which would combine every school's 3rd tier rights.

Ben Kane 10 years, 1 month ago

I sort of wish that the kansas legislature would step in because I have more faith in their pull than our school administrations.

jhox 10 years, 1 month ago

Come on, chuckberry, you can't be serious? You're usually a pretty thoughtful poster, but getting politicians involved would be disasterous for KU. We need to keep them out of it, or they'll force us to do what's best for our little purple brother, to assure the schools stay together.

The only political involvment should come from the Board of Regents, in the form making a decision allowing KU to part ways with KSU, opening the door for the Pac 12 to accept us. (Yes, the Big 10 would be even better, but that's highly unlikely to happen. Either way, if KSU is part of the deal, neither conference is going to want anything to do with us.)

Ben Kane 10 years, 1 month ago

ha, well thanks for the complement. i agree, time to kiss the mildcats goodbye. I can't believe these words are coming out of my mouth but we need to team up with mizery here. I know everyone wants the pac but not me. the pac gets no national attention compared to east coast schools in any sport and putting our games so late at night could destroy our basketball dominance.

I'm hoping for big10 or, my true hope, that our current conference gets aggressive and becomes the first super conference.

Randy Bombardier 10 years, 1 month ago

It will go to Congress. It is out of hand. It is going to get complicated. There are going to be budget caps, forced revenue sharing and so forth. We cannot continue to let Darwin run collegiate athletics. If you think "why not", see your history book and look up Nazi Germany.

Ben Kane 10 years, 1 month ago

maybe it should go to congress, but I think the american people might feel that congress has some more important issues to work through right now.

Randy Bombardier 10 years, 1 month ago

True, but actually this issue is much simpler.

Michael Pannacciulli 10 years, 1 month ago

i didn't realize how closer to the truth that is until last years discussions surrounding the PAC 12...

jhox 10 years, 1 month ago

I don't buy this. We were left out of the discussions last year, likely for a couple of reasons. First, Texas was dictating that if UT and A&M were going to the Pac 10, they had to take the two other Texas schools as well. Second, KU was pretty firm on not wanting to go anywhere without KSU, and the Pac 10 had zero interest in that.

I bet you can't find one administrator in the Pac 12 who would prefer Tech or Baylor to KU, if allowed free choice. Look at fan posts from Pac 12 schools...there are tons of comments questioning why the Pac 12 would be interested in Tech over KU.

Now the Texas legislature is getting involved. Look for them to tell Texas they can't go to the Pac 12 unless Tech and Baylor get to come along for the ride.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 1 month ago

KU either gets lucky with its connections to Anschultz and we replace OSU or TTU or the SEC/Big10 add KU for its academics and bb program. Otherwise we are added to the Big East.

Personally if the PAC 12 wanted to truly expand, it would be smarter to get UT, OU, KU and MU, all are the major schools in their states and you don't have any of the younger siblings holding onto the coat tails.

I doubt that would happen though.

I could see the SEC wanting to make a bigger splash in BB, and I'm sure Kentucky would want a natural rival.

I just hope that we end up in a major confernece.

rockchalkforlife 10 years, 1 month ago

I have a question about all of the realignment discussions. Does Beebe have the authority to tell these schools they cannot switch conferences? We just set a new TV deal, and since A&M left, can't they be sued for breach of contract? And if Beebe does have the authority to say no, why isn't he? It seems to me like he is wanting this to implode. Pretty sad if you ask me.

Spencer Goff 10 years, 1 month ago

Dan Beebe hasn't had any authority since he was the lead investigator in the SMU scandal. He is a tool.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 1 month ago

Blow it up! I'm sick of this crap... As much as I'd rather not be in the Big East or ACC, I'd much rather be there than dealing with this nonsense any more! Drama SUCKS!!!

jayhawkintexas 10 years, 1 month ago

The three biggest lies: The check is in the mail, I have read and understand the agreement, and We are firmly committed to the Big XII Conference

Spencer Goff 10 years, 1 month ago

I had a chuckle at this one. Sort of one of those "truth in humor jokes" that makes you laugh and a little sad at the same time.

Randy Bombardier 10 years, 1 month ago

I have been thinking as long as Texas and OU were at the table we had a conference, then OU gets footloose. But for me the worst thing to come to light was a comment by Dodds that he would like to see the best of the Big12 and the best of some other conferences to form a megaconference. We all know what that means. Now, my favorite solution is:

  1. Big 12 members vote to dissolve the conference.
  2. New conference is formed immediately with:

OU, OSU, KSU, KU, MU, TAMU, BAYLOR, ISU, TTech, Colorado State. Texas is now independent, like it or not. Reach out to NU and Colorado.

dmg97102 10 years, 1 month ago

For so many years, we've made footbal T-shirts like "Win or lose, we still booze," and we've totally shot ourselves in the foot for neglecting football for so long. Right now, we need to improve our football team essentially overnight. We need to start selling out games, and make coming to Lawrence a hostile place to play, and create a homefield advantage. We need to show potential conferences that we're serious about football, because that's the best thing that's going to help the basketball team. As much as I love KU basketball, this whole ordeal hinges on the football team. So if you love KU basketball, get out to the football games; sell out every game, and we need to do our part to win football games so that our basketball team doesn't have to join the MWC or (soon to be unstable) Big East.

We also need to be plugging to every conference at this time to get in. Of course the Pac 12 wants us over Tech. We offer KC and a national brand of basketball, and Tech offers west Texas wasteland, but there's going to be political pressure for Texas to carry them along. Texas, OU, OSU, KU would be ideal for the Pac 12, but they'd settle for Tech if they were going to lose out on Texas. The Big 10, ACC, and SEC are not looking to expand any further west and all are likely to raid the Big East (which is next to be eliminated off the college athletics landscape), so it's likely Pac or non-BCS for us.

142466 10 years, 1 month ago

With speculation running supreme, let me add this to the pile. Did the B10 reject Mizzou last year because they're 16 team solution is Neb, Kans, Mizzou, N.D., and one more eastern school. Makes for a pretty geographical map.

They couldn't take all 3 of us last year without being held liable for tampering with the B12. The B12 carcass blocking the road will be cleared in a matter of days.

Can we convince them that we're going to expand our stadium? How do we come up with money to do it?

With Neb, Kans, & Mizzou in, there would only be 2 B10 seats left. Would that be enough to finally nudge N. D. in their direction?

Randy Bombardier 10 years, 1 month ago

I agree that this is the best option. It will probably come down to KU and KSU going different directions and I am concerned that the powers that be will not allow this. I don't know if those same powers would allow KSU to the Big East and KU to the Big10.

Personally, I don't think the move to the Mt. West is as bad as people are letting on. It will be an automatic qualifier once old Big12 teams are added and the Big12 goes away. KSU would really thrive there. KU would too. I actually think an automatic qual. Mt. West is better than a distant Big East. My opinion.

But the best option by far if we can get it is the Big 10. That would be huge relief in light of all of this hullabaloo.

Randy Bombardier 10 years, 1 month ago

P.S. If we get into the Big10, the money for expansion will come. Now, filling the seats with people who stay for the entire game will be the hard part. Maybe we start selling beer in the third quarter.

patrick_raftery 10 years, 1 month ago

Well said 66 ... the B10 is the ONLY option for KU.

The B10 will NOT stoop so low as to pick up Big East Schools - sorry (except maybe Rutgers and Pitt). The Big East is not an option for KU as it is next to die (after B12) and the P12 will likely pick up OU, OSU, UT, and Tech - making 16. Hopefully the B10 gets KU, MU, Rutgers, and _(?) ... (ND but only if the Big East dies - and the B10 holds a spot for them). Remember, the AAU is very important to the B10 (Nebraska is a problem for them) and there are only 2 Big East schools in the AAU (Rutgers and Pitt) Pitt is NOT B10 material ... sorry. Iowa State (AAU) is an interesting option for the B10 ... they like the 2 schools per state deal.

Randy Bombardier 10 years, 1 month ago

Oh my goodness. Dodds is a KSU alum. I had no idea. I would have never guessed. Wonder what that means for KSU fortunes. I am on pins and needles again.

Spencer Goff 10 years, 1 month ago

He has been down in Texas since the 80's and hasn't really done any favors for KSU while at UT, so I don't think KSU is planning on any help.

Actually, it is sort of hilarious how many of these guys are KSU alumni. Weiberg was, Zenger the same, and Dodds. Our man DeLoss still has friends and connections all over the state of Kansas.

With that said, I'm not expecting either school to get any special favors.

LogicMan 10 years, 1 month ago

142466: "Can we convince them that we're going to expand our stadium? How do we come up with money to do it?"

We ask our alums, fans, and other supporters to dig deeply and donate, and go to the games.

Specifically, what else tangible is needed to make us more attractive to the Big Ten? E.g., better parking at the stadium?

Code_2008 10 years, 1 month ago

Well, I still believe that the Mountain West is the best bet for Kansas (and Kansas State). You guys want a BCS conference, most of you seem to fail to recognize that once the Big 12 collapses, the MWC will have enough potential (with Boise State, Kansas, etc.) to become a BCS conference.

Spencer Goff 10 years, 1 month ago

The same could be said with just reforming a new Big 12 and taking Boise State from the MWC. You could even go about picking off selected schools like San Diego State and Fresno State.

But honestly, I'm wanting us to get into a conference that will keep basketball as a strong point. I'd say Big 10, Pac 42, or Big East in that order. If we are in any of those conference Bill Self will actually probably be better off with recruiting.

We'll see. I'm just hoping this isn't all smoke and mirrors and nothing actually happens. I'd like to know this is done for good and we can get on with life.

Randy Bombardier 10 years, 1 month ago

I suspect that you are correct. Boise State was a good add for them. Although I have wondered if a merger with the remaining schools under the umbrella of the Big12 would not safeguard the BCS status. Dunno. It would be gracious of our power members to create an exit strategy that involved this as an end-result. Say perhaps, Two teams such as OU, OSU leave year one and are replaced immediately with two Mt. West Teams. Two more leave the next year (Texas, Texas Tech) and are replaced by two more Mt. West Teams. Then the conferences get together for a merger under the Big12 umbrella.. TAMU will probably still go SEC under that scenario. If we keep the BCS automatic qual status I would be okay with that but still prefer Big10 if we get invited. I am just getting fed up with the machinations behind the scenes by our Big12 brethren. I also think we have to consider that there are those in the Big12 who would like to see what they consider the weaker sisters leave the conference so that they can form their power conference, therefore we have to stay until the 11th hour.

tulsahawk13 10 years, 1 month ago

I'm so glad someone else can see this. A league that all our sports could be competitive in. We'd lose a little in TV revenue and then we'd make it all back by winning more.

jgkojak 10 years, 1 month ago

.Boise St is a flash in the pan non-academic school that has no business being anywhere near KU - Wichita St is a bette.r school than Boise St

I think we end up in the B10 - hopefully w mizzou.

K st will do well in the Mtn West

kc_wildfire 10 years, 1 month ago

I am not a Boise St. fan or supporter for that matter, the blue turf drives me absolutely nuts, however to call them a "flash in the pan" is not true. Since 2000 they have a record of 125-18, which works itself out to a winning percentage around 87%.

Hank Cross 10 years, 1 month ago

KU's not going to the B1G for the same reason that MU didn't have a shot last year - the math doesn't work out. Suppose KU and MU want to join together and the present members of the B1G each currently get $20 mill in tv revenue. In order for the B1G to make any money on the new members, each new member must generate enough revenue to not only pay for their share, but also make money for the present members. You don't make someone a partner if they're not going to make you money or you're going to break even. This means that each new school would have to generate at least $48 million new tv dollars a year to make it worthwhile. ($20 mill base share + $2 mill increased revenue for each of the 14 members.) If KU's (or MU's tv) rights were worth $50 million, conferences would be banging on their door.

In the case of the BE, the current contract is not that lucrative. If,however, the league was able to stablize and go to 12 FB schools and become The Only College BB Conference That Matters, the members can expect a far bigger share once the contract is renegotiated next September.

LogicMan 10 years, 1 month ago

Sounding more like the PAC-16 for OU, OSU, KU, and MU. I'm warming up to an East Division of those plus Utah, CU, Arizona, and ASU.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 1 month ago

KU, MU, OU and OSU to the PAC 16.

KSU and Baylor to the WAC, MWC, or CUSA.

Big East loses 2-3 teams to the SEC and ACC (and UT to the ACC). If UT goes to the ACC, Pitt goes there as well, Syracuse and Rutgers, I don't expect FSU to leave for the SEC if UT comes in to stabilize the ACC. Big East becomes basketball only. Leftover FB schools end up in the MWC (e.g. TCU again, Baylor) or CUSA.

Big Ten doesn't add waiting for ND to come to them before they think about another team (probably something about some location freezing over before that happens).

Tony Bandle 10 years, 1 month ago

The sound you will be hearing will be pens being used to put signatures of basketball recruits on letters of intent to schools in stable conferences....don't be shocked if Tarc, Perry and Marcus suddenly disappear.

This scenario is my greatest fear.....our century of football inconsistency will eventually pull down our elite basketball program i.e.:

Texas greed and ego cowtow the Big 12 = Colorado and Nebraska taking off = Texas getting it's own network = Texas A&M taking off = Oklahoma looking to leave = a huge blackeye for the not so big 12 = downgrading of the basketball league = Bill Self going to the Thunder = Kansas loss of basketball elite status = ?????????

Joseph Kuebel 10 years, 1 month ago

This is truth, Oxcal. This is all about $... I dont know where the revenue numbers are from last year but would be interested to see.

KU ranked 3rd in the big12 and 11th in the country as reported in 2009. ( ).

I'd like to see where we stand as of last years #s (as KU had a very good year in revenue sports in 2007-08 - this was reported in 2009, as figures are reported a year later).

Angus0199 10 years, 1 month ago

There's a story about KSU going to the B1G because of their Agri-terrorist thing and about $1bill. going to them for research. Apparently this research is in-line w/B1G schools and their dealing w/the US. Has anyone else heard about this? Would we be going w/them if they do go? Would the State get involved if we were going to be seperated?

John Percival 10 years, 1 month ago

If we join the Big East, we won't have to miss the first half of our Big Monday games anymore. As much as I love watching 50-49 hackfests...

Cora Smith 10 years, 1 month ago

I was watching the Texas A & M game last night and noticed the irony of their logo in the middle of the field. If you look at it, it actually is aTm. Like bank atm! Show me the money Texas blank (starts with an A) & blank (starts with an M)

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