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Monday, September 19, 2011


Leftovers on menu for KU


If you just can’t stand to read the painful truth, put the paper down and go for a walk, or pop in a CD, or turn on the TV, or read a book, or swear off following sports for the rest of your life and replace it with a more stable hobby, you know, like playing the stock market.

The truth is, Kansas University is on the brink of ranking as one of the biggest losers in the conference realignment musical-chairs game it had nothing to do with setting in motion.

The Big 12 had great football and basketball leagues and was the perfect fit for Kansas, a strong and loyal member. First Nebraska and Colorado bolted. Then Texas A&M. Now Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and Texas and Texas Tech could announce any day that they are joining the Pac-16.

The Big East would have been a nice fallback position when it was the Big East, but it ceased being the Big East over the weekend, when Syracuse and Pittsburgh fled to the ACC. Connecticut is trying to follow them and looks to be in a strong position to become the ACC’s 15th school. Rutgers wants to be the 16th.

The Pac-12, if the presidents uncomfortable about how Texas Tech and Oklahoma State measure up academically agree to follow the recommendations of commissioner Larry Scott, isn’t interested in Kansas.

The Big Ten’s not expanding for now.

So where does that leave Kansas? Up a creek without a paddle, along with Missouri, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State.

Now what?

Pray that the ACC allows for one exception in its desire to own the Eastern seaboard and invites Kansas instead of Rutgers.

Such a conference would allow ACC schools to brag about winning 10 of the past 13 NCAA Tournament titles in basketball: UConn (1999, 2004, 2011), Duke (2001, 2010), North Carolina (2005, 2009), Maryland (2002), Syracuse (2003) and Kansas (2008) have won it all in the past 13 seasons.

Conference realignment is driven by football, but putting together such a phenomenal basketball league without question would add value to a conference.

The ACC is smart enough to know it’s never going to rank with the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 in football, so it decided to assemble the greatest basketball conference of all-time. If you’re going to do that, do it all the way and invite KU instead of Rutgers.

Not an impossible dream, but not likely. Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, gives the ACC a foot in the New York TV market, whatever that means.

Again, now what? Form a league with Big 12 and Big East leftovers. Not a terrible league, except that all it does is kick the can that is realignment anxiety down the road a year or two, when conferences that haven’t expanded yet choose to do so. The best football schools will be looking to get stolen away, the basketball-only schools will grow tired of the negative recruiting vibes the instability brings and break off to form their own conference.

On a positive note, Kansas will get to extend its rivalries with Kansas State and Missouri, at least until the next shake-up.

It’s such a shame Texas was so weirdly obsessed on getting into a measuring contest with everyone that it led to a mass exodus.


William Weissbeck 2 years, 7 months ago

Out flanked by UCONN again. Maybe we should start asking our lost recruits what they're hearing. It's a better source than what we have now.


Randy Bombardier 2 years, 7 months ago

If we feel that we have to entertain this merger we better not sign anything that locks us in. I would be very, very disappointed if we end up in the Big East and locked into it with no hope of getting out. Talk about looking like bumpkins.


gardenjay 2 years, 7 months ago

Texas and OU need to leave because they are scared stiff of our basketball program, and the shame it continues to bring them. They keep trying to make up for it with their football programs, but alas, they have learned over the years, and must now search for a new battlefield in the constant strain to survive.

Actually it's money again. Bleah.


purple 2 years, 7 months ago

K-State and I-State are hosed. Hopefully, KU & MU can stay together and be part of the Big 10. A "pod" with NU, MU, KU and IL sounds pretty good... If the Big 10 doesn't step up, then I'm afraid KU is up the crapper too. MU will have an option now with the SEC or down the road with Big 10.


danmoore 2 years, 7 months ago

If find it ironic that the Big 10 with its 2 national titles in the last 40 years will put the Big 12 out of business. They think we're their little sisters but this conference has won 11 national titles since 1970.


Martin Rosenblum 2 years, 7 months ago

I believe that if Perry Ellis chooses KU, considering the tutmoil and uncertainty, KU should be viewed as a school of choice and therefore a much more valuable commodity in the scheme of things. Just as player's "stock" rises and falls before the NBA draft, the direction that recruiting goes in should be of some interest to conferences considering taking on new member schools.


Funhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Well, if we could increase the state's population, we would have more TV sets and, therefore, no longer be a small market. If you are involved in the business world, you know that small markets often get overlooked. It all comes down to money, whose got it, who doesn't. College football is big business. Sport's editor knows his math. Whatever conference we end up in, I will still have fun cheering for my Hawks, including the football team.


jgkojak 2 years, 7 months ago

I am shocked by the pessimism. And I'm also shocked by the fact that the JW, who should be putting forth bold visions and leading fan expectations, is putting out this pessimistic garbage.

If the ACC ends up landing Rutgers, there are no more AAU schools for the B10 to pluck - meaning if they ever want to be at 16 (which they will have to) they will need to add at least 3 (if we assume Notre Dame) or 4 (if we believe what ND is saying that they only want to be Indy). Which 4 schools go to the B10?

No one's leaving a 16 team ACC with a kick-ass TV contract (which they'll have given the large markets they are in).

Either the B10 lowers its standards, elevated FBS schools w/decent basketball and AAU status (who would that be?) or

They add Mizzou and Kansas and maintain football quality (Mizzou), upgrade basketball (Kansas) and have two solid academic fits.

Keegan - why don't you do what you're paid to do and do some research - If the B10 expanded who would they add? Look at AAU status, endowments and academic rank.

If a hybrid conference was needed, why wouldn't the Big 5 existing b12 members simply invite THEM into the B12?


BPSkelly 2 years, 7 months ago

It's enough to wanna make me puke. If I so had the energy. In reality though, all we can do is wait and see.

We've never been in a position of strength with this... considering "strength" in this equation is our Football program.

We can bash the Chancellor, the AD, past folks at those same positions, but the reality is as Alums and Fans the idea of KU having a football program of sustained strength seems foreign. Lew Perkins upped the ante significantly, and while many fans and alums loved it, a great many -- vocal many regardless of their % -- seemed uncomfortable with it. That includes many things written here at the LJW about stuff. I've got no problem with both views, but KU folks need to be real. We're as much the problem as anything else is here.

We're fortunate that we had the perfect storm a few years ago for the Orange Bowl. While that will be a mere distant memory regardless of our conference situation, our inability to create a sustained program that could go bowling nearly every year is ultimately a big part of the downfall here.

Geography and being a low populated state is a big factor to, one that there's ostensibly nothing one can do about that.

There's no question if we're unable to get into one of the Big 4, that both the school, and by extension the athletic program are going to stall out. It doesnt mean KU hoops wont be good and historic. But if we're unable to be on TV frequently, how is Coach Self going to sell that. History is great, and it does help with recruiting. But if its between KU and a school that is a Big 4 conference with more exposure, more dollars, and more... well... everything that a kid wants... how in the hell is KU going to compete with that?

The "Big mess of whats left" conference wont completely obliterate KU's ability to continue success. But what happens when the BCS is re-upped... or dissolved to only include the big 4? When that "Big mess of whats left" goes away, so does KU's program as we know it. It'll always be decent one would think. I think the top recruits would have a hard time justifying KU over others though when others would be able to offer more.

It isnt the end of the world yet. But we can see it from here.


JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 7 months ago

A few canards, red herrings and straw men…

  1. The PAC is the best option – Logistically, this is the worst possible option. Many of the coaches at KU and other conference schools have commented in how the travel arrangements would negatively affect the student players…they still count, don’ they?

Anyone that advocates this affiliation has clearly not travelled to the West Coast. The only palatable option is that several of the current conference teams join the PAC (Colorado apparently is opposed to that) and the majority of the games are played in a pod comprised of teams in this part of the country. Logistically speaking and thinking of the student athletes, the best options would the Big 10 (minimal disruption), Big East (medium), ACC (medium-high), PAC (high).

  1. AAU Association – I have been fortunate to have been at both ends of big research grants evaluations, having been part of more than one university team submitting proposals, and also at the reviewing end evaluating proposals. In all the processes I have been involved, l conference association was never, ever discussed. At times, specific school reputations such as MIT, Cal Tech, Yale, Princeton were mentioned (notice that none of these schools have big athletic programs), but in general the evaluation was based on the specific resources in personnel and facilities that the school had available (See KSU and all the money coming from Homeland security based on its expertise on the subject). Most people involved in research do not know much about sports and frankly don’t give a damn about them.

Let’s face it; as much as conferences boast about common scholastic achievement, they were formed primarily for sports. Didn't Nebraska lose its AAU accreditation but was still taken by the Big 10 despite the musings that only AAU members are allowed?

  1. KU administration is doing nothing - We do not know what the administration is doing or not doing. The entire realignment was started by MU officials and the State Governor publicly courting the Big 10 only to end up with egg on their faces as the Conference took Nebraska, who had been quietly working behind the scenes. The ACC move was also made under secrecy and caught all the pundits by surprise. Let’s wait and see where the chips fall before before we pass judgment on the KU administration and demand their firing, as some have suggested in this board.

Lastly, if not for OU’s president comments, the Big 12 would have added from one to three teams and stayed together, likely stronger than before. As I indicated before, it is ironic that the future of the most mainly of men sports is being decided by Boren, the least manly of men and one individual that would be more comfortable in San Francisco than he apparently is in Norman.


sm5561 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm sure I'll get blasted for even suggesting BEast merge isn't horrible, so let me preface this by saying that we should do whatever is possible to get into one of the big four conference. Any of them. I don't care which one.

But plan B should be to protect our basketball program. Big East sucks in football, but if you bring along some of the basketball only schools it could still be good for us. Depaul & Marquette would be good for recruiting Chicago area. Georgetown, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova would be good for recruiting east coast. TCU, Baylor and maybe another Texas school (SMU? Houston?) would be good for recruiting Texas. Get 10-12 football schools and the best BEast BBall schools and I don't think our BBall program will suffer...


jayhawkinmullen 2 years, 7 months ago

Tom If you just can’t stand to read the painful truth, put the paper down and go for a walk, or pop in a CD, or turn on the TV, or read a book, or swear off following sports for the rest of your life and replace it with a more stable hobby, you know, like playing the stock market.

Tom if KU goes down so does your job at the LJW. Within 2 years of not being in a major conference those who read your crap will not be anymore. So you may want to defect now while you can. I here the PAC, SEC, and ACC are looking to expand. See ya good bye.


jhawkrulz 2 years, 7 months ago

Matt has done such a good job covering this, but on the day when so much is going to happen where is his hourly updates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


FLJHK 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm not into Keegan bashing, but I must say this article offered nothing of value.

Things look bleak right now, and I'm as depressed about that as anyone, but until the story is complete it is unfair to attack the Chancellor or the AD.

Reality is Kansas has been the victim of a perfect storm, and most of it is due to simple geography/market size, coupled with an unstable conference and greedy conference members. Being a basketball first school isn't a poor decison; it's who we are. Besides, being a basketball first school certainly hasn't hurt Duke, UNC, Kentucky, or Arizona, and it likely won't hurt UConn down the line either. But they benefit from geography and in most cases conference stability.

Some folks seem to believe Kansas has more leverage than we likely actually do. The rumor of a Pac 12 offer last year was debunked by Perkins. I continue to hope a Big 10 offer might come in the future, but obviously that can't be assumed.

In the meantime, KU is not only right to play this game with some grace and dignity. It not only reflects positively on our common values, but is really the only choice available. Hopefully, "the darkest hour is just before dawn."


miajhwk 2 years, 7 months ago

If you own Rutgers, UConn, and Syracuse, you own the NYC college football market. The ACC has picked off Syracuse. It is assured that UConn and Rutgers will end up there.


jhawkrulz 2 years, 7 months ago

In the Orangeblood article, it said that Texas was cited as saying that Kansas and Missouri both had options, I'm still curious what those options are.

The one fear that UT and OU have is that there will be 5 teams left in the Big XII to collect exit fees. They have to know that at least Missouri or Kansas is leaving.

Give us the news here Keegan.


lama 2 years, 7 months ago

KU's best hope is that the Big 10 starts grabbing leftovers to put pressure on Notre Dame to join a league. With the Big East in tatters, the Irish have no place for their other sports. If the remnants of the Big 12 and Big East can form a league, Notre Dame can remain an indpendent in football.


tychi_jayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

C'mon B1G! Throw us a lifeline!


BPSkelly 2 years, 7 months ago

The only real "hope" is that the Big 10 is feeling some heat to expand. But clearly their first choice will be the golden domers. My guess is they'll still say no, but who knows.

I do agree that if all four 'bigs' go to 16 each, we're probably in the Big 10. But have we seen any indication at all of that happening? Even halve-arsed rumors and internet junk? Hell no.

Even the SEC's dalliances show no sign above going over one more plus A&M (to 14). While I DO think Mizzou would be a fit there, has there been any thing remotely public other than internet banter... and even then its been minimal. My guess they'd go after WV before Mizzou.

We'd all like to think KU / Mizzou to the Big 10 makes sense. There's a logic to that thinking, that isnt JUST wishful thinking. But unless the Big 10 is compelled to do so, its just talk.

I think we need to prep for one or two more years of BCS qualifying in the "Big mess of leftovers" and hope to the deity of ones choice that in that time the Big 10 wants us and would take us.

Otherwise we're essentially Gonzaga with a richer tradition of hoops.


jchief40 2 years, 7 months ago

Did you read anything about imminent moves to the ACC from Syracuse and Pittsburgh before this weekend?


Andy Tweedy 2 years, 7 months ago

IMHO blaming SZ and BGL for this is just ridiculous. This mess was created by previous administrations and by the fans of our beloved school! You can't just crash the ball whenever you want. If nobody asked us to join, what are they supposed to do, kick in the door? It just doesn't work that way! Other than Lew Perkins, who ever made football a priority at this school? Fans leave at halftime, pray for basketball season to start, dump their tickets on Nebraska fans, on and on and on. We have been a proud basketball school for decade upon decade, and that's fine. But when the landscape of college athletics changes, and it becomes all about football, we have few to blame but ourselves! I live in Nebraska, and they sell 80K tickets during 5-7 seasons. We sell 50K tickets during 12-1 seasons. And the track? Don't get me started on the track! We have never even tried to be taken seriously as a football school and this is what it got us!


hawksince51 2 years, 7 months ago

I can understand the geographical reason for the ACC to take Rutgers over KU but there are no other reasons. I lived in NJ in the '90's and went to some of their football and basketball games. They had poor crowds who would rather cheer for the likes of Penn State or Duke than their state university. It is a pro sports state both for stadiums and TV. There is absolutely no link to the NY TV market as New Yorkers have no interest in the "bridge and tunnel" people' state. But is their a reason for the ACC to take KU--one--BASKETBALL!! We can only hope that is a good enough reason.


ashmole 2 years, 7 months ago

People have got to wake up and smell the coffee. KU has pathetic football, a weak overall athletic program, and a media market at the tail end of the top 50. Basketball is the sole bright spot. If you think academics will attract the Big 10 or PAC 12 ot Kansas, then you've been drinking too much of the Kool-Aid being served up by the PR folks: KU's academic reputation has been falling because of poor campus leadership for a long time now and would pull down the average of conferences that boast Berkeley, UCLA, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

KU will be left standing with the also-rans of the Big XII and end up trying to piece something together with their fellow losers in the Big East. The result will not look far different from Conference USA and will lose its BCS automatic bid within a year. The basketball in the league will be tolerable, but recruiting will suffer and new rivalries will be slow to develop. The Big Mondays for KU will get to be fewer and fewer.

People shouldn't be indulging in fantasies of being rescued by the ACC or the Big 10. As reassuring such flights of fancy might be, the road ahead is just not pretty for KU. Bernadette Do-Little's job should be on the line for this, as well as the job of that clearly outclassed AD she hired (let me see, is his name Moe, Larry, or Curly?). It is sad that all the academic and athletic capital KU built up over decades of hard work is now being squandered by third-rate, in-over-their-heads administrators.


jchief40 2 years, 7 months ago

Texas and OU should stay and we should look to add Boise St, BYU and TCU and really bolster the football offerings. Boise St should be a top target for a conference struggling to survive.


bville_hawk 2 years, 7 months ago

It's been stated over and over that everyone is looking for conference stability, that that is the reason schools have been jumping from one conference to another. Everyone is looking for stability except for one. Texas. Texas sole focus in this process has been squarely on $$. Anyone who would have Texas as a conference mate is asking for trouble. I've said it before "Texas is poison."


Keith Hummel 2 years, 7 months ago

Rainy Days and Mondays, and Keegan always get me down. Thanks for the pick-me-up Tom.


sandheron 2 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


jchief40 2 years, 7 months ago

The conference that suits Kansas best for me as a fan is the ACC. Seems to be an academic fit too. Chancellors got connections perhaps?? Who knows. But, if not, I'd like to see us in the B1G. Geographically it makes sense and I feel that conference is well balanced in football and basketball. This PAC talk doesn't make sense to me. Tip off times for me would be the worst! As a side note, if the conference tried to stay together I wish Boise State BYU, TCU (who have every right to keep looking since the Big East is losing teams) would join this new conference. Houston if it means more TV sets "whatever that means"


Hammertoe 2 years, 7 months ago

Keegan's right. The truth hurts. The only thing KU has to bargain with is Basketball. Conference Realignment is driven by Football, TV Revenue, Location, Major Markets, etc...


Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


JayDocMD 2 years, 7 months ago

Man I'm glad he wrote this. Any conference realignment expertise shared through a Keegan article has quickly been met with the reality of the opposite. It's the best possible thing that could have happened this morning for KU. I'm expecting an announcement any minute now accepting KU into the Big 10.


HawkDigestCom 2 years, 7 months ago

How has ESPN not mentioned to the Big 10 that they really like the concept of Big Monday with Ohio State at Allen Field House or KU at Michigan State? I know it's not football money, but you do have TV ratings to think about December through early March. KU and MU to the Big 10 seems to fit.


DRsmith 2 years, 7 months ago

KU and KSU can always join conference USA. This actually might be a bigger hit to KU's recruiting than Self's ineptness over the last couple of years.


blackhawkjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Again, try reading. Keegan has stated that the Pac 1,000 is hesitant to bring in low-rated academic schools, but that Larry Scott wants them to do so. Heck, they already brought in Colorado, so the bar has been set pretty low. The Pac 2,000 has completely failed it's original mission. If they had taken in OU and Texas, then it would have made some sense.

Originally I thought that holding the Big 12 together was our best option but Keegan makes a good point: that league might not be anymore stable than the one we are currently in.

The Big 10 is where we need to focus.

Also, Keegan wrote that Rutgers gets you into the NY television market. He didn't say that Rutgers, a New Jersey school, is New York's college team. For those of you who haven't traveled east of the Mississippi, Rutgers is located near NYC - which means that Duke, UNC, etc. would potentially be on NY TV even more than they are now. NYC is a basketball market when it comes to college - it would be a great set-up for the traditional basketball powers.

Wherever KU ends up, the bottom line is that the conference was done in by an emotional reaction by A&M followed up by an emotional reaction by OU. Breaking up this league still makes zero economic, academic or athletic sense.


Dan Pawlowski 2 years, 7 months ago

"The Pac-12, if the presidents uncomfortable about how Texas Tech and Oklahoma State measure up academically agree to follow the recommendations of commissioner Larry Scott, isn’t interested in Kansas." Huh? If anyone says they have the finger on the pulse of conference realignment then I suggest that you ask them to smell their finger for a true indication of where its been....


matlockhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

I hope Jesus comes back soon. Something needs to start making sense.


manginorh00lz 2 years, 7 months ago

Oh yeah, the ACC already has a stake in the New York market with Syracuse. Cuse is New York's college team, not Rutgers. (not that they care about college sports anyway, but still...)


pepper_bar 2 years, 7 months ago

Another completely uninformative column about realignment from Keegan. And was that a crude reference to "measuring" at the end? I can't tell.


kusportsdotcom 2 years, 7 months ago

"The Pac-12, if the presidents uncomfortable about how Texas Tech and Oklahoma State measure up academically agree to follow the recommendations of commissioner Larry Scott, isn’t interested in Kansas."

Other than this incoherent sentence, which I still don't understand, it's hard to argue with any of the stuff Keegan wrote.


manginorh00lz 2 years, 7 months ago

No chance that the ACC takes KU as the lone non-ET school. Seriously, you get paid to write this garbage?

Keegan's folleys:

Big 12 will survive! - wrong Big East is best option for KU! - lol ACC might take KU over Rutgers! - give me a break

Pray for PAC.™


royaljayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Man, I wish I would have simply asked Keegan what was going to happen in conference realignment when this whole thing started since he clearly has his finger on the pulse of what is going to happen. Kansas will not form a conference with leftover Big East teams. Mark my words!


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