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Big 12 Conference

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Big 12 needs to get tough on its members


If it takes buying out the remaining three years of Dan Beebe’s contract to calm the stormy waters, then do it. But that’s only the first step on the road to recovery for a conference in need of a more powerful bilge pump to keep the ship from sinking the next time it tries to negotiate stormy waters.

Keeping the Big 12 together temporarily isn’t the answer. The interim replacement for Beebe — deputy commissioner Tim Weiser, anyone? — must take a bold step to ensure stability.

Make the penalty for every member cursed with a wandering eye far greater than any dollar figure. Try language such as this: “You can leave, but we own your TV rights forever because you signed them over to us. If we want to put you on TV we can, but we never will, of course. And no other conference will take you because you’ll never play on television.”

With that one rule, conference stability no longer is an issue. Sound too much like imprisoning the nine members? Well, it beats solitary confinement. The Big Ten ensures loyalty by having its members sign away their TV rights.

Of course, that would require the Big 12 members acting with as much wisdom as the Big Ten schools. In the past, that hasn’t always been the case. Just look at how both conferences reacted to the sound advice of Kevin Weiberg, who served as commissioner of the Big 12 and deputy commissioner of the Big Ten and is now deputy commissioner of the Pac-12.

Weiberg left the Big 12 after he couldn’t get the members to agree on sharing TV revenue equally with what would amount to a Big 12 Network.

So he headed North and started the now-thriving Big Ten Network. Had Weiberg gotten his way before leaving in 2007, this whole mess never happens. Wherever Weiberg goes, it seems, good decisions follow. The latest was the Pac-12’s decision not to expand, though it’s not clear that Weiberg had anything to do with that.

As Tuesday progressed, it became evident not enough Pac-12 presidents and chancellors liked the idea of expanding. The Pac-12 removed all doubt by announcing its decision against expansion just before 10 p.m. Central time. They like the 12-team format, like the way the members get along, and like competing for a conference football title that Oklahoma would have dominated.

Not having the option of going to the Pac-12 and not having the desire to become one of many super powers in the SEC, Oklahoma can’t force a Beebe ouster on its own. But if other members push the idea of a fresh start to a more balanced conference, it could happen.

A new commissioner could have a serious talk with Texas about the dangers of getting a reputation as a relentless flirt. One day it’s the Pac-12, the next it’s the Big Ten and then the ACC. Enough with the wandering eye. Stay home with the beauty you’ve been with for 16 years.

Explain the new rules to Texas, which already has taken huge public relations hits over Nebraska and Texas A&M; leaving. Watch the Longhorns comply, realizing it can recoup some of the respect it lost and can’t find a better neighborhood than its current one.


manginorh00lz 6 years, 8 months ago

Keegan is still confused. This was not about football. The Benevolent PAC saved KU by rejecting the academics of OkState and TTech.

Glory to PAC.

texashawk10 6 years, 8 months ago

ESPN is reporting it was because Texas wouldn't to equal revenue sharing in the PAC. If that's true, the Big 12 just became an even uglier situation than before because Texas essentially screwed OU over big time and now has even more leverage than before because OU now has no options.

Best case scenario now is for ESPN to tell UT the LHN isn't taking off as planned and they are going to convert LHN into a Big 12 Network and split the remaining $270 million equally among the 9 schools so each school gets $30 million although. I would imagine ESPN would up the payout to more than $3.3 million per year per school.

I doubt that happens and this mess will get even uglier in the near future. If iwas Missouri, right now I'm saying to he'll with any lawsuits, we're getting out of town and not looking back.

mojayhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

Agreed. ESPN is as big a culprit as anyone. Best case scenario for a future in the Big 12 is equal revenue sharing thru a Big 12 network, and ultra stiff penalties for leaving. With that in place, the conference would stabilize, and THEN, we need to seek at least one credible replacement for A & M. It's time to stop standing on the sidelines and letting us get picked apart (ala our poor defense). We need to be proactive and seek additional school(s) to come OUR way. Time to stop playing defense and start playing offense!

Ashwin Rao 6 years, 8 months ago

Agreed... and I wish KU was more proactive in helping us get to that stable place. We have been too passive, and are basically letting other members of the Big 12 determine our fate. Not good.

LogicMan 6 years, 8 months ago

Know the details of the contract? For example,is there an out for ESPN if they can't get enough LHN subscribers?

Glen Miller 6 years, 8 months ago

You're kidding yourself if you think OU has no options... I live in Tulsa and have a finger on the heartbeat of that situation. The Big 12, while I hope they stay, is by far not the only option for OU. OU and OK State would go without Texas if need be, they aren't 100% selling a 4 team package deal... only a two team OU and OK State package is required by their board of regents. It's more OK State's academics that could throw a rock in the gear than Texas.

Glen Miller 6 years, 8 months ago

I don't understand why you continually post on a Kansas University website negative things about our school?? If you dislike KU so much why do you constantly roam through our site and post on every single article?? Get a life man...

Glen Miller 6 years, 8 months ago

Insult my intelligence and whether I can read or not.... yeah, that's a typical post from you. I don't think you understood in what realm I meant your negativity presides. There are different forms of negativity towards a school and almost all of your posts don't really fall in the positive realm..... I'm just saying

Brad Avery 6 years, 8 months ago

The Big 12 is now officially a joke. It has no "members" only senior partners, who apparently must be catered to and pleased at every turn, and associates who are only there because they have no other place to go and to get paid. .

blackhawkjayhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree with you 99%. If we don't take a tough stand now and set the conference up for long-term stability as Keegan suggests, then we really are fools. A great opportunity is waiting....let's see if the equivalent of a bunch of middle-school girls can figure out how to get out of their own way and make it happen.

142466 6 years, 8 months ago


This year's hunting season in the B12 is probably closed. But the PAC, B10, & SEC will return for next year's hunt unless two things happen: 1. All B12 members agree to equitably share TV revenue. 2. The B12 returns to 12.

The 3 new members must fit geographically. PAC, B10 , & SEC members will not join the B12. This year's season confirmed that obvious fact. So the B12 will have to choose 3 from this list: BYU, Nevada, Boise, Wyoming, Colo State, Air Force, New Mexico, TCU, & Houston. You can add or subtract 1or 2 to/from from the list if you like. The thing that all potential invitees share in common is that, when judged on a combination of academics, sports, TV potential, culture, and size, they are much more similar to the bottom 3 current B12 members than to the top tier.

Don't laugh at the schools on the list. Think long-term. Don't demand perfection. Remember: Northwestern is weak athletically, UCLA is a commuter school, Penn State is strong only in football, etc. The mountain states are steadily growing, unlike states to the east. Any school on the list will naturally advance athletically, and probably academically, simply by entering a BCS conference. And they'll be loyal members, pleased that they have upgraded.

As soon as the present B12 members formally agree on fair TV revenue sharing and have a new commissioner, the conference must add 3 new members from the list.

Once the B12 returns to 12, the new commissioneer must then get us to 16. He/she should not just react to the other BCS conferences' expansions to 16 (18). Take the lead. Don't tarry.

jgkojak 6 years, 8 months ago

A couple disagreements: 1) Boise St is not an option - they are a glorified community college (like if JCCC played Div 1 football)

2) 3 of the former Big East teams - Louisville, Cinci and WVU should be considered.

3) SMU has the potential to get real good real fast - recruiting base, huge budget/endowment, academic standards better than some current B12 members - I'd start there and then go to BYU and Air Force (to give BYU a western partner).

Also note that adding teams like Air Force, BYU and SMU, by their nature they have larger missions (especially Air Force) and so are going to be less likely to be disloyal.

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

I think I rented a video tape with the same title as this article at the House of Sight and Sound about 25 years ago.

Don Everett 6 years, 8 months ago

Love the House of Sight and Sound!!!!!!!!!!

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

I loved it too! I spent most of my teenage years (and most of my teenage money) there!

Did you know it closed up a few months ago? A very sad day for me. Really. I guess record/cd/dvd places are going the way of bookstores.

Thanks a lot Al Gore.

jhox 6 years, 8 months ago

The power has now shifted to Missouri. Who would have thought that 2 days ago? MU needs to pick up where OU left off, and carry on with the same demands OU had (equal revenue sharing, hard fast rules on what the LHN can and can't do, and getting rid of Biebe and getting someone in that job who will look out for the best interests of the conference rather than the best interests of UT.

Unfortunately, the Pac 12 pulled the cord on OU's bluff. Now MU can pick up where OU left off, assuming they want to. If I were in MU's position, I would jump to the SEC or Big 10 (if it is true they are now also being courted by them.) Let's hope they're not smart enough to realize how nice it would be to be in a stable conference, and that they pick up the torch that OU has been carrying.

If rumors of the Big 10 having interest in MU are true, they're as good as gone. Why on earth would you stay in this mess of a conference if you have a chance to jump to the Big 10 (a conference that makes financial and geographical sense)?

Mike Skiles 6 years, 8 months ago

Seriously? Give up television rights FOREVER? Keegan, you have truly gone senile in your editorials. To suggest that made no sense. Sure, a penalty on a current TV contract period could be a possibility, but 'no TV FOREVER'? Even my 6 year old neighbor has more sense than to suggest something like that.....much less put it in writing as part of a job? I gave up reading your article in 3rd paragraph.

ModerateOne 6 years, 8 months ago

Hyperbole as a literary technique. Look it up. {Rolling eyes.}

Bville Hawk 6 years, 8 months ago

Apparently it works for the Big 10... (If you had read the whole article you would know that.)

FLJHK 6 years, 8 months ago

Mangino: You're a bit over the top sometimes but I get a big kick out of your posts. You certainly don't lack a sense of humor.

However, your PAC worship is misplaced. Yes, it's a great conference, but the Big 10 is the best fit culturally, geographically and academically for KU.

Nonetheless, I can live with a restructured Big 12, along the lines suggested by numerous posters. Best expansion targets are BYU, AFA, TCU, SMU and Colorado State.

Bville Hawk 6 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, I'd hate to see him get a buy-out.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 8 months ago

At that level they all get buyouts. It's not reasonable, just realistic.

miajhwk 6 years, 8 months ago

Big 12 staying together turned out to be bad for Texas, because giving them what they wanted a year ago has made them an albatross. OU must be seething right now. PAC-12 saying no is probably why MU to SEC is a no go. I'd wager that OU and SEC are going to become very familiar with one another in the next few days.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 8 months ago

It would be kind of funny if UT became "independent" by default, the Big 12(-11) conference.

Bville Hawk 6 years, 8 months ago

All the Big 12 presidents need to stand together on this and look UT in the eye and say "This is how it has got to be. If you don't like it, there is the door. We, as a united conference, are prepared to go on without you."

amatxjayhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

Amen brother! Let them go to the Big II, that'd be them and ND. There's an old song that goes, "got along before I met you, gonna get along without you now."

Hank Cross 6 years, 8 months ago

Et tu Tom? Why just last year you were singing Beebe's praises to the heavens.

"Dan Beebe, take a bow. You earned it.

Tagged toes pointing to the ceiling, the Big 12 was on its way to the burial grounds until Beebe resuscitated it by doing what conference commissioners are supposed to do. He squeezed every last penny of television money available and told the remaining 10 members what that meant for them. He determined what each and every institution needed to hear to stay put. He convinced them why it all made sense to survive as a 10-member conference for now.

The man’s a smart guy with a firm handshake and a down-to-earth vibe that makes him a guy with whom you want to keep doing business. And he displayed thick-enough skin to keep forging ahead when things looked dire, as the vultures from the Pac-10 circled above.

For Kansas University, it’s not quite time to erect a statue of Beebe to put next to the one of Phog outside Allen Fieldhouse, but a nice ovation, maybe even a “Thank you Beebe (clap, clap, clap, clap, clap)” is in order when he next shows his face at a KU football or basketball game."

I keep posting this to show conclusively that Keegan has no clue whatsover on this subject.

BTW I seriously doubt that B10 members signed a contract saying that that the conference would retain the schools broadcasting rights Even If They Were No Longer a Member. Nobody is going to sign such a ridiculous agreement.

Steve Corder 6 years, 8 months ago


Contracts are already in place. You can't suddenly create penalties if they're not in the current contracts. However, you can communicate that the contracts that are in place will be enforced. There's so much involved in possible law suits and injunctions that could delay movement for years. The offical SEC (not the stupid rumor mill everyone quotes) has been silent over final & offical approval of TxA&M. Why? What are they waiting for?

The "other schools" have been working. We just don't know how and what has been communicated. Every school has called upon its best alumni attorneys for advice. That means caution is the word.....Ken Starr is no legal light weight. Is there another Big12 school that has, as its president/chancelor, a former prosecutor and dean of a prestigious west coast law school?

UT has some real difficult decisions to make in the coming days over the revenue sharing and the Longhorn network. I believe this is where one should focus; Bebee is a side bar story to revenue sharing.

teddibear 6 years, 8 months ago

Where has Dan Beebe been for the last year and a half, and why is he still commissioner? As soon as Nebraska and Colorado began talking about leaving, replacements should have been lined up to restore the Big 12 to 12 schools. TCU was still available at that time, BYU could have been lured, Memphis, although it's not a football school at this point, would have been a willing member of a BCS conference. It seems like everyone in the Big 12 office, that is lead by Dan Beebe, are waiting for something to happen, rather than being pro-active about preserving the league. Why shouldn't the Big 12 be attractive. Look at what schools are currently ranked in the top 25, and throw in TCU. Look at what schools will be ranked in the top 25 for basketball, and throw in Memphis. Where is there be a more powerful conference than what the Big 12 brings to the table. Regarding KU football, get off Turner Gills back. We have a great football coach that will restore KU football to what it has been in the past.

danmoore 6 years, 8 months ago

I think it was Oklahoma that saved us. They were only interested in the Pac 12 so all members would be on equal footing. The Pac rejected the four schools because Texas was not willing to give up the Longhorn network. At some point Texas will have to give up the network because no conference will allow them to join if they don't.

danmoore 6 years, 8 months ago

Don't know what will happen but if four super conferences is inevitable I think KU will land in one of them.

Clarence Haynes 6 years, 8 months ago

Hire Kathy Bates.....Did you see her in Misery?

rockchalkjjjhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

Agreeing with what Keegan is suggesting is absolutely the worst thing any university could do. Texas has earned their right to have their own network. The question then becomes why shouldn't all of the Big12 schools have the same rights to have their own network?

What the Big12 needs to do to make this thing work is the following:

Allow each university to have their own network or group together to form their own networks, with the stipulation that an agreed upon percentage of revenues from those networks is equally shared amongst the other conference schools. Absolutely under NO circumstance should anyone adopt Keegan's notion that if someone were to ever leave that they would forfeit their own future TV rights or whatever that they would have earned. Give me a break.

Likewise, an agreed upon percentage from bowl games, NCAA basketball should be shared with the conference.

Find a replacement for Beebe that is agreed upon by ALL. Ideally someone who can motivate and be positive and aggressive if additional universities are added. Going for 'easy picking' type universities just to get back to 12 or whatever will ultimately be disastrous. Instead, the Big12 should go hard at the schools they want. Universities from states not already in the conference should be the only focus.

Make sure buyout penalties are NEVER increased until members unanimously agree that conference contracts include an agreed upon equal sharing/rights clause.

Make sure conference athletic/academic media spokesmen and athletic TV broadcasters/hosts, conference headquarters, and conference tournaments/championship locations are not dominated by one state. All states must have someone, somewhere, or something involved in all sporting activities.

All local Big12 athletic commentary reporters should all be tested to prove that they actually are able to develop and write meaningful and informative articles that are superior to the average Joe blogger or message board poster.

Vernon Riggs 6 years, 8 months ago

Ready for the Next Chapter of the Big12? The Big15.

Football Schools South-Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, OU, OSU, TCU North-K-State, Kansas, Mizzou, Iowa St, Louisville, Cincy Associate Member: Notre Dame

Each year, Notre Dame plays two games from the South, one is Texas every Friday after Thanksgiving in Cowboy Stadium in Dallas, one game per year rotating from the other South Teams in South Bend. Then each year Notre Dame plays two teams in the North, one rotating in Arrowhead in KC and Soldiers Field in Chicago with Mizzou, K-State or Kansas, one game with another North member in South Bend.

But Notre Dame keeps their Independence status in football. They are not full members of the conference and may maintain their NBC money and perhaps a small portion of the Big12 Tier One and Two money.

Teams play every team in their own division (5 games) and 3 games with teams in the other division, Notre Dame games counts as one of these 3 games.

Basketball Schools East-Notre Dame, Cincy, Louisville, Marquette, DePaul West-Kansas, K-State, Iowa State, Mizzou, Texas Tech South-Texas, Baylor, TCU, OU, OSU

Each team plays teams in their division on a home and away (8 games), teams play teams in the other division on a rotating schedule (10 games) for a total of 18 games. Top 12 teams advance to the tournament, with top four seeds receiving first round byes. Big15 Tournaments rotating in Louisville, Kansas City and OKC.

What do you think?

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