Conference USA wants the Big 12 leftovers; Oklahoma reported to be heading west
11:55 p.m. Update
Overall, a rather quiet evening. Figured as much for a Friday night. Still, you know the wheels are turning in Big 12 country and that everyone who isn't already secure is working overtime to find their next home.
The most recent rumor has UT, Texas Tech, OU and Okie State ready to follow Colorado to the Pac-10. An announcement is expected on Tuesday. At this point, I'd be surprised if this didn't happen.
That leaves KU the weekend to sell itself to the Pac-10, which shouldn't be hard to do with A&M stalling.
I'm sure some stuff will happen over the weekend and I'll be checking in as often as possible when it does. Most likely, however, it will be in the form of rumors so I'm also planning to rest up so I can be ready to hit it hard again Monday morning.
Stay tuned in to KUsports.com throughout the weekend for any major movement and get ready to get serious again come Monday. Who knows, maybe KU will jump the rest of them and become the second team into the Pac-10 with an announcement Monday instead of the last team in on Wednesday or Thursday.
Thanks for all the help and contributions to this blog this week. Great stuff!!!!
3:55 p.m. Update
Jayhawk nation, your prayers have been answered. Conference USA is preparing to "compete for the remaining Big 12 members if the meltdown continues to a full implosion." That's according to a statement from East Carolina Athletic Director Terry Holland.
OK, so maybe that's not your prayer. But hey, someone wants the Big 12 leftovers and isn't afraid to say so.
In other news, The Oklahoman is reporting that Oklahoma has decided to leave the Big 12 Conference, but will wait for Texas to make the formal announcement.
ESPN's Joe Schad is reporting that Oklahoma State and Texas Tech will also be leaving for the Pac-10 (or does that make it the Pac-15?), once Texas announces its intentions.
3:35 p.m. Update
Dan Beebe will hold a teleconference at 4:20 p.m. We'll live blog it for you here.
The Big Ten Network will air the 5 p.m. Nebraska press conference and stream it live on www.bigtennetwork.com.
3:27 p.m. Update
Iowa State officials have issued an update to alumni and fans via their website, saying how "deeply disappointed" they are in Colorado and Nebraska for leaving the Big 12. Here's an excerpt:
In the past two days, the University of Colorado and the University of Nebraska have announced that they are leaving the Big 12 Conference for other affiliations. We are deeply disappointed in their decisions, and we are concerned about how those decisions impact Iowa State University.
Over the next several days, the presidents and directors of athletics of the Big 12 member institutions will be discussing options and potential initiatives that we may take in order to move forward in light of the Colorado and Nebraska decisions. Be assured, we will continue to do everything in our power to represent the best interests of Iowa State University in these discussions; it is also important to understand that actions taken by other member institutions are beyond our control. Read the full letter.
3:16 p.m. Update
Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson has given a statement to KUSports.com's Scott Rothschild expressing his confidence in KU and K-State leaders:
"The University of Kansas and Kansas State University are world-class institutions with premier academic, research and athletic programs. Although it appears uncertain whether they will stay in the Big XII or align with a different athletic conference, I am confident that Chancellor Gray-Little and President Schulz, working with the Board of Regents, will make a choice that's in the best interests of their student-athletes, their world-class universities and our state."
2:41 p.m. Update
Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are ready to join the Pac-10 as early as Tuesday, according to @ESPNEWS.
Orangebloods.com is reporting that four Big 12 South teams are "locked and loaded to join the Pac-10" and that a formal announcement date is set. The exclusion of Texas A&M in that list means a possible move to the SEC for the Aggies, which could open up a spot for KU in the Pac-10.
Also, according to @Huskers, the Nebraska press conference is now going to happen at 5 p.m.
2:07 p.m. Update
Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman addresses Board of Regents and requests permission to allow NU to apply for application to the Big Ten. Perlman indicates that the Big Ten has basically said that it would accept NU's application.
Doesn't get much more telling than that.
Several media outlets are also reporting that NU has officially accepted an invitation from the Big Ten. More to come, as there are now rumors of a 4:45 p.m. press conference.
1:53 p.m. Update
Chip Brown, of orangebloods.com, is reporting via Twitter that Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are prepared to join the Pac-10 once Nebraska to the Big Ten becomes official.
Brown, who has been right about nearly everything he's reported in the past week or so, also says that Texas will announce its plans to head west after a meeting with the regents on Tuesday.
One note of interest regarding these reports: No mention of Texas A&M.
More to come as that official Nebraska announcement has to be coming any minute now.
1:35 p.m. Update
610 Sports radio in Kansas City is reporting that Missouri athletic officials are meeting at the moment and that they will speak to the media at a news conference this afternoon.
What more the Tigers can say at this point is anybody's guess. It's been reported that MU does not have an invitation to the Big Ten and it seems likely that it will not receive one.
With that in mind, MU, like Kansas, is probably exploring all options, not the least of which is remaining in the Big 12.
More to come.
1:11 p.m. Update
Could this be good news for the future of the Big 12 and Kansas?
CNBC has released an article that indicates that the kind of revenue the Pac-10 is discussing regarding a television network for a 16-team conference might not be as much as they're saying. That alone — along with any perceived inaccurate persuasions — could be enough to make the remaining Big 12 schools think twice about heading west.
12:45 p.m. Update
At this point, I'm not sure that Nebraska's expected announcement that they're headed to the Big Ten has much of an impact on how KU, the Big 12 or the Texas schools will proceed. I'm pretty sure all three parties have been moving forward as if NU was out since Wednesday.
Still, those of you interested in following along with the Nebraska Board of Regents' 1 p.m. meeting, can do so here.
More to come.
12:36 p.m. Update
Here's a look at the latest information:
• The Associated Press is reporting that the University of Texas regents have called a meeting for Tuesday to discuss the school's conference future. It's been reported that they may be poised to make a decision at that time.
• Chip Brown, of Rivals.com site orangebloods.com, has reported that SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has offered to move two current SEC schools — Alabama and Auburn — to the SEC East to accommodate the potential inclusion of Texas and Texas A&M in the SEC West. If this is true, SEC probably just passed the Big Ten as the second most aggressive conference out there. Heck, the Big Ten could even be fourth, now that the Mountain West has landed Boise State.
• Something that just occurred to me: With the addition of Boise State strengthening the Mountain West, that could entice Utah to stay put. What might that mean? Well, if any of those Big 12 south schools rumored to the Pac-10 decide to go elsewhere, that opens up a spot for KU in the Pac-10. Considering the fact that the Pac-10 is on record as saying it would look at Utah or KU as alternate options, Utah staying in the MWC would be great news for Kansas.
12:12 p.m. Update
Another team and another conference have made the next splash in the whole conference realignment deal.
ESPN News just reported that Boise State has agreed to leave the WAC and join the Mountain West.
Not sure what kind of impact this has for KU or the Big 12 — hopefully not much. But it's definitely interesting to note and it definitely adds to the MWC's football pedigree.
I talked with a couple of Mountain West officials yesterday and both said that the conference would be very aggressive from here on out. Clearly, this move demonstrates that they were serious.
I know KU wants the MWC to be a worst-case scenario, but if the MWC brings something substantial to the table, KU has to listen.
The thing this tells me more than anything else is that we're in for another crazy day of realignment movement. Boise likely made this move out of the same urgency that Colorado felt in heading to the Pac-10. Boise likes the MWC and had interest in ending up there. But if the Big 12 dissolves and the MWC took the leftovers, Boise may have been left out in the cold. Not now. Boise State is in a bigger conference and that conference is now one step closer to becoming a BCS conference.
Here's the official release from the Mountain West Conference:
The Mountain West Conference announced today that Boise State University has accepted an invitation to join the MWC as its 10th member institution, effective July 1, 2011. "We are pleased and excited to welcome Boise State University to the Mountain West Conference," said Commissioner Craig Thompson. "Since our inception just 11 short years ago, the Mountain West has experienced tremendous success, and the addition of Boise State will further enhance that strength. The MWC continues to strategize regarding potential membership scenarios and bringing Boise State into the Conference is an important part of that evolution."
"The invitation to join the Mountain West Conference reflects the excellence that Boise State University has demonstrated academically and athletically," said Boise State President Robert Kustra. "It will be a privilege to compete and partner with such a successful group of member institutions. This move is in the best interests of Boise State's future, and the university is excited to be part of one of the nation's most outstanding conferences."
The Mountain West Conference was founded with eight members in 1998. Boise State is the second institution to join the Mountain West since that time; TCU became a member in 2005.
More to come.
11:44 a.m. Update
KU women's basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson offered up an interesting analogy for all this conference realignment talk. Henrickson referred to the situation as a "roller coaster."
"We tell freshmen all the time to try to stay off the roller coaster," Henrickson said. "Well that's kind of hard right now because you go to bed one night hearing something, reading something and you wake up and it's different and everybody's texting you and panicking."
Henrickson, who has been through realignment talks twice before — once as an assistant when Virginia Tech moved into the Big East and once as a head coach when Va. Tech left the Big East for the ACC — said the current situation reminded her more of the first time because there's so much uncertainty and so many parties involved.
"When we went Big East to ACC, we had a good home and we knew we were going to have a good home, whatever happened," she said. "I don't sleep quite as well at night right now. But, you know, you've gotta control what you can control and recruit like crazy. We've got a lot of people here (for elite camp) from Texas saying they want the league like it is, and we want the same thing."
Asked if she agreed with KU men's coach Bill Self, who said Thursday that landing anywhere other than a major conference was "not an option," Henrickson didn't hesitate to answer.
"We all feel that way," she said. "Absolutely not. With what this institution has, what this athletic department has, what we have already done and what we're on the verge of being able to do, absolutely not."
One interesting note that has surfaced has indicated that if the Big 12 makes it through the weekend without any more departures, the outlook of keeping the league together increases significantly.
The conference's remaining athletic directors are rumored to be meeting in Dallas this weekend. Getting them all together in the same room certainly will help with the communication but as both Lew Perkins and chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little have pointed out in recent days, this issue may be decided at the chancellor/president level and not by the ADs.
More to come.
11:17 a.m. Update
Nothing new happening at the moment, but here are a few interesting notes we've tracked down.
• Colorado associate AD said CU would be open to scheduling Nebraska in non-conference games going forward. CU and NU have played each other in football on the Friday following Thanksgiving for the past several years and it looks like that tradition — not that anyone cares about traditions anymore — might not be dead yet.
• Nebraska officials have said that they expect today's 1 p.m. meeting to take around an hour. After that, NU athletic director Tom Osborne is expected to speak.
• ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit said the following this morning on ESPN News, a clear indication of what greed can get you. "(Big Ten Commissioner) Jim Delany started all this but the Pac-10 has kind of stolen the show. If the Big Ten can't land Notre Dame now, it finishes a distant second to the Pac-10 in this whole conference realignment thing."
• Speaking of CU and the Pac-10, Colorado officials have said they're not sure what the penalty for leaving the Big 12 will be — most likely because if the Big 12 dissolves there might not be anyone left to collect the penalty payment, which is 50 percent of revenue earned while still in the conference with two years notice and a sliding scale of 70, 80 and 90 percent if less than two years notice is given. One interesting thing that has been noted is that CU plans to have discussions with the Pac-10 about its new conference paying some of that penalty.
10:03 a.m. Update
Interesting stuff from former Texas A&M football coach, R.C. Slocum, who now works as a special adviser to A&M's president.
It's been reported that A&M is one of the Big 12 schools in the worst shape financially, with debt piling up fast and furious. With that in mind, Slocum's comments make plenty of sense and may tip the Aggies' hand just a bit.
"You look at the level of funding that all programs need to have, and it's a business decision that universities now have to make," Slocum told The Associated Press.
Slocum said any decision A&M makes will be based purely on its financial impact, and not on more intangible elements, like preserving traditions and rivalries.
I'm not sure whether this indicates which conference the Aggies will wind up in. But it does seem to tell us something — they'll be aligning with the highest bidder.
9:14 a.m. Update
OK, so by now we surely know one thing: This whole deal is about money, right?
Well then... Who has more of it than Oklahoma State alum T. Boone Pickens? Very few people, I'm guessing. And even fewer people who have such a great interest in college athletics.
With that in mind, here's a look at Pickens' thoughts about expansion and realignment. I'm not saying what he says/wants will ultimately matter, but maybe there's some sort of Pickens Broadcasting Network on the horizon that could help save the Big 12. Hey, Ted Turner did it.
More to come as we tick toward 1 p.m., when Nebraska is expected to have a news conference to announce its intentions to head to the Big Ten.
Original Post, 6 a.m.
Good morning, Big 12 fans. How much further will your conference fall apart today?
If the last two days are any indication, the answer could be a lot.
First Nebraska was confirmed to be headed to the Big Ten, an announcement we’re expecting to hear today from NU officials. Then, Colorado jumped the Big Red by becoming the first team to bolt the Big 12, a move CU made official on Thursday.
So which will be the next school to make a move? Reports Thursday indicated that Oklahoma State was ready to become the next school to accept an offer from the Pac-10, but the Cowboys softened on that stance as the day went on. OSU now appears to be back in the boat with the rest of the teams in the south, who are considering to move to the Pac-10 in unison or to head their separate ways.
OK, now that that’s clear — it is, right? — let’s kick off the day with a couple of reports that surfaced late Thursday night.
The first comes from the Austin American Statesman regarding the future of the Pac-10. Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott told reporters that the league would not mind stopping at 11 schools, now that it has added Colorado. Don’t buy it. Although they’ve remained rather innocent throughout all this, the Pac-10 has had a calculated plan for expansion and has been executing it quietly and to perfection. These latest comments from Scott are likely just a way of putting pressure on the Big 12 schools who are still trying to decide what to do.
Feeling the most heat might be A&M, which has serious designs on at least exploring what the SEC has to offer. That could be to KU’s benefit, as a move by A&M to the SEC would open the door for KU to slide into its spot in the Pac-10 merger. The Pac-10 has been rumored to be interested in KU or Utah (seriously), as alternates to the five schools it outlined originally to join Colorado.
As far as KU’s concerned, not only should the Jayhawks be talking to the Pac-10, Big Ten and Big 12 to find out which conference will have them, they should also be talking to the SEC, encouraging them to take — or at least stall — A&M.
This Dallas Morning News report spells out the scenario that could have Texas and Texas A&M, bitter rivals for decades, going their separate ways.
For every one of these reports and rumors there’s at least two or three others that refute what these are saying.
That’s why we’re here. Stay tuned in to KUsports.com throughout the day for the latest reports from around Big 12 country.
Will today follow in Wednesday and Thursday’s footsteps? Or will things quiet down for a little while?
More to come.