Five Big 12 schools left out of talks visit via teleconference
12:29 a.m. Update:
So much for a slow Saturday. Although nothing major happened there were plenty of rumors to keep up with. Hope we got to most of them.
Looks like everything has gone to bed for the night so I'll do the same.
From everything we're hearing, though, Sunday could be just as busy. I doubt anything major will happen, with it being a Sunday, but I'm sure the rumor mill will be cranking yet again.
We'll be here all day to bring you the latest and we'll be chasing stories throughout the day to see what's happening with regard to KU.
Before I go, and in case I don't wake up super early, I'll leave you with one more report about Texas A&M's move to the SEC gaining momentum, this one courtesy of Chuck Carlton at the Dallas Morning News.
See you in the morning.
10:34 p.m. Update
Very interesting report on NBC Sports that indicates that Texas A&M does in fact have the backing to move to the SEC.
This thing is getting crazy. KU may be loaded with options in the near future if all of this is true. Wow.
8:15 p.m. Update:
One report that came across the wire in the last hour or so indicated that officials from five Big 12 schools — the five that would remain affiliated with the Big 12 should the south schools decide to join Colorado in the Pac-10 — met by teleconference Saturday afternoon to discuss a way to move forward together.
The Mountain West Conference indicated earlier in the day that it had serious interest in Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri and, all along, that certainly has been a possible landing point for all three schools. This latest report, however, seemed to hint that the remaining Big 12 schools, still under the Big 12 flag, might be interested in absorbing some or all of the Mountain West.
An interesting development, to be sure. One that could lead to the survival of the Big 12 Conference without the help of the Texas schools. Wow!!!
4:43 p.m. Update:
Think KU's in a bad position? Try being Baylor. Not only were the Bears left out of the Big 12 South's plans to move to the Pac-10, but now a report on ESPN's bottom line indicates that TCU officials plan to lobby (that's right, as in political lobbying) against the Mountain West Conference extending an invitation to Baylor, should the Big 12 fall apart completely.
4:16 p.m. Update:
More information still out of the Texas A&M camp, via ESPN... This one brings back a little hope for KU fans.
More to come.
4:08 p.m. Update:
More good stuff from Kirk Bohls, as the Austin American-Statesman. Let's face it, right now, Texas, particularly what happens in College Station, is the center of the universe as far as KU fans are concerned. So I figure you can't get enough info from there.
This latest report doesn't paint a pretty picture for KU to the Pac-10.
By Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry will have a decisive say in which conference his alma mater, Texas A&M, joins and he probably prefers the Aggies link with Texas and other Big 12 schools and accept invitations to the Pac-10 Conference, two long-time political figures told the Statesman.
“Anybody who thinks Rick Perry is not going to sign off on the final decision is fooling himself,” one of the sources said. “A&M will go where the governor wants them to go.”
The second source said Perry, a former Texas A&M yell leader, does not want to do anything to disrupt his re-election plans and consequently might try to push the Aggies toward the Pac-10 to calm the political waters. Perry has said he’d prefer to keep all the Texas schools together.
“Perry’s political team has told him that the one thing that could beat him (in the November election) is to get involved in a football fight,” the long-time political observer in Austin said Saturday. “He doesn’t want to tick off Texas Tech and the Longhorns. The least amount of political downside is for A&M to join the Pac-10.”
That source also said he thinks the Aggies will ultimately side with the Longhorns and accept Pac-10 invitations, probably on Tuesday when the University of Texas board of regents meets in Austin. No meeting of A&M regents has been set, but the Texas Tech board is also meeting Tuesday.
“I think the Aggies are playing it coy,” the second source said. “I don’t see A&M going away from its conference rivals and end those rivalries." [end]
More to come.
3:49 p.m. Update
Here's more from Kirk Bohls at the Austin American-Statesman. It appears that Texas A&M may be in a situation with the SEC like KU is with the Mountain West.
I'll spell it out:
A&M has interest in the SEC but, according to Bohls' report, does not have an invitation.
Similarly, the MWC would love to have KU but KU might not be interested in joining.
The latest report indicates that without an invitation to the SEC, A&M may feel compelled to follow the masses and join the Pac-10. The one reason that might not happen — at least not initially — is because A&M clearly is tired of living in the shadows of UT. Making the move to the Pac-10, at least this week, would only add to that. Of course, as Nebraska pointed out oh so clearly, this thing isn't about feelings or grudges, it's about cold, hard cash. And when you're talking in those terms you don't want to be left on the doorstep.
Here are the nuts and bolts from Bohls' latest report, as well as a link to another that only adds more certainty to the idea that the Big 12 is dead.
By Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman:
Texas A&M does not have a firm invitation to join the Southeastern Conference and may not receive one at all, a very highly-placed school official at one of the Big 12 schools expected to leave for the Pac-10 Conference no later than Tuesday told the Statesman on Saturday afternoon.
“They don’t have an offer,” said the high-profile figure, who is heavily involved in these conference realignment negotiations. “They do not have an offer. They can’t.”
The school official said, “I don’t think they are risking anything (by A&M’s indecisiveness), not if they’re looking (at the SEC).”
He confirmed that is because A&M knows it has a solid invitation to join the Pac-10 along with Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott is in the process of visiting those Big 12 schools between now and Tuesday when the board of regents for Texas and Texas Tech meet in separate meetings.
“He’s trying to hit everybody,” the source said of Scott. “He’s among some of the schools now. He won’t be here on Tuesday.”
If A&M were to try to secure an invitation to the SEC, the source said the Pac-10 would seriously consider Kansas. [end]
And the saga continues... It seems like it's going to be a long few days of waiting and wondering for KU.
More to come.
2:27 p.m. Update
Interesting to note that a newspaper in San Antonio is reporting that there is no deadline for Texas A&M to make its decision regarding the Pac-10 or the SEC.
That could change today when Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott delivers the invitation, but, as of now, the Aggies appear to have no timeline pushing them to decide. That also could change if KU continues to work its way into the mix and push the Pac-10 to grab them before A&M decides.
Another note of interest from the Austin American-Stateman indicates that originally A&M to the SEC was part of a packaged deal — Texas and Texas A&M both go. Since UT appears to be a couple of days from joining the Pac-10, that deal is off. But the Kirk Bohls of the American-Stateman reports that an SEC source told him that A&M is "a school worth getting."
Clearly, that's good news for KU, provided it has any validity.
12:18 p.m. Update
Well, here we are at noon on a Saturday and we have yet to hear much about conference realignment.
In national circles, the World Cup is dominating the talk this morning, as the U.S. national team prepares to open play in South Africa against England at 1:30 p.m. today.
By the standards set during the last couple of days, it's been a slow day. But that doesn't mean that things aren't being floated around.
Rumors and reports continue to indicate that Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will receive official invitations to join the Pac-10 this weekend. The reports further indicate that those four schools could be ready to accept those invitations as soon as Tuesday, with some reporting that at least one or two of the four schools have already made the decision to do so.
What's more, the Pac-10 is not messing around with all this, as commissioner Larry Scott is actually flying to Oklahoma and Texas to hand deliver the invitations. Call me crazy, but that sure seems to be a lot more involved than we've seen from Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe, who has seemed to have less and less control over all this mess as the days have gone by.
Here's the short but sweet info from Chuck Carlton, of The Dallas Morning News, which includes a blurb about the Pac-10 being ready to move quickly to land Kansas if Texas A&M shows any pause whatsoever.
The thing we all must remember is that the Pac-10 most likely will be inviting A&M to join while Scott is in Texas this weekend. In short, if the Aggies come to their senses and realize that they don't want to be left out either, KU could be back to square one. That's why you can bet the farm that KU officials including Lew Perkins — and hopefully Bill Self — will be reaching out to the Pac-10 this weekend while all of this is going down.
The Oregonian, which covers Pac-10 schools Oregon and Oregon State, has more on all this here.
The paper indicates that the 16th and final spot in the new conference will be Texas A&M or Kansas, leaving Baylor and Utah out of the mix as well as Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State to fend for themselves.
Closer to home, one Big 12 source told our own Tom Keegan that Stanford, the mightiest Pac-10 school in terms of academics and certainly a respectable one in athletics, has made a recent push for the league to bypass A&M and go directly with Kansas.
You can bet Tom and I will be chasing that story the rest of the weekend, seeing if we can shed any more light on that being a possibility.
Finally, word from Moutain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson indicate that the MWC is dying to add whatever Big 12 schools are left after all of this shakes out.
"The Mountain West wants to be a national player and continue to grow in that realm," Thompson said in a conference call Friday. "We are extremely interested in BCS automatic qualification. We are simply trying to get to the level where each and every year a Mountain West team is playing in a BCS bowl game."
Two different MWC sources told me on Thursday that this was, in fact, the case and that the league would be very aggressive in going after such teams if and when the Big 12 falls apart.
With the MWC adding Boise State on Friday, the conference took a step forward. But KU fans must remember that just because the Mountain West wants Kansas doesn't mean Kansas wants the Mountain West — at least not as a first option.
That's all for now but check back throughout the day as I'll be here to update you with any notable links and news that might be of interest.
In summary, it looks like UT, Texas Tech, OU and Okie State are 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 because of its interest in the SEC.
I'm sure some stuff will happen over the next two days 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 in touch with 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.
More to come.