Cliff's Notes version: Bill Self and Turner Gill press conference, 6/15/2010
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self and KU football coach Turner Gill's comments at their press conference today.
KU men's basketball coach Bill Self
• KU is better off than it's ever been. That's not a knock to the schools leaving. For basketball, this is the old Big Eight. This is the old ACC. Everybody plays everybody else twice. This will enhance recruiting and revenue. Teams will get into rivalries playing twice per year.
• Self gets to sell to every kid in Texas that he is going home four times per year.
• Texas has been a state that Self has dabbled in, but he says KU will have more of a presence down there now. Those kids will be more excited to play at KU, as they'll know they'll get to play near home more often.
• Self likes that KU's schedule is tougher, because KU will be more hardened. If the Big 12 was the No. 1 in RPI last year, then the conference RPI strength went even higher with the new conference.
• In basketball, you lose something with the shift to 10 teams, but look what you pick up. You play all the South teams twice per year. A lot of credit needs to go to the Big 12 commissioner. He has elevated himself in a positive way. The athletic directors that didn't panic also deserve credit. There's something to be said that there was an anchor and foundation that kept everyone together.
• Self doesn't think the Big 12 is now the "Texas+9" conference. The decision-making power is not at the coach's level. All the coaches were hopeful that the Big 12 would stay intact. Self doesn't think people should be bitter over things that happened over what they can control. An offer was presented, and the schools chose to remain loyal to the Big 12. The end result speaks volumes. You can't blame schools for listening to offers.
• The appearance was that the Big 12 was imploding, but the commissioner never changed his stance. Good leadership prevailed in the whole thing. If there are problems in the future, fans in the area should know that there is good leadership in the Big 12.
• KU went through a period of time where they were duds. For a period of time, it was like, "What's going to happen next?" Self feels like that time is behind KU. He doesn't see those things being a problem in the future. This is a big momentum boost for KU.
• Self believes the league can be even more competitive and, for KU, it will be much easier to have serious rivalries from teams outside the Big Eight area.
• Self is most satisfied with win where you come back in the second half to win. This conference scenario is like that kind of win. It didn't look good for a long time, but the Big 12 pulled it off.
• Self has always been told if you like your A.D., president and the people you work with, why would you want to leave? Self feels like that's what happened with the Big 12. At the end, there was no reason for those teams to move elsewhere.
• KU basketball fans didn't circle Nebraska or Colorado on the calendar. That's not a knock on them. But KU could pick up more intense rivalries, for example, with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. From KU's standpoint, playing some of the South schools twice will enhance the rivalry.
KU football coach Turner Gill
• Gill said the new conference couldn't have been drawn up any better for KU.
• Losing Nebraska hurts national exposure, but other things with the change will help KU in the long term.
• Gill has respect for all the teams that did what they had to do. Everyone has to look out for themselves.
• The Big 12 is stronger today. By bringing up the negatives, some of the necessary issues were brought up.
• Gill was excited and pleased when he heard the news that the Big 12 was staying together. He was pleased with the job the commissioner did. Gill learned the news while working camps and recruiting.
• Even with all the turmoil, Gill had high-school kids commit to KU and had kids that wanted to be in Lawrence. There were a lot of good things going on during that time.
• The Nebraska game this year won't be a big deal for Gill. KU will try its best to win that game and then move on.
• Gill hasn't thought about the possibility of playing NU after it leaves the conference.