Realignment Today: 9:41 p.m. - KS board of regents to meet Thursday; Beebe speaks; and OU, UT authorize presidents to act
9:41 p.m. Update:
Getting into the late hours of the night, especially on the east coast (which is relevant now, right?) so we're probably winding down for tonight.
But I just came across this strong summary of the day's events from coast to coast. One of the most interesting notes in the story has to do with a source that claims that Notre Dame would look to the ACC before the Big Ten if the Irish are forced into a conference.
I'm not buying it. Not yet, anyway. Seems a little off, like it may be a calculated move, perhaps by the Irish, perhaps by the Big Ten, but more likely by the ACC, which still may want Texas. I'll look into it more for sure. Here's the link, though. Definitely worth a read.
Real quick before the night gets away, here's the updated percentage wheel. Changes all over the place today. Wild, wild day even though there wasn't a ton of concrete news.
- Big 12 - 30%
- Leftovers - 23%
- Big Ten - 22%
- ACC - 13%
- Pac-12 - 9%
- Other - 3%
7:11 p.m. Update:
The Journal-World's Scott Rothschild just filed a story about the Kansas Board of Regents' plans to meet Thursday, in closed session, to discuss what's going on with the Big 12 Conference.
Here's a link: http://www2.kusports.com/news/2011/se...
6:33 p.m. Update:
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe speaks.... But doesn't say much.
"The action taken today by the governing boards of the universities of Oklahoma and Texas was anticipated. It is my opinion that the case for the Big 12 Conference continues to be as strong today for all of our current members as it was last year, especially considering the welfare of those to whom we owe the greatest responsibility — the student-athletes. We continue to apply all effort and resources toward assuring our members that maintaining the Big 12 is in the best interest for their institutions."
Wouldn't expect him to say anything different. Not sure this reeks with confidence, though.
5:53 p.m. Update:
Here's a link to Bohls' story about the action taken by the UT regents today. Pretty much in line with what was said in the last update, but this goes into more detail.
To clarify, OU president Boren has total control. He can negotiate and authorize a move by the Sooners to another conference or give the thumbs up on them staying. UT president Bill Powers has the authority to negotiate and can give the thumbs up on UT staying in the Big 12 but if he determines that Texas needs to move, the UT regents would have to approve that.
Directly from Bohls' report: Any change in conference membership has to be submitted to the board to approve. Powers, however, wouldn’t need regents’ approval if he decides Texas should remain in the Big 12.
Looks like more waiting on OU and Texas. Oh boy! Stay tuned...
5:09 p.m. Update:
UT regents meeting has wrapped but not so much as a peep coming out of it. According to Kirk Bohls, of the Austin American-Statesman, UT president Bill Powers did not answer questions and ducked reporters by hustling to the elevator.
Bohls' most recent Tweet says: No small point. UT prez Bill Powers has authority to stay in Big 12, but cannot take action on own to change conferences; regents keep that.
Wild stuff. Never seen UT this vulnerable.
4:52 p.m. Update:
Here's a link to a short report from The Associated Press that indicates that there have been serious conversations between the Big 12 and the Big East's football schools about merging.
It doesn't get into specifics, but presumably, this merger would be on the table should OU and Texas leave. However, it's possible — and probably likely — that similar conversations have taken place that include the scenario of OU and Texas both staying.
Not a lot here but worth the look.
If the OU and UT foursome leave the proposed merger would look like this (12): KU, K-State, Missouri, Iowa State, Baylor, Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, UConn, Rutgers, TCU and South Florida.
If the foursome stays, it looks like this (16): OU, Texas, Okie State, Texas Tech, KU, K-State, Missouri, Iowa State, Baylor, Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, UConn, Rutgers, TCU and South Florida.
4:46 p.m. Update:
More from Boren, via The Oklahoman's Travis Haney: http://twitter.com/#!/TravHaney
• Boren: "If I had the answer, I would reveal it." Says "sooner rather than later." No specific timetable. I don't think it should be that long."
• Also says talks with (MU chancellor Brady) Deaton, others in B12 been constructive. "two sets of very constructive conversations"
• Gist of Boren's talk: 2 options - Pac-12 or save Big 12. Not happy with Baylor, others, for threatening suit. Not happy with LHN.
4:34 p.m. Update:
Pac-12 expansion not a given? That could be the case. Here's a statement from UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, from UCLA's official site.
I know that the national discussion on conference expansion is dominating the conversation for many of you right now. Rumors are rampant and, as is often the case, not necessarily always on point. Ultimately, any decision to expand the Pac-12 will rest with the various school presidents and chancellors, working hand in hand with their respective athletic administrators and our commissioner.
Expansion just for the sake of expansion is rarely a good thing. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, "We may all have come in different ships, but we are all in the same boat now." Those of us in the same boat, the existing Pac-12 members, need to think long and hard as to the relevancy and value of bringing new members into the boat. Issues of academic compatibility, student-athlete welfare, competitive and financial implications all need to be thought out carefully by the various stakeholders. If further expansion is the right thing to do, then it makes sense to proceed.
4:31 p.m. Update:
Some interesting quotes from OU president David Boren following the OU board of regents meeting at which Boren was authorized to act on behalf of the university in the matter of conference realignment.
• Boren says OU has not decided to officially leave B12 yet. Staying in B12 "still on the table"
• Boren: too early to tell whether OU/Texas will be in same league
• Boren: "have had informal conversations w/ Pac-12. Those conversations have been warm, constructive."
• Boren: "I'm prepared to take that action as appropriate."
• Boren: "working very close w/ ok st" -- another source reports that whatever they do, OU and OSU will do it together.
• Boren said pods can make superconferences work
• Boren says threatening litigation no way to keep a conference together
All comments courtesy of Jake Trotter's Twitter feed. http://twitter.com/#!/Jake_Trotter
4:12 p.m. Update:
The Oklahoma regents just stepped out of executive session and voted unanimously to authorize OU president David Boren to act on the university's behalf regarding conference realignment.
What this means? It means that Boren, a political wizard with a massive ego, no longer needs the approval of the board to move OU into another conference.
What that means? OU is gone. Expect the Sooners to announce their application to the Pac-12 someday soon.
So now it's on Texas, whose regents also are in executive session at this moment.
3:56 p.m. Update:
Still meeting. Both OU's and UT's regents remain in executive sessions. OU got in theirs much earlier than UT and has gone past the one hour mark. UT jumped into theirs around 3:15 and is now pushing 45 minutes.
Not exactly sure what to make of this but the more people I talk to the more I think that actual news might come out of these things today.
If the executive sessions were simply to authorize school presidents to act in realignment, that shouldn't take an hour. Then again, with this mess, maybe it should.
3:19 p.m. Update:
While it took OU sifting through 27 items and nearly 2 hours to get to the executive session that dealt with conference realignment, regents meeting at Texas jumped into it about 15 minutes into their meeting Monday.
Both meetings are now ongoing, OU's on the verge of wrapping up and Texas' just getting started.
We should start to hear news flowing from both in the very near future.
While we wait, here's an unbelievable piece by The New York Times that examines the landscape of college football from a market and fan-base perspective. Just incredible stuff. Be sure to check it out.
2:36 p.m. Update:
Just was told that the OU regents are about to head into executive session to discuss realignment. Also was told that even though they're within their rights to discuss such matters behind closed doors, any action they take would have to be done in public forum so you might want to click on the link and watch if you're interested.
Not expecting the actual action will be anything other than the regents officially authorizing OU president David Boren to make realignment moves should they become necessary. But you never know, right?
2:01 p.m. Update:
As suspected, the OU regents will go into executive session to talk about realignment, meaning the live link is not worth watching... Thanks to Jake Trotter, former OU beat writer who now covers the Sooners for ESPN.com, for spreading the news.
Back to waiting. Stay tuned...
1:54 p.m. Update:
Props to the Tulsa World for jumping on a hot story and capitalizing. The newspaper's web site has set up a live video feed of today's OU board of regents meeting that's going on right now. Here's the link if you want to check it out. But, don't go too early, conference realignment talk won't hit until Agenda Item 28. Oh, and you can bet that when they get to that point they'll go into executive session and talk about some of this privately. Feel free to check it out, though...
1:03 p.m. Update:
I know some of you hate Tweets being reported as news, but that's the world we live in. That said, Kirk Bohls of the Austin American Statesman, just sent out a Tweet that struck me as very interesting.
The Tweet: "Pac-12 doesn't need Texas or OU. But if it doesn't act now; UT, OU, rest go elsewhere, Pac12 might be looking at Fresno, Nevada in 2 years."
I'm sure this is just Bohls being speculative and covering all bases here, but it could be a sign that the roadblocks for UT to the Pac-12 are substantial.
There's also this Tweet from Chris Level, who covers Texas Tech: Continue to be told that #TexasTech feels very strongly about being in a league with Texas or A&M going forward. Don't see that changing
To me, the "or A&M" part of that Tweet is very, very interesting news for Kansas. Could Level be hinting at Texas Tech becoming the 14th team in the SEC, allowing either the Big 12 to survive or Kansas to head to the Pac-12? Perhaps the Red Raiders are getting nervous and/or tired of the Texas-to-the-Pac-12 thing dragging its feet.
Not trying to be overly optimistic, just making a couple of reads.
OU regents meeting now... Texas regents set to meet at 3 p.m.
Now hearing that Oklahoma State regents have scheduled a meeting for Wednesday.
12:45 p.m. Update:
Quick update from a good source who says that all options are still on the table for KU. This includes the Big 12, Big Ten, ACC, Pac-12 and, of course, the leftover conference...
With the OU regents meeting in about 15 minutes, hopefully we'll hear something soon from that camp that can move this thing forward. Wouldn't expect that to happen any time before 3 p.m., though. Perhaps even later.
For those who have asked, this has changed A LOT in the past 24 hours but here's my updated percentage wheel... for what it's worth.
- Big 12 - 33%
- Leftovers - 27%
- Big Ten - 18%
- ACC - 12%
- Pac-12 - 7%
- Other - 3%
12:04 p.m. Update:
Count UConn men's basketball coach in the camp of those at the school who would like to follow Syracuse and Pitt and move to the ACC.
Here are some of Calhoun's comments that point to that notion. I'm guessing Calhoun wouldn't come out and openly lobby for the ACC like this unless he knew/knows that there's a pretty darn good chance that the Huskies are headed there. We'll see.
So how does this effect Kansas? Well, you've surely all read and heard by now that UConn and Rutgers to the ACC increases KU's odds of becoming more attractive to the Big Ten.
While that's true, the Big Ten angle only works if — IF — the Big Ten feels like expanding. I've heard from sources that spin it both ways. The Big Ten will join the party if the rest (SEC, ACC, Pac-12) go to 16 and, also, the Big Ten is the Big Ten and will not be forced into doing anything.
I tend to believe the latter, but I also believe that KU and MU could sell their admission and have both been working behind the scenes for weeks to do so.
11:34 a.m. Update:
Great stuff here from Jon Wilner, the best Pac-12 reporter I've seen on this deal.
Lots of good nuggets in there, including talk about Kansas schools being the Pac's "fallback" plan if Texas can't overcome obstacles to get UT and Tech in.
Also, Wilner clears up what's needed from Pac presidents for expansion. Nine votes. His parting comment: "Bottom line: If (Pac-12 commissioner Larry) Scott needs the votes, he’ll have the votes."
11:13 a.m. Update:
Here's Pete Thamel's report, from The New York Times, about the obstacles that remain for the Pac-12, many of which are significant.
- Texas regents approve. That could happen today.
- Reach a solution regarding The Longhorn Network and potential Pac-12 network.
- Get approval from Pac presidents to expand.
Not sure how many votes it would take. I'm looking into that. But my best guess is nine. If that's the case, the Big 12 leftovers may have to get down and and dirty here and lobby for two more schools in the Pac-12 to expose expansion.
It's already well known that recent Pac-10 pick-ups Colorado and Utah are against expanding east. Here's why: http://www.denverpost.com/sports/ci_18834617
If the number is nine and two other Pac-12 schools agree, the Big 12 could be saved. Although, under that scenario, you're looking at one angry and divided conference.
Good news? I don't think it will come to that. But it's on the table. Along with everything else.
11:02 a.m. Update:
Here's a link to an interesting poll conducted by Baylor about how fans feel about super conferences. Won't be news to you guys, I'm sure, but it may be comforting to know that the majority of people out there like you are against crazy expansion.
10:16 a.m. Update:
In an effort to understand KU's position in all of this a little more, I reached out to sources at Nebraska and Missouri this morning and asked them to analyze how KU was handling the whole thing.
Nebraska, because they actually did jump conferences and Missouri because they were awfully vocal about doing that last year and appear to have changed their tune this year. Like KU, the folks at MU have remained loyal to the Big 12 and, for the most part, silent in the public eye.
Both sources said that was the best way to go with realignment, especially this time around when things can change so rapidly. Why? Because, in this deal, you're only alive so long as you have options. Coming out and saying something against any school or conference could burn a bridge and limit your options if/when the time comes when you might need that school or conference's help.
The best analogy I've been given came from someone with good knowledge of the realignment goings on and went like this:
When an athlete comes out and and tells a coach how hard he’s working, that coach has to kind of question it. Why not just show how hard you're working or just work hard. Why does he have to talk about it?
If an athlete goes up to his coach and says ‘I’m busting my butt’ but nothing comes of it and he's still the same old player or still making the same mistakes, he ends up looking like a clown.
Same can happen for coaches.
If a coach constantly says ‘Recruiting’s going well, recruiting’s going well, recruiting’s going well,’ and then at the end of the day no one signs or he signs all two-star guys, that coach can look kind of foolish, too.
I think that's what KU is doing here.... making sure that Kansas doesn't end up looking like a fool. It would've been easy several times along the way to say that KU was negotiating with this conference or aligning with this school, but if they had done that and then things had changed, the likelihood for greater panic would've gone up.
Not saying it's right or wrong... That's for you to decide and for the ultimate outcome to determine. Just trying to help you understand where their way of thinking is coming from.
That said, if either OU or UT announce any kind of real news today, I think you can expect KU's leaders to comment.
9:47 a.m. Update:
I'm sure by now, many of you expected something major to have happened. It hasn't. And it might not be today.
While the rest of the Big 12 is waiting for news to come out of a meeting of Oklahoma University's board of regents, Texas continues to brainstorm with the Pac-12 on ways to get itself, its network and its partners into the league. Don't count Kansas out yet.
Today's meeting at OU is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Tulsa. There are 28 items on the agenda so we're looking at this being at least a 2-3 hour meeting. In the meantime, expect an absolute firestorm of rumors and speculation, much like we saw yesterday.
For more about UT's current status with the Pac-12, check out this report from Kirk Bohls of the Austin American Statesman. There's mention of Kansas at the top, and most of it comes in a positive light and is in line with what I've been saying all along --- that I believe KU will end up where Texas ends up. Bohls doesn't come right out and say that, but, if you read into it, I think you can see that some of the hang up here is the status — mostly academic — of Texas Tech, Okie State and, to some degree OU. In a perfect world, I have no doubt that the Pac-12 would rather have KU than Texas Tech or Oklahoma State. World's not perfect, though. So now we wait.
Here's another one from Bohls that goes into more detail about where UT currently stands.
As you can see, Sunday's reports of a deal being finalized were, in fact, premature. Again, the Oklahoma and Texas foursome to the Pac-12 may still go down and it may still be soon, but nothing was even close to final as of Sunday.
That means there's still time for schools like Kansas and Missouri to scramble. They're doing that. No doubt about it.