10:40 p.m. Update:
Good find from one of our commenters here. It's a great example of just how fragile this whole situation is.
Texas says it's talking to the ACC. ACC says it hasn't done a thing. Both could be lying. Both could be telling the truth. Both could be bending the truth. It's hard to trust much of what's out there right now, no matter who it's coming from.
I'll leave you with this for tonight: Based on the various people I've been talking with throughout the conference and throughout the day, there are anywhere from 5 to 10 potential outcomes here. All of them seem to involve KU in some way or another and all of them could gain serious steam or be dead by the time we wake up tomorrow.
This thing will not be wrapped up all nice and tidy this week. May not even be wrapped up by Oklahoma president David Boren's self-imposed deadline of the end of the month. Too much at stake. Too many factors in play. Too much money on the table, money that stretches to or potentially could stretch to at least three or four different conferences.
As we've seen and said all along, the bus is being driven by the chancellors and presidents here. All eight Big 12 ADs (exclude A&M) are working their butts off and are actively involved, but the power lies with those above them.
3:48 p.m. Update:
Before I get into the fancy writing and carefully crafted update about where we stand in the world of conference realignment, let’s look at the nuts and bolts right away...
No link here but there are reports that have surfaced that say ESPN Radio has sources saying Texas turned down an offer from the Pac-12 and is now involved in preliminary discussions with the ACC.
For Texas, this thing is all about what the best option for The Longhorn Network will be. Much like the pipe dream rumors about Notre Dame joining the Big 12 because it would be allowed to keep its TV deal with NBC, the conference that offers up the best situation for TLN — which could include help from the conference office or regional networks — will probably land the Longhorns.
One recent report said the Sooners and Cowboys are prepared to make the move to the Pac-12, with or without Texas.
If Texas is talking ACC, or even Big 12, and the Sooners and Cowboys agree to go Pac-12, the time could be right for KU and Mizzou to jump in as the third and fourth teams in the deal. There won’t be time to waste, though. If KU and/or Missouri so much as hesitates for a second if an offer is extended, the offer could be pulled off the table.
If you're Kansas, and all of this is true, this whole thing boils down to a couple of simple questions.
Do you jump at the chance at stability in the Pac-12, regardless of what that does to travel, recruiting, etc.?
Do you wait out Texas and hope the Longhorns can once again find a way to save the Big 12?
Do you shun the west coast and head to the Big East where a "western division" would make life easier in terms of travel and you would be able to remain with both of your biggest rivals in K-State and Missouri?
That's a lot to ponder. While you're thinking it over, here's a few links to check out.
National college analyst Greg Swaim writes that the Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could announce their intentions to leave the Big 12 as soon as Tuesday. He also says that KU and K-State have a standing offer to join the Big East should things crank into high gear.
Here’s that New York Post article that says KU, KSU and Mizzou could be Big East bound if the OU, OSU, UT and Texas Tech bolt for the Pac-12.
Here’s a take from Bleacher Report that says the Pac-12 would be wise to take Kansas instead of Texas Tech. Could it happen? You bet. Will it? Whole different question.
It’s Labor Day, and there’s no doubt that it’s been one of the most aptly named days in the eyes of the Big 12 Conference athletic directors and presidents.
Rather than firing up the grill and kicking back, phones have been ringing, call-waiting beeps blaring and text messages fired one afte the other, all in an effort to not only make sense of the conference realignment mess but also to make sure that the school they represent was in as good of shape as possible for when D-Day arrives.
It’s not here yet. But it’s nearing. Quickly. Texas A&M is supposed to officially be announced as the newest member of the SEC in the next couple of days. When that happens, all hell is going to break loose.
Although there’s been very little said about which school might be Lucky No. 14 for the SEC, you can bet Mike Slive and company know exactly who’s interested and you can be sure that he’s got his list — a very short one — with him at all times and the phones ready. When the call comes, you better be prepared to say yes or it’s on to the next one. There’s no time to waste. Especially now that it appears that that the Big Ten, Pac-12, Big East and even the ACC could all be making their play for new members any day now.
Some schools, such as Texas, will have multiple options. A source told me this morning that UT president Bill Powers and AD DeLoss Dodds had been in contact with at least three different conferences in the past three days. The goal for the Longhorns always has been to find a way to keep the Big 12 going strong. But in the event that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State hit the road for more stability, the Longhorns are ready to act. The biggest key for UT will be The Longhorn Network — shocker, isn’t it? Whichever conference offers Texas the best proposal with regard to the network will immediately have a leg up for Texas’ membership.
So what’s all this mean for Kansas? A lot, actually. The Jayhawks have no network, no football dominance, no first-class ticket to paradise here. But they do have options. What’s more, they have plenty of allies. Current and former conference brothers have a vested interest in where the Jayhawks end up. Some are more passionate about KU’s place in all of this than others, but everybody is at least in some way interested in what happens to the Jayhawks. Texas and Oklahoma have both been strong supporters of KU recently, if for no other reason than to keep their basketball programs associated with one of the nation’s elite hoops schools. Think about it. If UT goes to the Pac-12, Texas football remains as strong as ever but their basketball brotherhood weakens. UCLA may have great history but their recent performances and overall tradition pales in comparison to Kansas.
We could go on and on here about what role KU’s basketball program plays in all of this. We all know that football is the driving force behind the moves but it’s important to remember that elite basketball has a place at the table. It may not be next to the host or even down at that end. But it won’t be at the kids’ table either.