KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger comments on the uncertain future of the Big 12

KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger comments on the uncertain future of the Big 12 during halftime of KU's game against McNeese State on Sept. 3, 2011, at Memorial Stadium.

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avaholic 11 years, 1 month ago

He sounds like a guy who has no clue what's going on. I feel bad for him.

He needs to be on the phone with every conference he can be. At this point, It sounds like any option is better than sticking around for another week.

I hope we end up in the PAC 16 with Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas, and Kansas State.

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State go to the SEC

We'll see

Steve Corder 11 years, 1 month ago

Yes, he does seemed shocked at the OU president's comments. He's been blind sided by what appears to be two-faced administrators. I'd be mad as hell, and Zenger appears to be holding his anger in so far as the public is concerned. If the KU Chancellor is a weak administrator then KU is in trouble.

We shall see indeed.

Daniel Kennamore 11 years, 1 month ago

This is not a 'poor Zenger' story. This is an epic failure of an AD at a top notch school. Anyone with half a clue saw this was going to happen weeks ago. OU and Texas are working on a deal with the PAC as we much do you want to bet that Zenger doesn't really take up the issue till after the holiday?

Daniel Kennamore 11 years, 1 month ago

And why can't we 'tip our hand' exactly? A&M made it apparent they were going to the SEC. OU and Texas have a foot out the door with officials naming the PAC. Why all the hush, hush if he has a plan? The answer is he doesn't, and you're naive if you think there is some super secret plan to bail us out last minute.

As for the big east; It's not just about sports. KU is actually still a pretty good research institution; a few years in the Big East getting less money athletically and academically will take it's toll.

I don't know for certain he hasn't been contacting the PAC or Big Ten, but every indication shows they haven't. There hasn't been a single mention of KU by anyone involved with the PAC, nor the SEC, nor The Big Ten. That fact that this guy hasn't been making contingency plans is as obvious as the fact that the Big 12 was going to collapse. You can bury your head in the sand like Zenger did all you want. Personally, I think we should start calling for action.

Pitthawk34 11 years, 1 month ago

Looked to me like he was put on the spot and was trying to choose his words wisely. How in the hell does anyone know what work has been going on behind the scenes. I'm sure we will find out here in the next week.

MDHawk 11 years, 1 month ago

I agree. Unless someone here is a part of or knows someone high up in administration, all they have to go on is hearsay and what is written by the press. There are no "indications" other than what we perceive via video and news stories, and perception is far from fact. I believe our administration is working extremely hard behind the scenes...what the outcome will be, however, is far from sure, perhaps the most unsettling trait of this whole mess.

Conjecture of where we might end up isn't even fun anymore. Things are starting to get quite real.

avaholic 11 years, 1 month ago

He sounds like a guy who has no clue what's going on. I feel bad for him.

He needs to be on the phone with every conference he can be. At this point, It sounds like any option is better than sticking around for another week.

I hope we end up in the PAC 16 with Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas, and Kansas State.

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State go to the SEC

We'll see

Pitthawk34 11 years, 1 month ago

Unfortunately Kansas Sate would not be considered for academic reasons as well as their athletic budget. No way Stanford and Cal would vote for Kansas State.

142466 11 years, 1 month ago

In over his head. He slept through his Western Civ class the day they discussed "The Prince".

Jack Wilson 11 years, 1 month ago

The job of the athletics director is to ensure that we are in a power conference. If he fails, he should be immediately fired, as should our chancellor. On the other hand, if they succeed, they should be properly rewarded. This is a crucial moment for our basketball program. For what makes KU a special place. It ain't football.

When the music stops, we darn well better have a chair.

Texas, OSU, OU, Kansas make the most sense going to the Pac-12. MU, FSU, A&M, and one other to the SEC would fit.

An interesting possiblity for KU might be the ACC. Basketball first league. How fun would that be?

Regardless, I am afraid that we are not ahead of the curve here. Boren's comments sure as heck better not be surprising. Alden could have said the same thing. To be a leader, you need to foresee this. Have sources. Have information. Be proactive. We'll see if we really have competent leaders. Our chancellor? I have zero confidence. Less than zero. Our AD? Bad time to have a new guy on the job. Wish Perkins were here.

Hank Cross 11 years, 1 month ago

TT is going to the P16, not us. The only hope for the B10 I see is at the end of Armageddon after MU goes to the SEC and the B10 needs another team to balance the west after the entry of ND.

I'm just not seeing the the ACC. I think they'd be looking more at Pitt and WVa if the SEC poaches VTech and MD.

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 1 month ago

Why are the only people suprised the conference is breaking up ku administrators

Daniel Kennamore 11 years, 1 month ago

Anyone with half a brain saw this coming weeks ago (heck a year ago). If KU ends up in the Big East or worse, Zenger should be fired on the spot.

Michael Maris 11 years, 1 month ago

Cause, they are. They have been listening to the damn thieves down south and nodding their KU Administrative heads up and down.

Lew Perkins was playing hooky and ignoring the situation last year, and assuring the Jayhawk Nation (from afar) that Kansas would end up in a good situation. Well Lew, I guess you were dealing with the Big East Conference back then (when you should've been dealing with Mr. Delaney and telling him that KU can guarantee the Kansas City TV Market a hell of alot better than the Nebraska Cornhuskers can. Kansas would've been able to compete with Indiana and Purdue in Football (at least).

Zenger, you better quickly get your head out of your A$$40L3, or you might be wishing you had never left Normal, Illinois.

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 1 month ago

I thought the standard answers of "strong big 12" and "existing with 9" was just lip service from the administration while they were working on deals behind closed doors. Turns out they believed what they were saying and playing solitaire behind closed doors.

Michael Maris 11 years, 1 month ago

I said it last year, and I will say it again. I blame the Kansas University Athletic Department current situation on Roy ''Boy'' Williams.

He always pushed for KU Basketball to rank as the supreme sport on the campus. When, KU hired an A/D that focused on building the football program, look who started crying foul. Now look where it has gotten the Kansas Athletic Dept.

Looking for any damn conference that will take us. Had Al Bohl been able to carry on with his vision of building the KU Football program. Perhaps, KU Football wouldn't have had records of 8-16 of the past 2 season. Yeah, we are 1-0 after this evenings game. But, I'm sorry Gill and Company, your defense still looks like it needs a lot more speed and size. Not seeing anything (until tonight), Darius Willis needs to start hitting the weights alot more. Defensive Lineman need to build up their lower body strength. I seen way to many D/L'man get blown off the line tonight. D/L'man ending up on their rearends. Freshman RB's appear to be the real deal (so far). Pierson, Miller and Bourbon look like they are up for the challenge.

QB play still is a work in progress. J. Shepherd, he looks like he has the speed to get to the endzone (after having to wait for the pass to get to him).

It looks like the Big East is going to be the best option for KU. Unless by some far stretch, Missouri does end up in the SEC and the Big 10 decides to extend KU an offer (at the advise of Dr. Tom). Otherwise, get ready for the Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State (perhaps Missouri) and Iowa State to be in the Big East.

FLJHK 11 years, 1 month ago

My beyond the last minute moves regarding conference alignment issues. 1. Even though it’s too late, and approval prospects are near zero, The Big 12 should make a last-ditch push and invite, Notre Dame, BYU and Air Force to join. You allow all new and existing conference members to establish their own television networks, consistent with the Texas model. This is one of the primary benefits that only the Big 12 is currently able to offer, and it could be of interest to ND and BYU, as well as OU. You also require a legally binding 20-year commitment from all conference members to remain in the conference. Again, this is beyond a long-shot, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and at this point you’ve nothing to lose. Why not at least make the effort? 2. You work with MU on a package deal to join the Big 10. It’s the existing stable conference that is clearly the best fit for us culturally, geographically, athletically and academically. We would jointly add the not insignificant Kansas City market into the Big 10 footprint, and MU would also shore up the St. Louis market. KU and MU were once possible targets for Big 10 expansion, but that sentiment has cooled in recent years. You make the case that the inclusion of KU and MU solidifies the conference’s identity as THE conference of the Midwest, and that movement east lessens that tradition. 3. You let the Pac 12 know that you are interested and would be a viable alternative to Texas Tech although you are probably fighting an uphill political battle in Texas. 4. You establish dialogue with the Big East/ACC. Realistically we are in a horrible position, and a good outcome is currently unlikely. I figure OU, OSU, UT and TT are all but gone to the Pac, and it’s an uphill battle to regain the Big 10’s attention. Most analysts seem to believe that major college athletics are moving to a scenario of four, 16-team super-conferences. The identity of three of these is already known: Pac, SEC and Big 10. Based upon national population distribution, the fourth is likely to be east coast based, and drawn from the current ACC and Big East, both of which are currently subject to poaching by both the SEC and Big 10.
I’m not certain the super-conference theory is correct, nor that it is the best way to go. Some aspects of a 16-team conference are unwieldy. If only four such conferences emerge, a lot of great schools with tradition-rich athletic programs are going to be left in the dark. A Texas centered Big 12 had the opportunity to be a 5th such conference, but the option was squandered. God, I miss the Big 8.

Daniel Kennamore 11 years, 1 month ago

Notre Dame, Arkansas, and BYU ALL said no per the reports that are floating around. That's why OU starting looking towards the PAC.

Daniel Kennamore 11 years, 1 month ago

I will again, and have sent a few emails the past couple weeks. Unfortunately it's too late. OU and Texas will announce they are going to the PAC with Okie State and Texas Tech within days leaving no room for us. Tech spot should've been ours, and would've been if Zenger had been proactive instead of reactive about the situation.

I seriously hope the other alumni call for their heads.

mikehawk 11 years, 1 month ago

KU needs to be working with KSU, Missouri, and Iowa State. Obviously, down here in Oklahoma you now see OU and OSU are working together, and Boren is talking excitement about what is about to happen for OU and OSU. The only two schools who can keep the Big 12 together now are Texas and OU, and they are heading west with OSU and TTU. Why Texas Tech, I do not know, but KU is not going to the PAC. Our best bet is the Big East, or form a new, much weaker conference with Iowa State, KSU, and Baylor, pulling in Houston, SMU and possibly TCU. I still think Missouri is headed for the SEC if they will have them. If Missouri sides with us and KSU, our position is much stronger. Sorry guys, this isn't about on the field or court rivalries, this is about business. Our new AD looked pretty shell-shocked and seemed to be hanging onto the Big 12 until he was clealy blind-sided by Boren's comments. It is game over. This is a high stakes game of musical chairs now.

90sHawk 11 years, 1 month ago

Since this realignment is all about football and its ability to generate revenue, KU fans have to take some blame. All that crap about "when does basketball start" over the years has contributed greatly to KU's current position of possible being left out. So take a look in the mirror KU fans who couldnt wait for football to be over.

90sHawk 11 years, 1 month ago

True. And you're probably one of them.

90sHawk 11 years, 1 month ago

Convince any person who isn't a complete moron what KU offers the PAC, BIG 10, SEC, etc outside of a top bball program, which has NOTHING to do with the super conference talk. ... You are trying to blame the current administration for KU possibly being left out. You must be young and naive, b/c this has been coming for a long time.

Hank Cross 11 years, 1 month ago

Dream on. KU was never, ever going to be a football power. Too small a state to compete with OU, ME and UT on a yearly basis. I make no apologies whatsover about throwing away my FB tix the minute I got them with my BB tix in the 80s. Most schools are only good at one sport. Let's think about all those awesome Duke, UNC, and UK FB teams.

FLJHK 11 years, 1 month ago

I don't disagree. In theory, KU is not a smaller population state than Nebraska, Utah and Idaho, all of which have developed strong football programs. But KU's heart and soul is in basketball. That's not a bad thing, but is an unfortunately minor card in the conference realighment debate.

The college football > college basketball bias is frustrating but real.

Ben Kane 11 years, 1 month ago

i wasn't scared until i saw this interview. not instilling a lot of confidence.

Dave Benjamin 11 years, 1 month ago

This is troubling but no worse than it was yesterday. I love the amateur psychologists on this board pouring over a 48 second soundbyte and ultimately determining that Zenger is sh**ing himself and has no clue what he's doing. Yeah he's mad and "disappointed." Anyone in his position would be considering he's listened to his peers pledge support to this and then flake despite numerous conference calls/meetings and the like. I'm sure he's unbelievably pissed at the half-wit Beebe asking him and others to "urge" Texas to lean toward staying yesterday. I would be.

Regardless, let the man do his job and we'll discuss firings when the time comes. No one has been offered anything as of this moment and unfortunately we are in a situation where KU has to let other moves happen before our options become more clear. I'm sure we've begun the lobbying element, but this is now unfortunately in OU's hands before we do anything.

Spencer Goff 11 years, 1 month ago

Some thoughts on this video:

  1. Zenger looks pissed off. He looks like he just got off the phone after being blindsided, probably learning (as we did) that Pac-16 talks are taking place behind their backs and they are not involving KU.

  2. I cannot believe it took so many of these high paid individuals so long to realize that this conference was a sham, that none of these other schools were ever going to be honest and up front about all of this.

  3. It absolutely pisses me off that we did not pursue a Pac-10 invite last year. We sat on our asses because the politics in the state of Kansas forbid us from going it solo. So Utah got our spot in the Pac-16. Nice job, nice job! Only way we get into the Pac-16 is if Larry Scott flat says "no chance" to Texas Tech.

  4. I actually believe the only way KU comes out of this in the best positive light is by pairing with Missouri.

  5. It is going to piss me off when Arizona vs. Texas takes our middle game spot on Big Monday's. We will need Big East games just to counter their exposure.

Just get into the Big East, get it over with, and lets try to work on our athletic program. Don't lose recruits or Bill Self to dicking around with this garbage.

Jack McEnaney 11 years, 1 month ago

Throw in the towel. Why save a conference when the major players in the conference don't want to be a part of it? The best play is to look out for good old numero uno. KU. Go get into the Big Ten. If K State and MU go to other conferences, build up the rivalry with NU and schedule KSU and MU as non conference games every year. Get into a major conference where the school will succeed. It seems like a lot is riding on this football team right now. They need to show that they are players. Football is the sport in charge, not basketball.It is football KU needs to worry about. Going 1-11 in football and a National Championship in basketball will not look as good as a bowl game in football and Tourney appearance in basketball. Get behind this team, sell out every game, and make more noise at Memorial Stadium than you would make at 10 games at allen fh. The only prayer this defense has right now is a wicked home field advantage. They are a young team. Do you know what jacks up a young team. A crazy crowd. Rock Chalk

Michael Maris 11 years, 1 month ago

The link is a conversation with T. Boone Pickens.

See what he thinks.

I'm saying that KU needs to talk to the Big East and take the remaining teams with them to the Big East. TCU is there already. Big East can add Central Florida to the Conference as well.

That way, it is truely an East vs. West Conference. Baylor, Houston and TCU being in the Conference would still allow KU, K-State, Missouri, Iowa State to still recruit the State of Texas for Football Recruits.

East could be:

Central Florida Cincinnati Rutgers Pitt S. Florida Syracuse U.Conn West.Virginia

West could be:

Baylor Houston Iowa State Kanas Kansas St. Louisville Missouri TCU

Somehow, the basketball would have to be dealt with.

Non-football schools could join together with some of the A-10 Schools to form an All-Catholic Conference.

levicircle2 11 years, 1 month ago

This is the best, most workable,and (most importantly) realistic proposal I've seen in the past 48 hours. Well done!

levicircle2 11 years, 1 month ago

...although they'd have to come up with some other names for the divisions (Bonus: There's no way they could be more ridiculous than the names in the Big10/11/12). Otherwise, you'd have the Big East East and the Big East West.

Spencer Goff 11 years, 1 month ago

I'd proposed this idea about a month ago, stating the Big East would need to drop the non-football schools if it were serious about remaining as a power conference.

But I'm curious as to how this would take place. On the one hand, all the football schools could merely separate, and reform a new league with a new brand etc.

The converse of that is to forcibly boot out the other schools, and I'm not so sure they would do that, or if that is even possible.

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

Hank Cross 11 years, 1 month ago

I had been giving SZ the benefit of the doubt, but the video makes it clear that he is a total tool. Doesn't he know that in all likelihood for all practical purposes the sun has set on the last Saturday of B12 FB? The OK websites have been reporting all day that that the only thing OU is interested in is going to the P12 and OSU is going with OU. Larry Scott is in TX. Put that together with Boren's 72 hour comment and tune in Monday morning when the death of the B12 is formally announced.

This article points out that the ESPN/LHN deal only makes sense if it assumes that the B12 would not be in existence that long.

If some blogger figured this out, how did the KU miss the boat? I'm still not worried though, I think KU goes to the BE which is a good fit b/c of its good BB and mediocre FB. KU BB stays on Big Monday, keeps its high profile, gets far better regular season comp that it did in the B12.

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 1 month ago

Overall not a good day for "the little engine that couldn't"

First he gets money whipped by UT and TLN to air a second game Then OU pulls the "hey look over there" and runs off while he turns to look Finally Jayhawk nation is seeing what I have been saying about this guy all along.

Hank Cross 11 years, 1 month ago

"But, but, but Castiglione and Dodds told me they were committed to staying! I shocked that UT and OU would lie to us for money!" What a buffoon. I'm just glad he can fall back on all those connections he has from Southern Illinois to Hays.

Spencer Goff 11 years, 1 month ago

"And they even said we were best friends forever! We bought candy necklaces!"

Seriously, people getting paid millions of dollars to not have a clue.

Jock Navels 11 years, 1 month ago

Priority: Protect big time basketball. Call Big 10 and Big East on Monday morning. Hustle now.

Steve Hillyer 11 years, 1 month ago

WE ARE SCREWED! Big East sucks but I guess it's better than MWC (but not much) On a positive note this will save me money as I'm not going to give one cent to this minor league university after this year.

Spencer Goff 11 years, 1 month ago

Kevin Weiberg kept this conference going for almost a decade, actually built it into a monster. It took less than four full years for it to implode after he resigned.

Is it just me, or does Weiberg look like a damn genius more and more each day for keeping these 12 morons together for that long?

It should be noted he is now working as a deputy commish for Larry Scott (as of 2010). Coincidence? I doubt it.

Michael Maris 11 years, 1 month ago

Weiberg, is the main reason the Big XII is becoming a former Conference. He left the Big XII to get the Big 10 Network started. Then, he left that entity to move to the PAC-10 to help that conference expand. So, why wouldn't DeLoss Dodds and Joe Castiglione not want to exit stage left?

They have an ole partner out in the PAC-12 that they know and trust.

Thanks Weiberg, you have killed the Conference that you formally ran.

Spencer Goff 11 years, 1 month ago

On the Weiberg note, go back and read this, gauge your reaction. We should have seen it coming in 2007:

Jack Wilson 11 years, 1 month ago

avaholic had the first comment .. this guy seems like he has no idea what is going on. The best comment on the board.

His demeanor is that of one that is in well above his head; he is nearly hyper-ventilating. As observed by others above, it seems as though he was completely blind-sided. Which he was.

Not "war time" leadership, it would appear.

haydenhawkco 11 years, 1 month ago

Wait, wait, wait....I saw this one! This is the one where Moe comes in and clunks his head.

okiedave 11 years, 1 month ago

Need to go back to the late 40's and recreate the Big VI (6) - KU KSU MU ISU OU OSU. If it was good enough for Don Fambrough, it is good enough for me.

Bear86 11 years ago

It all goes back to Texas F-ng up the league. Now we have some Jr College Chancellor who is probably a good academian but has no clue how lead a University in the Big Time world of college athletics. To make things worse we have a nice guy (but clearly not qualified or connected with BCS AD's & Adiministrators) over his head treading water. Thanks alot Texas! KU will now end up in some sub par conference with a bunch of commuter schools (Cinci, Louisville, Houston, Memphis). What a joke! F-Texas!!!

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