Realignment will create incredibly awkward season in 2010


With every new report that surfaces on college realignment, the Big 12 seems more and more like a ticking time bomb.

Colorado bolted to the Pac-10 on Thursday. Nebraska just left for the Big Ten on Friday.

Two down. Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State appear destined for the Pac-10 next week. Texas A&M could join them, or potentially join the SEC.

That would be seven down.

Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State and Baylor are now left scrambling.

Perhaps only five still remain.

If A&M leaves for the SEC, that could open the door for Kansas to join the Pac-10/16.

Without the South schools, there's no chance the Big 12 survives.

I think an aspect that's getting buried under all the realignment rumors is that these Big 12 schools still have another year (maybe two) of competing against each other in the same conference.

Determining when schools officially leave the Big 12 is still up in the air. Reports indicate that Nebraska plans to start competition in the Big Ten by 2011. The Big 12 requests at least two years notice of a team’s intention to leave. Per Big 12 policy, Nebraska would lose 50 percent of the revenue earned during that time and could lose up to 90 percent of its revenue for giving less than two years notice.

There is one way the Huskers could escape the Big 12 without a financial penalty, however: A vote to dissolve the league.

After the remaining Big 12 schools state their intentions — say, in the next week — nine of the 12 institutions would have to vote to fold the league. If that happens, Nebraska, Colorado, et. all could start play by 2011 in another conference without penalty.

Still, I can't help but think of 2010-2011, which will be the most awkward athletic year in the history of the Big 12.

Some of these match-ups will call to mind running into an ex-girlfriend at a high school reunion. You used to be so close. Now, you just want to get through the mandatory reunion (or game) and move on.

How will the conversation play out between athletic and school administrators when Kansas University travels to Nebraska on Nov. 13, for instance?

When KU coach Turner Gill and NU coach Bo Pelini meet at midfield for a few minutes before the game, they'll probably jolly about something that has nothing to do with realignment. Since Gill's a Nebraska grad, there will be plenty of attention already on that.

But come on, here's what will come to my mind: Kansas and Nebraska have faced each other in football since the 1890s, long before these money-seeking hounds forever changed the landscape of college athletics by following lucrative television dollars.

Forget the super conferences and the future of college sports for a minute. The thought of Kansas and Nebraska not facing each other every year is uncomfortable. I can accept change, but it's difficult to throw away 100+ years of tradition overnight.

There's nothing anyone can do about it now, though.

The Jayhawks and Huskers will face each other in a conference game on Nov. 13 for the last time probably ever.
Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Yes, this next year is going to be awkward.

Who knows if KU, Missouri and Kansas State will end up in the same conference. If they don't, that'd be even more uncomfortable. But it seems to be every man/school for itself in this period of desperation. So yeah, if the Pac-10 makes an offer to KU, the Jayhawks should instantly accept. Even at the cost of losing century-long rivalries with K-State and Mizzou. That's the painful reality.

Adding to the awkwardness in 2010 is that a big part of college football is conference pride. Fans of Alabama, Florida and LSU have chanted "SEC....SEC" the past three years after winning the BCS Championship.

Next year, there's a good chance a Big 12 school (Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska) will have a chance to represent the conference in the BCS Championship. A Big 12 school has made an appearance in the BCS Championship in five of the past seven years.

If a Big 12 school wins it all next year, what's the chant to signify conference pride and give some of the SEC its own medicine...Pac-16? Big Ten? Can't be Big 12 if the league crumbles by next week.

Hopefully, the Jayhawks find a BCS conference next week or sooner.

That should be all for now, friends. As always, discuss.


khummel60 12 years, 3 months ago

Too depressed to even discuss. This just sucks.

Don Sparlin 12 years, 3 months ago

Now we know, money wags the dog. It is time to move college athletics to the Auxiliary Enterprise department, pay taxes on the profits, pay the athletes a salary, and the semipro players don't have to be enrolled. The degree would be in Entertainment Production, with no ACT score required.

What a disgrace..

Spencer Goff 12 years, 3 months ago

This would be different from some current institutions in what way?

Oh, I get it, it would be legit. Gotcha... ....

In all seriousness, I agree with you. They need to quite associating college athletics, college football in particular, with academics in any form. Because it isn't academics anymore, it is a developmental league.

It is baseball in the first half of the 20th century, where the players made absolute dirt while the fat cats got fatter. Then they formed a union, and now they are all pretty much fat cats, but at least no player is taking payouts to throw a World Series games.

This is the best business in the world right now. They don't legitimately compensate their employees based on earnings, and they hide behind the moral ground of higher education.

We all see how far education plays into any of this.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 12 years, 3 months ago

I always thought the PAC-10 was the worst of the BCS conferences, now we're praying for an invite from them.

I know the MWC is a tough, backwards move, but I'd probably enjoy watching us play those schools more than the PAC16

Spencer Goff 12 years, 3 months ago

You know, I have been thinking about this.

I hate being associated with Texas, the great conference killer (who all want to blame Nebraska and Colorado for this conference explosion, see Tom Osborne addressing this in his speech, excellent point he makes), and I want us to remain in a BCS conference, but not any they are associated with.

If the MWC gets that BCS bid when this all implodes, I would love for Kansas State and Kansas to both end up there.

One, we could compete in that conference in football, as would K-State. We would no longer be rewarded with possibly winning the North to head down to Dallas to play a Texas school or OU in their own backyard (see K-State vs. Texas A&M to see how well that turns out).

I say this hoping that if we end up there, it pulls that other BCS bid, and with Boise State, TCU and Utah, it is entirely possible if KU and KSU end up there.

In total, between Boise, Utah, TCU, KU, and KSU have seven BCS appearances, almost one per season (most of those coming after the rule change to give automatic bids based upon nation rank (not who they want to see in the games...). Their record overall is 5-2, with one loss being TCU to Boise, and getting wins like Alabama the season before they won a title, and who can forget the Statue of Liberty to beat Big Game Bob Poopes. And it should be noted that Boise State finished undefeated in at least one season that Utah took an at-large (I believe it to be two, somebody check me) but got snubbed because it plays in the WAC. This would not be a terrible conference on the field, actually it might be fairly deep.

But it depends on what the BCS views, which is typical bulls*%t television markets, so we'll see. I mean, the ACC has an automatic berth... They are like 2-10 or some crap in appearances. Seriously...

(As a side note, OU, Tex, A&M, and Colorado are a combined 5-8 in BCS games, not exactly "dominating," particularly if you look past Texas' three wins. Meanwhile, Nebraska is a luke warm .500, and the most recent appearance was a shalacking at the hands of Miami back in 2002. Again, not exactly displaying dominance in the post-Osborne era.)

David Hodges 12 years, 3 months ago

At this point why not just do away with college sports and start turning universities into large "girls gone wild" corporations. Everyone knows porn is todays cash cow so screw what the fans want. My vote turn college in to cash generating porn machines.

jhokfan 12 years, 3 months ago

In the private sector this would be a hostile takeover.

NorthStarHawk 12 years, 3 months ago

jhokfan....more like a hostile "bend over".

Spencer Goff 12 years, 3 months ago

That is the among the funniest responses I can recall, good show.

dree 12 years, 3 months ago

The border war will become all but pointless.

If we end up not playing Missouri every year we might as well not even be called the Jayhawks anymore.

William Daniels 12 years, 3 months ago

That is an interesting insight. You are right, how depressing. This is madness.

ku_foaf 12 years, 3 months ago

We might have gotten our name from Kansas fighting with Missouri in border skirmishes 150 years ago, but they don't define us now. Despite the complaints about Texas, Missouri is the one that actually made the first move to get out of the Big 12 - they just weren't chosen. I'd care less if they are left in the cold and go to Conference USA.

MDHawk 12 years, 3 months ago

I completely agree, OldProf...this mass realignment is an abomination. I will always support KU, but I barely have the heart to read about this mess. Makes me sick. I hope we find a home in a major conference soon...otherwise, watching this unfold with KU in limbo might just completely sour me on college sports, and I've been a die-hard KU fan all of my life.

Boo Colorado. Boo Nebraska. Boo the South, if they abandon us too. I can't even stand the thought of sharing a field with these teams next year.

Jacobpaul81 12 years, 3 months ago

Yep. Said well. Kansas? PAC-10? ---- that. These conferences are getting ridiculous. No one can travel to watch games anymore. Who wants to travel from Austin to freaking Seattle to watch a football game? Heck with that.

jayhawkcat 12 years, 3 months ago

That leaves Gill out in the cold. I wonder how Gill feels about Osborne now!

Code_2008 12 years, 3 months ago

Nebraska was afraid to face Coach Gill in a football game. That is probably the true reason Nebraska is leaving the Big 12. Hahaha.

bigXIImatters 12 years, 3 months ago

I have always been a huge proponent of college athletics because of the rivalries, the heart in which athletes play with, and the pride for ones alma mater. Now it seems it is all about the money and thus on par with every pro sport. I feel I may never watch sports ever again. At this point being invited to play with the pac10 or the big10 or whomever would feel like a pity invite. No. It would feel even worse. It would be like getting dumped by a girlfriend that your truly love only to have her start dating your bigger, stronger, richer best friend and roomate. And then have to stick around to witness their happiness and success as a couple simply because you have nowhere else to go. This of course is not spoken from experience, just speculation.

patrick_raftery 12 years, 3 months ago

Why all the Pac-10 talk? Two times zones away people ... are you prepared to wait around until 9pm or 10pm KU-Time to see KICK OFF/TIP OFF?!? That makes NO sense.

The Big 10 is the ONLY option worth pursuing.

KUSports - get off this Pac-10 nonsense, please!

DevilHawk 12 years, 3 months ago

You mean one time-zone most of the time.

Arizona is in the Mountain time zone along with Colorado, but Arizona doesn't use daylight savings time. However, basketball occurs almost exclusively during standard time, so that doesn't particularly come into play. All other divisional games are in the Central time zone.

Also, games against the Pac West (the original Pac-8) would be limited.

Finally, we would probably use the current Pac arrangement of playing games on weekends (Thurs./Sat. or Fri./Sun.)

One last thing: we already have a major presence on the East Coast - it's time to increase our fanbase on the West Coast.

Don Hortenstine 12 years, 3 months ago

This is disappointing, what is college about if not traditions? Isn't that what is sold, the rivalries, competition, the student athlete? What kind of traditions are offered in the P10, USC is on probation, I don't remember the last time UCLA was good. The Big12 south teams don't have any history with the Pac10 teams, how does this make any sense?

TV contract: Hundreds of millions of dollars Team payout: $20 million dollars Destroy a league and 100 years of tradition: Priceless

Matt Bowers 12 years, 3 months ago

lbranchcrewKU that was a little left of center. I would rather see KU in the Big 10/SEC rather than the Pac 10, mainly because of travel. I think that no matter where KU lands, it will be on its feet. KU is going to be okay. This is tuff because I look forward to rivalries, but money talks. Guess they will have to rename rivalry week something else on espn.

Rock Chalk

William Daniels 12 years, 3 months ago

Wish that was an option. But the truth is football is the moneymaker. Basketball just doesn't lend itself well to large TV deals. It is all about the BCS and the way TV networks can milk a football game for everything its got. Every football game is a must win to achieve hishest success = loads of drama = TV $$$. Basketball, you can lose a few games and still be in it = periods of drama = less TV $$.

Steve Corder 12 years, 3 months ago

ND has a TV contract to 2025. Noticed how there's NO speculation about them?

William Weissbeck 12 years, 3 months ago

We alway's knew that although we were god's country, we were also flyover country. Now we are left behind country. Not wishing Tom Osborne any ill will, but I'm hoping that Neb's away games this year are the trips from hell, that the locals in Manhattan and Ames refuse to serve the Big Red. Lawrence and Columbia won't get the honors. This would have all been a lot simpler had someone, anyone stood up last week at the Big 12 meeting and told UT to go to h***. It's also a shame that the coaches are apparently muzzled by their AD's from really saying what's on their minds. And just to throw more salt into the wounds, lest you think anyone outside of the center of the US cares about this, just watch or listen to ESPN. No one else cares who gets hurt. They still have their jobs. It just gives them more news to report. And the NCAA - forget them; they've clearly forgotten about us.

Scott Smetana 12 years, 3 months ago

Although I've always somewhat rooted for CU, the pac10 is stupid to accept them. They can't sell basketball tickets for $5. NOBODY in the Denver area watches any of their sports. They can't even afford to buy-out their lame FB coach (everyone wants to). They also stand to lose a bundle from visiting fans like KU, KSU, ISU, Nebraska, etc.. Bye Bye Boulder, I enjoyed my huge KU days there.

I hate the Idea of joining the Pac 20, but I don't see a better option now for KU. I don't think we get invited to the Big10 and the MWC is a big Step Down. I'd rather go independent than join the Missouri Valley.

I hate all of the automatic BSC big crap. Automatic bids to the playoffs is absolutely stupid and I don't see it lasting. Aligning ourselves with quality league opponents is more important to me

hawkward1 12 years, 3 months ago

Nebraska brings the big 10 to 12 - just add in KU, KSU, Mizzou and Iowa State - there's your 16-team, geographically-connected conference.

ku_fan_1988 12 years, 3 months ago

the pac 10??? you've got to be kidding.... nebraska wants to leave cause they can't win in the Big 12 (one of the best conferences)... what makes them think they will in Big 10 plus 1? Big 10 plus one is a grind it out big players slow game style.... the SEC is showing speed wins games.... the ku/ksu games and ku/mizzou games are going to lose a lot of attention if each school is in a different conference. heck, they may never play each other again... which really would suck!!!!! those games are always good..... if ku goes to the sec there will be no doubt about the best basketball conference in the world and i hate uk..... then you add tx, and ok.... they won't ever get a 1 seed cause they will beat each other out of them...... what ever.... let the corn eaters go to a weaker conference...

DevilHawk 12 years, 3 months ago

The Big 12 was all about the QB - something that Nebraska has been consistently lacking. On the other hand, they currently fit in well with the Big 10 style of play.

FLJHK 12 years, 3 months ago

Everyone seems to be missing the point here. The solution is simple.

We merely need to shift our home games in footall and basketball to stadiums/arenas in NYC, Chicago or LA, and convince the locals there to support us. Provided we keep supplying the product that has been realized over the past decade or so, it should not be difficult to attract fans. And just think of the TV revenue that could be generated!!! Students and regional alumni could simply watch the games on their hand-helds, and new rivalries would surely accrue.

Clearly, a win-win situation for all involved!

FLJHK 12 years, 3 months ago

Everyone seems to be missing the point here. The solution is simple.

We merely need to shift our home games in footall and basketball to stadiums/arenas in NYC, Chicago or LA, and convince the locals there to support us. Provided we keep supplying the product that has been realized over the past decade or so, it should not be difficult to attract fans. And just think of the TV revenue that could be generated!!! Students and regional alumni could simply watch the games on their hand-helds, and new rivalries would surely accrue.

Clearly, a win-win situation for all involved!

MDHawk 12 years, 3 months ago

Hehheh...right on, FLJHK. In fact, we could solve the problem by just moving to NYC, Chicago, or LA...or just anywhere on the coasts. Our whole school, in fact...and us too! We should just move out of the Midwest, because it apparently isn't a worthwhile place to live or be in a conference, so we'll just let the machines do the farming and we'll all move to the city! (Kansas City doesn't count, I guess). Who cares if we've lived here for generations? A lot more people watch TV in the cities (real rousing folk), and we'll all make more money there, so let's load up the truck and head on out!

Bryan Swan 12 years, 3 months ago

Does ANYONE give a crap about the fans??? Apparently not...

Steve Corder 12 years, 3 months ago

Hey Tom. I got a question. What's the word about where the Big 12 conference is or was in regard to a restructured (or new) TV deal? Is there enough potential to keep the conference from disolving?

Ron Franklin 12 years, 3 months ago

Can somebody explain why Texas' affiliation with the BIG XII hinged so much on what Nebraska did? Why say "if you stay, we stay"??

What does Nebraska offer Texas that others cannot.

Code_2008 12 years, 3 months ago

I think we should take the MWC invite. Just my opinion.

artfanatic411 12 years, 3 months ago

i am extremely upset about the realignments because it is all based on greed. Big 12 has one of the best basketball conferences in the USA. i don't even want to think about going to an inferior basketball conference. Pac 10 or Big ten have lost their dominance. ACC or Big East would be the only ones that would be comparable to the Big 12.

KURocksChalk 12 years, 3 months ago

If we really want to install some sanity in all this perhaps we should start a new conference, make the rules clear to begin with, no tolerence for prima donnas, equally share revenue and bank on the up and comers. Start with KU, KSU, ISU, Baylor and then issue invitations to Utah, Arkansas, Kentucky, Cincinatti, maybe Missouri, Texas A&M, OSU, OU, Houston and perhaps some others. Keep it regional in nature, start with a sane base and make some aggresive invitations. Maybe, despite the current move, invite Boise State anyway. Invite teams that are tired of not winning their conference, like Minnesota. Crank up a TV network. Use some of the pooled revenue for facility improvements and create a minimum standard. I would rather have Memorial Stadium hold 70,000 with 20,000 vancant seats than to pack it every week. Call it room for growth. Tennesee, Vandy may also be ready for a change of scenery. Anything goes, haven't we heard? Lets use a little imagination here.

Kenneth Johnson 12 years, 3 months ago

Hey! Don’t blame Nebraska, or Colorado either, for their departures.

The blame actually goes back to 1996 when Texas took over the Big 8, and stole its history, its offices, its tournament site, and grabbed the lion’s share of conference revenue.

Just take a look at the Big 12 web site. You simply can’t find anything there about anything happening to the conference schools before the 1996-97 season. No mention of the Big 8, Big 7, Big 6, or even the Missouri Valley Conference which preceded that. No mention of the exploits of Danny Manning, Wayman Tisdale, Wilt Chamberlain, JoJo White, Bob Boozer, Gary Thompson, Clyde Lovellette, or any of the other stars that came before the expansion to the Big 12. No stats, no nothing. Actually, there is no mention of the Southwest Conference either. It’s like nothing ever happened before the creation of the Big 12.

Texas clearly owns Big 12 Commissioner Beebe, who has done virtually nothing to make things fairer among conference schools. And, why wasn’t he trying to create a Big 12 TV network? It worked for the Big 10. And, while the Big 10, Pac 10 and SEC have been courting Big 12 schools, why wasn’t he wooing Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois from the Big 10? Or even Notre Dame, which isn’t really that far away.

Clearly, Texas ruined the Big 8 and now it has ruined the Big 12. Why did Nebraska and Colorado bolt? It merely boils down to the fact that these schools, and others in the Big 12 North, have been getting ruled by and raped by Texas - - and they are tired of it.
Due to lack of management, the conference hasn’t been financially competitive, and with Texas taking most of what the do have, the other conference schools are left with too small a piece of the pie. Nebraska and Colorado are both going to double their revenue by leaving the Big 12.

So, don’t blame the Cornhuskers, Buffaloes, or any subsequent departures from the Big 12. The culpability lies with the Longhorns.

Ken Johnson (KU MS '70)

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