Cliff's Notes version: Lew Perkins press conference, 6/16/2010
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins' comments at his press conference today.
• Perkins says KU is unbelievably happy that all 10 schools were able to stay together in the Big 12. There's lots of value in that.
• In Perkins' opinion, it is one of the greatest things to happen in intercollegiate athletics in a long time. Ten is a great number for the Big 12. Some things are still unanswered, and the league is trying to work through those as quickly as possible. Basically, it's like starting a new conference with all the details that still need to be worked out. This will not be finished for a long time.
• One of the questions he gets asked most is about the conference name. Perkins doesn't know the answer, and he believes everyone in the league will have to talk about whether a name change is needed.
• Though he thinks many of the reporters will want to know about the numbers, Perkins doesn't have completely accurate numbers right now. Things could change over time. He doesn't think any Big 12 schools would have accurate numbers right now.
• No one in the Big 12 is interested in expansion right now. The schools like having 10 teams. Perkins believes that perhaps this could start a trend for schools to go smaller. KU coach Bill Self said it well yesterday when he talked about the new Big 12 being like the old Big Eight.
• KU worked hard behind the scenes to keep this thing together. There are always going to be disagreements. That's never going to go away. But Perkins came away thinking this was the best thing for the Big 12, for the 10 teams still involved and for intercollegiate athletics.
• Perkins believes the basketball league will be stronger.
• Perkins said he kept KU's coaches in the loop throughout the process as much as he could.
• Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe deserves to be thanked. He has been blamed for a lot of things, but he and his staff might have saved intercollegiate athletics as we see it today. Perkins doesn't think the change would have been best for the student athletes involved.
• KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was a rock star, and she and Perkins were in constant contact through the whole process.
• If Perkins ever had to "go to war," he'd want to do so with Kansas State's president Kirk Schulz and KSU athletic director John Currie. Everything between KU and KSU was done step in step.
• As the five "leftover" Big 12 schools looked at things — Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Baylor and Missouri — they came up with a business plan to try to keep the Big 12 together. Perkins compared it to a starting five of players and an institution trying to keep a good basketball coach. The schools knew what the other schools were being offered by other conferences.
• The five leftover schools then tried to figure out what they had to do to keep those other schools on board. Perkins said that the five leftover schools agreed to help subsidize the other three schools — Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M — if they didn't make a certain number of dollars. The "leftovers" were going to make more money with 10 teams in the Big 12 than if they were left on their own. At the end of the day, the leftover schools might have to pay a little bit, and they might not have to pay anything. Those leftover schools will guarantee, though, that those other schools would make at least what they would have made elsewhere.
• The five leftover schools hope they won't have to give additional funds to the other three schools. That's not guaranteed, though. Time will tell. The agreement just allows the leftover schools to guarantee that the Big 12 schools that were thinking about leaving, even with a worst-case scenario, will make at least as much money as they would have made in other conferences.
• The Big 12 schools signed an agreement to stay in the conference 10 years. If other things happen, it could be longer. Perkins says he has no reason to fear that any other Big 12 team will bolt on the league. All indications are that the teams are in the Big 12 for the long haul.
• Perkins says his only concern was the Big 12 during the process. His only concern now is the Big 12. He won't address the other hypotheticals and things that might have taken place in previous weeks. Everything else is meaningless now.
• Perkins says not to focus on liquidating damages. It's a non-factor in this whole situation.
• Perkins says it doesn't matter if this situation could have been averted. It doesn't matter now. There are a lot of coulda, woulda, shouldas. Things happen. Everybody wants to point a finger at somebody. Perkins says he's not going to worry about yesterday. He feels good that the 10 teams are in this for the long haul.
• Perkins' guess is that it's going to take a year to put everything in the Big 12 back together, because the conference is starting at zero.
• Scheduling is very important, but no one has gotten that far yet.
A previous version of this entry incorrectly quoted Perkins' description of KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. He actually called her a rock star, as is reflected above.