Senior Writer

Naive Big 12 boss will get fooled again -- just wait


Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe held a 40-minute teleconference Tuesday and said he trusts the word of his remaining institutions as well as Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany. Beebe also insisted there's no need to expand the Big 12. He later explained his belief that college programs shouldn't operate too far outside of their geographic area because they're not "professional teams."

Dan Beebe's smile -- and world -- could be turned upside down if he doesn't get a clue quickly. (AP)  
Dan Beebe's smile -- and world -- could be turned upside down if he doesn't get a clue quickly. (AP)  
So this guy clearly hasn't learned a thing.

Trust Delany?

That's about as smart as letting Lindsay Lohan be your designated driver. I mean, after all Beebe has been through the past two weeks, you would think he would celebrate his survival, then quickly recognize how he ended up on the brink of extinction to begin with and swear to never make the same mistakes again. But he still thinks Delany can be trusted and that a strong public commitment from the Big 12's remaining members -- I love the Big 12 forever and always. Sincerely, Missouri XOXO -- is enough to ensure his league will move forward without future attacks or departures, and never mind that Oklahoma State booster T. Boone Pickens, a straight-shooter if there ever was one, told a group of reporters recently that he doesn't "know what Missouri is gonna do. You can't tell about them."

It all seems incredibly naive.

Mike Slive (SEC), Larry Scott (Pac-10) and Delany are considered the nation's smartest, savviest and most forward-thinking conference commissioners, and those three men have three things in common:

1. They don't trust anybody.

2. They're interested in expansion.

3. They have no problem going outside of their geographic areas to help their members conduct themselves like professional teams (as long as you'll accept the definition of a professional team as an entity interested in making lots of money and using it to aid its quest to win lots of games).

If Slive, Scott and Delany think that way, that's probably the way Beebe ought to be thinking, too. But on Tuesday -- less than 24 hours after Texas rejected a Pac-10 offer, resuscitated the Big 12, then negotiated an agreement heavily slanted toward Austin -- Beebe didn't sound like a man interested in doing whatever necessary to grow the Big 12 to a point where it's never read its last rites again. He sounded like a man just happy to still have a league. That's fine for now, I guess. But if Beebe thinks a 10-school conference is safe going forward, I've got some 2013 Big 12 Championship Game tickets I would like to sell him.

Mark my words: The Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC will, at some point and in some order, again revisit expansion, at which point the Big 12 will be vulnerable, same as it was last week. All it's going to take is something like the Big Ten raiding the Big East to go to 14 or 16 members. The SEC would then respond with another call to Texas A&M, whose decision-makers might by then be ready (and courageous enough) to escape the Longhorns' large shadow.

Or maybe it'll go an entirely different way.

Who knows?

But anybody paying attention understands things are getting bigger, not smaller. The aggressive get rewarded in this game while those sticking to the status quo sit on death row. And yet Beebe doesn't want the Big 12 to expand or leave its geographic area because he believes athletic departments shouldn't operate like professional teams. Forgive me for rolling my eyes.

"Maybe the future is going to prove me wrong," Beebe said. "I hope I don't have to exist in that future."

I fear he won't be allowed to exist in that future.

Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.

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