Blog Entry

Baylor to the Big East?

Posted on: September 8, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 12:45 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli

Baylor has been one of the most vocal members of the Big 12 in recent days as the school does everything it can to keep the Big 12 together. It's a move that isn't difficult to understand because in all of the conference realignment talk, when it comes to the Big 12, Baylor is one of the few schools whom you don't hear mentioned as possibilities for other BCS conferences.

After all, in the Pac-16 scenario that keeps coming up, while Texas would want to bring Texas Tech west with them, you don't hear anything about the Longhorns being all that concerned about the Bears. As it turns out, however, Baylor may actually have a BCS contingency plan. According to a report by Yahoo's Jason King, Baylor is rather confident that if the Big 12 does dissolve, the school will find a home in the Big East.

“There haven’t been any guarantees,” a source with knowledge of the situation told King. “But [Baylor] feels strongly that that’s what would happen.” 

Which is rather interesting to hear if it's indeed true. Like I said, I understand why Baylor wants to keep the Big 12 together, but their method in trying to do so seemed like a bit much. Instead of just stating the obvious, Baylor has been using a lot of rhetoric about preserving the sanctity of college football and the integrity. It's also talked about the best interest of the fans, and worrying about the effects that realignment can have on the states of the schools involved.

Which seems a bit funny to me because I seem to remember Baylor being one of four Texas schools that left SMU, TCU, Houston and Rice behind when they left the now-defunct SWC for the Big 12 when it formed in 1996. I guess it was okay back then.

Now this report about Baylor and the Big East?

Again, I don't begrudge Baylor for finding a safety net. It's what any institution in the Big 12 should be doing right now just in case. But don't try to pretend you're worried about the sanctity of college football and preserving tradition when your actions show that just like everyone else, the thing you're really worried about is yourself.

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: September 9, 2011 4:53 am

Baylor to the Big East?

UCF and Houston should be added to the Big East.

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: September 9, 2011 4:52 am

Baylor to the Big East?

UCF and Houston should be added to the Big East.

Since: Sep 2, 2011
Posted on: September 9, 2011 4:11 am

Baylor to the Big East?

If they let Baylor in, get my Orange out immediately. I'll take the ACC or Big Ten. I don't want a school that whines and has ZERO tradition in the conference. The Big East may not be at its best right now in football but the conference has enough of a legacy to keep it going. And don't get me started on basketball because Baylor would become a doormat. DePaul would love to have the Bears as would Rutgers.

Since: Dec 21, 2008
Posted on: September 9, 2011 1:59 am

Baylor to the Big East?

Oh Goldrusher the BE is ready to sign one of the richest tv contracts similar to that of the Pac 12. You are smoking if you think they are going away! One of the best media markets...They will continue to expand. The only thing they MAY do is look at non- football schools in the league and even then I don't know if they will do that. Big East ain't going anywhere.......

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: September 9, 2011 1:48 am

Baylor to the Big East?

I have this impression, considering all the conference realignment talk, of thirty or forty people in a room together in the pitch dark. Everyone is feeling around them to figure out some security. But that feeling touches some untouchables and those insecurities are electrifying the room with fear, who will emerge from the room? Whose clothes will they be wearing? Whose marriage is about to be blown up? Who is going home with who?

Baylor indeed has a problem. Recently they have recruited better in basketball but cannot get over the hump in the Big XII conference. Ahead of them are Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. That leaves them clearly ahead only of Iowa State. That is their best sport. Now in football they struggle, despite sitting in the heart of the best football recruiting ground in the country. Baylor would be better off, competition wise, in a smaller conference. But not money-wise. So follow the money and scrap for the scraps under the BCS table. Not sure how a threatened lawsuit helps them. Wanting to go to the Big East doesn't help them because Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri are all way ahead of them in that line and three is all the Big East needs for football.

The real culprit in all this conference realignment is ESPN. Their greed has sought out marquee matchups every night of the week. Super conferences are an ESPN creation offering billions to make it happen. All of these talks - don't you think ESPN is in the middle of them? This is not about the student athlete. Missing three days of class to travel to a basketball game is never good for a student. Oh, we will bring along their tutors, the coaches say. Yeah right. Come to Excellent University, not to our beautiful campus and to become well acquainted with the insides of our airplane. This is your new home!

The NCAA is powerless. It cannot influence anybody. But it still should be standing on the table screaming on behalf of students. But it won't and it will observe the end of the basketball revenue cow just as the BCS Bowl system has ended their influence. The super conferences are not going to play the mid-majors at the end of the season. They will simply play each other to the championship. Baylor and Iowa State may be the two that emerge from our hypothetical room above with no clothes at all.

Since: Feb 12, 2010
Posted on: September 9, 2011 1:01 am

Baylor to the Big East?

Baylor has been gravy training UT, OU, NEB, and A&M for over 15 years now.  So they have no right to complain about what is going to inevitably happen.  Sorry Baylor your free meals are up and you are going right back to where you belong.......Conference USA or another conference were you can make around the same money as the other schools. I do think that is is funny that you think you are even worthy of the Big East.  The only reason you would be is because of the recognition the Big 12 gave you over the years.  Grow up and be thankful you were even in a major conference for as long as you were.

Since: Oct 4, 2010
Posted on: September 8, 2011 11:58 pm

Baylor to the Big East?

Guys Baylor is getting ready to go to college footballs version of hell and they know it, they are NOT going to the Big East because there aint gonna be one, The PAC12, BIG10,AND SEC are gonna take their picks of the BE B12 and ACC for their 16 teams and there will be a merger for the 4th superconference (see the meeting between those 3 conference heads BE,B12,ACC) and Baylor KNOWS nobody wants them and they are going to drop from a BCS level program making umpteen million dollars per to MAYBE a sun belt team with around a million?? They are grasping, twisting, turning in the wind and fighting for their lives,threatning lawsuits and... putting out false rumors to try and get someone to think they matter. Dont fall for it

Since: Sep 7, 2011
Posted on: September 8, 2011 11:51 pm

Get your Facts on how Baylor got into the Big 12

Ann Richards was not responsible for getting Baylor in the Big 12.  Lt. Bob Bullock who was a Baylor and Tech grad saw to it that both schools got in to the confernece.  Maybe this article from 2006 will straighten out uninformed people who post and few sports writers who never seem to do their research.  You may also learn a few things about the other institutions from this article.

Adding four to eight divided Baylor, TCU

Schools were finalists for Big 12, but politicians had a big say

01:30 AM CDT on Wednesday, August 30, 2006

By BRIAN DAVIS / The Dallas Morning News

The breakup of the Southwest Conference was difficult for many die-hard football fans in Texas to accept. It was especially tough for Herbert Reynolds.

The Baylor president was asked to let his counterparts at SMU, Rice and Houston know their schools would not be invited to join the Big Eight, which became the Big 12. And then he called TCU chancellor William Tucker.

"That was a real burden for me, because I really thought highly of these folks, and I was particularly fond of Bill Tucker," Reynolds said. "Bill was really hurt by it, which I regretted very much."

It's been more than a decade since Baylor and TCU met on the football field. Sunday's meeting stirs up old emotions about the SWC and raises what is still an intriguing question:

Why did Baylor get into the Big 12 instead of TCU, which joined the Western Athletic Conference in 1996?

To this day, Tucker still isn't sure why the Big Eight shunned the other four SWC schools. Oh, but he remembers that phone call.

"It was a difficult telephone call for [Reynolds], and it was a difficult telephone call for me to receive," Tucker said. "The decision makers in that instance, they probably had a compelling reason to do what they did."

According to folklore, politicians in Austin made the decisions and forced Texas and Texas A&M to take Texas Tech and Baylor along. That's the "biggest myth in the west," according to former Texas chancellor William Cunningham.

Texas Tech would join the 12-team league on its own merits, Cunningham said. The final spot came down to Baylor or TCU. Those two were the only viable choices.

"Baylor had much better attendance at football games, and Baylor's overall statistical profile was much more positive," Cunningham said. "When we looked at it and tried to say which one was the logical choice, Baylor appeared to be the more logical choice."

Checking those diplomas

That's not quite how former lawmakers remembered it.

Republican or Democrat, political allegiances didn't matter when the saber rattling began in Austin. It was all about where you went to school. That's what former House Speaker Gib Lewis still believes today.

The late Bob Bullock, the state's lieutenant governor, had degrees from Tech and Baylor. Pete Laney, a Tech grad, was the House Speaker in 1994, the year everything came to pass.

"When I left office, you had Laney and Bullock," said Lewis, who has deep ties to Fort Worth and attended TCU. He was House Speaker from 1983 to '93. "It was pretty damn obvious that the two guys that happened to be in there went to those schools. I smelled a rat real quick."

Reached at his office in Hale Center, Texas, Laney recalled that Texas and Texas A&M wanted to go separate ways. UT officials were considering the Pacific-10 Conference, and A&M decision-makers were flirting with the Southeastern Conference. Laney said that would have left Tech "in the wilderness."

UT and A&M officials "came in and said here's what are we going to do, and I said, 'Not without Tech,' " Laney said. "Then, they went across the hall, and Bullock said the same thing about Baylor.

"When they came by to visit with us about that, they remembered that they got a lot of revenue from the state for education. You could say they were reminded of that."

It was reported in 1994 that Bullock held a meeting in his office where UT and A&M officials effectively sealed the deal. Cunningham and former Sen. David Sibley, a Baylor graduate, confirmed being there, and Reynolds said he listened in on a speakerphone.

No one was working behind the scenes for TCU, according to key administrative and legislative figures.

Cunningham said: "I don't remember getting calls from anyone."

"The University of Texas could shop around and there might have been better alternatives," Tucker said. "The small private schools in the Southwest Conference did not have that kind of strength and marketing power."

Big Eight wanted Baylor

The Big Eight presidents didn't want the four SWC castoffs to join them, either, it seemed. TCU, SMU and Houston had run into NCAA problems, and Rice was considered too small.

"Texas was an obvious choice and Texas A&M," said Jim Corbridge, the former Colorado chancellor who now lives in Oklahoma. "Baylor, that's the only private institution in the Big 12. But on the other hand, they had powerful political connections."

Laney said: "We even talked about TCU needing to be part of it, and I don't know what the rationale was for them to not be included. We just wanted to make sure that wherever A&M and Texas went that they were together, and that Tech, in my opinion, and, in Bullock's opinion, Baylor were part of that process."

By choosing Baylor over TCU, lawmakers sent the two schools on different paths.

Baylor's athletic program has enjoyed big moments in the Big 12, even if the football team has struggled. The Bears have benefited from the Big 12's revenue sharing and have poured millions into their athletic facilities in recent years.

Meanwhile, TCU has played in the WAC, Conference USA and now the Mountain West Conference. The Frogs have come close to reaching the lucrative Bowl Championship Series, although their leagues have not had an automatic qualifier. The school has spent thousands traveling to conference foes from Hawaii to the Carolinas.

It's a far cry from the decades in which these two teams played each other annually, and fans tuned their radios to hear Kern Tips tell them all about it.

"Baylor sure came out well in the deal," Sibley said. "I didn't enjoy the breakup, but I'm glad that Baylor got their ticket punched."

"What has happened has been very positive," Laney said, "or it appears to be positive from Tech's standpoint."

And for TCU?

"It's disappointing, but we don't sit on our hands," Tucker said. "We get to work and see how we can move forward so as to have a viable program. And have a program that will be attractive not only to the community but a vital part of the university. I think we've done that."

Who's Who?

Here's a look at some of the key players involved in the breakup of the Southwest Conference

William Cunningham, Texas Chancellor: Spent his time dealing with lawmakers in the state capital and talked with Pacific-10 and Big Eight representatives. Now teaching a class on UT campus and writing a book titled Money, Power, Politics and Ambition: The Texas Way.

Jim Corbridge, Colorado Chancellor: Was the Big Eight chairman who issued formal invitations to the four SWC schools to join the Big Eight. He retired in 2000 and now lives in Oklahoma.

Herbert Reynolds, Baylor president: Hailed by lawmakers as one who pushed Baylor into the limelight and sold the school as a viable entity in the new Big 12. Currently staying at a second home in New Mexico "to avoid that Texas heat," he said.

William Tucker, TCU chancellor: Influential administrator said he knew changes were afoot in 1994 but was stunned when Reynolds called to inform him that TCU would not be invited to join the Big 12. He's still active in and around Fort Worth.

Pete Laney, Texas House Speaker: Longtime House Speaker was instrumental in making sure Tech would be invited to join Big Eight. Announced his retirement from public office in December.

Bob Bullock, Texas Lieutenant Governor: One of the most powerful political figures in Texas, Bullock made sure that Baylor would be chosen for the Big 12. Died in 1999.

What if?

Gov. Bill Clements had run for a third term of office in 1991? The former chairman of SMU's board of regents might have been in position to push for SMU to join the Big 12 despite the football program receiving the NCAA-man- dated "death penalty" during the late 1980s.

Lewis remained in his position as Texas House Speaker after 1993? Lewis has deep ties to Fort Worth and would have held one of the most powerful positions in the Legislature.

Bob Bullock had not been lieutenant governor? Texas was ready to jump to the Pac-10, and Texas A&M was looking at the SEC. Without Bullock having his say, those schools might have chosen to take separate paths and skip the Big Eight.

Richards informed but wasn't a driving force

One of the biggest misconceptions about the breakup of the Southwest Conference was that former Texas Gov. Ann Richards used her political clout to push Baylor into the Big 12. Those close to loquacious Baylor graduate say that just isn't true.

"She just was not involved to any great degree in working that out," said Richards' former chief of staff, John Fainter. "I'd have to say she was informed, but she wasn't pounding the table or anything like that."

Bill Cryer, Richards' former spokesman, said Richards always thought it was funny that people assumed she bent over backward to help Baylor.

"I remember her chuckling about it saying, 'I can't imagine they think I would do that,' " Cryer said. "But you know how football fans are. They see want they want to see."

Richards is recovering from cancer treatment and could not be reached for comment.


Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: September 8, 2011 11:25 pm

Baylor to the Big East?

.....since the incredibly unlikeable current governor Rick Perry is a big dog among his fellow Aggies, maybe Baylor should go with A&M, a package deal of sad sack malcontents.

A bleeding heart talking about malcontents???  Now that's funny!!!  But if a chump like you doesn't like Perry, I guess we all know who to vote for.

Since: Mar 28, 2007
Posted on: September 8, 2011 8:58 pm

Baylor to the Big East?

The best comment I ever heard about the Big East, perhaps in SI years ago, is that it seems like a guy with a marketing degree set down and designed it. The B.E. just doesn't seem to be a real enterprise like a traditional conference.

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