The Big 12 sent out an encouraging press release Monday morning.
But that’s all it was: encouraging.
The league said the conference board of directors “announced adoption of a position” to share revenue from primary football and basketball television deals. Without getting into the details, this is exactly what Oklahoma president David Boren said had occured 10 days ago. It’s also what Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton put in doubt a few minutes later when he said only that the matter was being “discussed.”
Essentially, nothing has changed. None of this is formal until each individual school adopts the policy. It seems that Texas is on board, although sharing of Longhorn Network revenue continues to be non-negotiable. How each school goes about addressing the issue differs. Interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas indicated it was something other than a rubber stamp.
When asked if each school would formally adopt the all-in rights plan, he said: "I hope so"
It seems that Missouri is on board, at least philosophically -- for now. But there is one, giant, pregnant question still out there. What good is an “adoption of a position” if Missouri doesn’t actually stay in the conference? The SEC remains an option, a big one. Missouri fans are reportedly lobbying administrators heavily via email to leave the contentious Big 12.
The Missouri board of curators meets Tuesday at noon. The board could go as far as empowering chancellor Brady Deaton to seek admission to another conference. That would make Monday's press release fairly worthless.
It's still an issue that Deaton continues to serve as Big 12 board chairman and is a member of the expansion committee. That could be a perceived a conflict with Deaton serving two masters while Missouri evaluates its options.
Neinas said Deaton recused himself from a part of a Sunday conference meeting on the advice of his legal counsel. Meanwhile, the lobbying goes on.
"It's one thing to talk about Southeastern Conference," Neinas said, "but how many people are going to be able to afford to travel to Gainesville, Fla. or Tuscaloosa, Ala.? John Q. Fan can get in the car and drive to Big 12 games. Besides, Missouri is Midwestern school, not a Southern school."