Tag:conference realignment
Posted on: September 7, 2011 5:49 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 5:49 pm
 

Big 12 fate in Oklahoma's hands?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

As CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd reported on Wednesday, Baylor is one of a number of Big 12 schools that are currently threatening legal action against the SEC to block the move of Texas A&M to the conference. But could it be that the motive behind this move has nothing to do with keeping Texas A&M and everything to do with keeping Oklahoma?

That seems to be the case according to a report in the Waco Tribune. The report says that Baylor along with Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Missouri and Texas Tech would be willing to let the Aggies go without a fight as long as Oklahoma pledges to stay in the Big 12 and keep the conference together.
If Oklahoma reaffirms its commitment to the Big 12, the schools are expected to sign the waiver that would allow the Aggies to go to the SEC without any legal action. The Sooners, who are reportedly considering a move to the Pac-12, are expected to make their decision within the next two weeks.
Whether this is actually the case or not, who knows? What we do know is that RedRaiderSports.com's Chris Level has already tweeted that reports of Texas Tech threatening legal action against anyone is "simply not true."

Which makes sense if you think about it. Texas Tech has been one of the schools that has been tied to a possible move to the Pac-12 with Oklahoma, so I don't see why the school would draw such a firm line in the sand. As for the other schools involved in this report, aside from Missouri, these are the schools that would suffer the most if the Big 12 were to disband because they don't have contingency plans in place. Missouri on the other hand has been mentioned as a possibility for the SEC, but could just as easily wind up in the Big Ten or Big East.

For Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State, doing everything in their power to keep the Big 12 together is all they can do at this point. It's the only way to ensure that they're still members of a BCS conference when the dust finally settles.
Posted on: September 7, 2011 12:05 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 12:26 pm
 

Baylor stands between A&M and the SEC

Posted by Tom Fornelli

As we've told you about, the SEC voted to accept Texas A&M as the conference's thirteenth member on Tuesday night, but there still seems to be a roadblock or two in the Aggies way. The SEC originally received a notice from the Big 12 on September 2nd that said the SEC was free to accept Texas A&M as a member without fear of any legal repercussions from any other member of the Big 12. 

Something that no longer seems to be the case according to a release from the SEC on Wednesday which said that the conference has voted to accept Texas A&M, but won't officially bring the school into the fold until a certain member of the Big 12 agrees to accept the move.

"After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on September 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member," said Bernie Machen in the statement. "The presidents and chancellors of the SEC met last night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC. We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action. The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure. The SEC voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M University as a member upon receiving acceptable reconfirmation that the Big 12 and its members have reaffirmed the letter dated September 2, 2011."

Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin released a statement of his own saying pretty much the same thing on Wednesday morning.

“We are certainly pleased with the action taken last night by the presidents and chancellors of the Southeastern Conference to unanimously accept Texas A&M as the league’s 13th member. However, this acceptance is conditional, and we are disappointed in the threats made by one of the Big 12 member institutions to coerce Texas A&M into staying in Big 12 Conference. These actions go against the commitment that was made by this university and the Big 12 on Sept. 2. We are working diligently to resolve any and all issues as outlined by the SEC.”

While neither the SEC or Texas A&M will name this one Big 12 member, it's generally been acknowledged that the school is Baylor. The same Baylor that launched a bit of a grassroots campaign to keep the Big 12 together on Tuesday.

Can Baylor keep Texas A&M from leaving the Big 12? Probably not, but it's hard to blame the school for trying seeing as how the school doesn't know what the future will hold should the Big 12 completely dissolve.
Posted on: September 7, 2011 9:37 am
 

Official statement from SEC on Texas A&M

Posted by Chip Patterson

Statement from Dr. Bernie Machen, Chair, Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors:

After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on September 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member, the presidents and chancellors of the SEC met last night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC. We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action. The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure. The SEC voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M University as a member upon receiving acceptable reconfirmation that the Big 12 and its members have reaffirmed the letter dated September 2, 2011.
Posted on: September 7, 2011 12:31 am
Edited on: September 7, 2011 12:44 am
 

Texas A&M to announce SEC move Wednesday

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It looks as though all the rumor and speculation is due to come to an end shortly. According to the Fort Worth Star-TelegramTexas A&M is expected to announce that it's leaving the Big 12 for the SEC on Wednesday.
School officials spent Tuesday preparing for a news conference at Kyle Field to celebrate the move, pending a favorable vote from SEC presidents to extend an invitation. The SEC presidents met Tuesday night and approved an invitation to A&M, said sources with knowledge of the situation, but the SEC made no formal announcement.

A&M officials have indicated they would accept an SEC invitation. The move would be effective for the 2012 football season.
While this news doesn't come as a surprise, the fact that it is reportedly becoming official tomorrow means all gloves are off, and the Big 12's future is in serious peril. While the conference has said that it would like to stick together, and the remaining schools have expressed the same desire, their actions seem to say otherwise.

Both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have come out recently and basically let the Pac-12 know that they're willing to jump ship without saying it directly, and odds are that Texas and Texas Tech will be soon to follow if that happens. Making matters worse for the Big 12, there are also rumors circulating that the fourteenth school that the SEC will look to add will be Missouri.

The first domino is set to officially fall on Wednesday and though we don't know for sure where the rest will land, odds are it won't be in the Big 12.

Posted on: September 7, 2011 12:25 am
Edited on: September 7, 2011 12:34 am
 

Imagining the Big Ten's worst-case scenario

Posted by Adam Jacobi

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That makes sense, especially if you don't overthink it (who came up with such an arbitrary number? Is that a hard cutoff? Can we apply for waivers if we want it to be worth 1500 words?). Sometimes, though, a picture only needs to be worth one very long word. Like this picture, for example:

In this instance, for all twelve Big Ten members and their athletic departments' accountants, that one very long word is "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

We kid, we kid. We kid Iowa State because we care. 

In all actuality, the Big 12 is on the brink of collapse, and that's theoretically going to leave a lot of programs up in the air. But odds are very good that between the SEC, Pac-12/16, and Big East, there are enough willing participants in expansion that nobody's going to get "left behind" and end up in a non-BCS conference -- not even ISU or KSU.

But for as much of an arms race as the collegiate alignment landscape is about to become, one conference that we can't quite imagine scooping up a bloc of expat Big 12 programs would be the Big Ten, which had several opportunities to push its membership past 12 last year and this year. Remember all the Big East schools that were associated with the Big Ten, only for Jim Delany to hold firm with adding just Nebraska? Think of it like this: Delany decided not to invite schools like Pitt and Syracuse, and not because he was saving a spot for Iowa State instead.

Man, though. Can you imagine? Iowa State to the Big Ten, and Jim Delany proudly bragging to reporters at the press conference that he had just bolstered all the media markets in the western half of Iowa? The stuff of cold-sweat nightmares for everyone involved in the conference, that is.

 

Thanks to the enterprising reader who sent that terrifying vision of a dystopian future in. It is a work of art. With any luck, Jim Delany will see it, and the fright will cause the rest of his hair to fall out and he won't have that weird long Power Donut 'do going on anymore. The Power Donut works in one length only: tastefully short but conspicuous. Otherwise you start to look like '80s Larry David or Kevin from The Office or Jon Miller and none of these are good looks whatsoever.

Posted on: September 6, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 12:17 pm
 

Shocking News: Baylor wants B12 to stick together

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Welcome back to the latest episode of "How The Big 12 Slowly And Painfully Disintegrates." In the last few weeks we've seen Texas A&M publicly declare its crush on the SEC, and we've been hearing rumors about how the Pac-12 is ready to jump to 16 teams by adding Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech. Well, one of the schools we haven't heard from much in this whole soap opera is Baylor.

Baylor is a Texas school as well, but unlike A&M, Tech and the Longhorns, there has been no mention of Baylor leaving the Big 12, nor has there been any rumored interest in the program from other conferences. So, shockingly, it seems that Baylor is fully on board the "Let's Keep The Big 12 Together" train. The school is even starting a bit of a grass roots campaign to do so on its website.
Nothing is more beloved in Texas than Texas football. Entire towns travel to neighboring communities on Friday nights as rivals meet under the Friday night lights; Saturday mornings find families rushing out to pee wee football games and spending their afternoons with friends tailgating or watching some of the most historic and storied football rivalries in the nation; Sunday afternoons see families gathered in living rooms across the state to cheer on the Cowboys or the Texans.

Football in Texas is more than a passing interest, it is a part of the fabric of this great state.

...

Texans must stand up and call the leadership of the University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech to clear-headed thinking about the state's future. Texas' flagship institutions of higher learning are the guardians of the state's future—their loyalties must first be to Texas and to her citizens. Ask these leaders to take a stand for Texas and to stop this madness that will lead to the dissolution of the Big 12 and the end of an era for Texas. 
This is really the only stand that Baylor can take. As I said above, there hasn't been any rumored interest from other conferences in the school, and if the Big 12 does disband, Baylor faces an uncertain future. It would go from being in a BCS conference to likely having to move to the Mountain West or Conference USA.

And unfortunately for Baylor, that seems like the direction things are going to go.
Posted on: August 30, 2011 12:59 am
Edited on: August 30, 2011 3:48 am
 

Texas A&M to withdraw from Big XII on Tuesday?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

On Monday afternoon, Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin said in a statement that "it is not our intent to prolong our conference exploration for an extended period of time." If the multiple media reports from Monday evening are to be believed, Mr. Loftin was certainly not exaggerating.

Late Monday night, the New York Times published a report that Texas A&M had indeed filed its formal withdrawal from the conference, most likely to officially take place on Tuesday:

Texas A&M’s departure from the Big 12 drew closer to reality on Monday when the university president, R. Bowen Loftin, sent a letter to the Big 12 board chairman, Missouri President Brady Deaton, notifying the league it will formally withdraw — very likely on Tuesday — according to two college officials with direct knowledge of the decision.

Sources at the school have since confirmed that report to Orangebloods.com, and the Associated Press is reporting this move now as well. This would likely be the latest and most decisive step in Texas A&M's ongoing campaign to join the SEC for the 2012 football season; only a formal application to the SEC is all that remains.

Earlier on Monday, the Big 12 sent a letter to Texas A&M spelling out the terms necessary for the Aggies' departure from the conference, including the "mutual waivers of legal claims" that would essentially clear a legal path for withdrawal from the Big 12. That letter fulfilled a request from Texas A&M on Monday morning asking for all the necessary terms for withdrawal.

If that all sounds like extra-dry legalese, it sort of is; in short, all this means is that there are legal steps to be followed for Texas A&M to leave the Big 12 as soon as possible without any added repercussions for the school past the Big 12 conference by-laws -- and no repercussions for the SEC whatsoever, who could otherwise be open for litigation if the Big 12 thought the SEC was "recruiting" schools while they were current members of the Big 12.

More on Texas A&M

Undermining that idea, however, is the fact that the SEC has stayed quiet throughout these proceedings, only releasing a statement a couple weeks ago that it was happy at 12 teams and had no plans to expand unless the conference landscape changed significantly. Evidently, Texas A&M's formal withdrawal is enough to qualify; there's virtually zero chance this process would have gotten as far as it has without the SEC's (private) approval.

This departure would be the third that the Big 12 would suffer in the last two years; Nebraska left for the Big Ten effective this season, and Colorado has also joined the Pac-12 on the same timeline. Without these three schools, the "Big 12" would have just nine schools committed to the conference for the 2012 football season and beyond at this point.

The Aggies' reasons for seeking greener pastures are varied and nebulous, but the near-universal underlying theme to the reasons is A&M's relationship with Texas. Texas has caused a great deal of consternation in College Station recently with not only the advent of the ESPN-affiliated Longhorn Network, but the concessions granted to the channel thereafter. Before the NCAA intervened with a ban on collegiate networks showing high school athletics, the Longhorn Network was poised to air HS games involving key recruits. The network also planned to air a conference football game, a plan to which Texas A&M took special offense, even after the Big 12 put the kibosh on that idea as well. 

Conference commissioner Dan Beebe has already indicated that Texas A&M's departure would not be a deathblow to the conference, however. Beebe told his constituents in a letter two weeks ago that the Big 12 would survive the loss of A&M, and the names of schools like Houston and SMU have been bandied about as possible local replacements for the Aggies -- though the ratio of schools mentioned as Big Ten expansion candidates to actual expansion schools (roughly 20:1) should be something of a damper on Houston and SMU talk.

Furthermore, the commissioner said in a later letter that the conference was "poised to move aggressively" to rebuild its ranks, and that type of language could indicate some mutual interest from an independent football program -- namely BYU, since Notre Dame has already shot down any talk of the Big 12. Otherwise, if the Big 12 publicly states it's "poised to move aggressively" at colleges that are still active conference members elsewhere, it opens itself up to the type of litigation the SEC had specifically avoided above. 

As usual, the Aggie football program itself has been somewhat taciturn in its response to the potential move, though that's not a sign of reluctance. As head coach Mike Sherman pointed out, it's a move that isn't even going to affect the program's most important class.

"We have a bunch of seniors on this team that will never play in that conference," Sherman said in a Monday conference call, ostensibly referring to the SEC. "They, at this point, could care less. They're concerned with winning this season."

Senior safety Trent Hunter agreed with that sentiment in an earlier interview, saying the realignment talk is "not anything that's going to affect us playing SMU in that first week."

While it'd be easy to dismiss Sherman and Hunter as just using typical deflection techniques that are endemic in just about every athlete or coach interview, it's a fact that the move affects nothing about the coming season, and this season is all anybody for A&M -- coaches, assistants, seniors, on down to the true freshmen -- ought to be focusing on, because it's all that every other opponent of the Aggies is going to be focusing on. To start looking ahead to future years in Week 1 is to lose focus on the task at hand from the word "go," and that is a recipe for unmitigated disaster. Kudos to the A&M program for not falling into that trap thus far.

Posted on: August 29, 2011 7:01 pm
 

Notre Dame will say no to the Big 12

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Big 12 has thrown out some big names for potential replacements, with perhaps none being bigger than the old conference expansion standby, Notre Dame. Unfortunately for the Big 12, if Notre Dame is the conference's Plan A for replacing Texas A&M, then it's already time to move on to Plan B.

In a talk with the American-Statesman's Kirk Bohls, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick repeated the same party line he's been repeating for years now. Notre Dame isn't interested in your conference.

“Our priority — and our clear priority — is maintaining our football independence and continuing to build our relationship with the Big East with our other sports,” said Swarbrick.

Sorry, Big 12, but it's not going to happen, and if you ever felt otherwise, you were just being foolish.

If Notre Dame was to ever decide that it wanted to join a conference, the Big Ten would be it's first destination. Not only has the Big Ten invited the school numerous times, but tradition wise, it just makes a lot more sense. The school has longstanding rivalries against three Big Ten schools already in Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue, so the transition wouldn't be that difficult to make.

Plus, even if Notre Dame wanted to join the Big 12, would it even make sense for the Big 12 to want Notre Dame in the fold? Think about it, one of the main reasons there is such unrest in the Big 12 in the first place is the preferential treatment many in the conference feel Texas gets, particularly with the new arrival of the Longhorn Network.

Well guess what Notre Dame has hopes of launching in the future? That's right, it's own network. So how would adding a second school that gets to play by its own rules help matters any? 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com