Posted on: October 20, 2011 6:45 pm
kANSAS CITY, Mo. -- No action was taken Thursday by the University of Missouri board of curators as the school continues to consider a move to the SEC.
The curators emerged after an approximately 90-minute executive session without commenting. A university spokesman said there would be media availability Friday at 11 a.m. ET prior to another executive session. There are no indications whether the curators will have an announcement at that time.
The next step for the university would be to announce its formal withdrawl from the Big 12. Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton was given permission by the curators to seek new conference membership. A New York Times report earlier this week said Missouri's move to the SEC is "imminent."
Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:57 pm
We're starting to get a clearer picture of the momentous decision Missouri has to make.
The school could make as much as $12 million more per year in the SEC according to this Monday Associated Press story.
The AP obtained the document that was shown to the school's board of curators last week. It contains details about academics but the juicy stuff is the money. As reported previously, Missouri would face a significant exit fee if it leaves for the 2012 season. The document pointed out Missouri would make approximately $2 million less in revenue staying in the Big 12 compared to the average SEC school in fiscal 2012 ($19.25 million-$17.16 million).
The real money is in the future where the SEC is two years into its 15-year, $3 billion deal with ESPN and CBS. At issue seems to be how that additional $12 million could be made.
I talked to multiple TV sources who could come up with, at most, an $8 million-$10 million increase for Missouri. That includes the extra money gained from the SEC title game. Also, there is normal yearly escalation in the contract that is currently paying that $19 million per year to SEC members.
The document could be referring to the back end of that 15-year deal. Typically, long-term contracts are "back-ended" where an escalating amount of money is paid at the end of the deal. That's one of the reasons why CBS partnered with TBS and Turner on a new NCAA tournament basketball deal. It was easier to redo the deal than to pay the bigger rights fees at the end of the old contract.
The other possibility is a much-discussed "SEC Network". Technically, that's the description of the current ESPN deal that distributes the conference across multiple platforms. What's being speculated, though, is a new revenue generator -- a bundling of the conference's third-tier rights to form a new cable entity. That theoretically would include one non-conference game from each school.
Each SEC school gets the rights to that one a year to telecast on a pay-per-view basis. The conference would have to negotiate to reclassify those rights so that they could be bundled.
As far as a windfall for the SEC by merely expanding to 14 teams, slow down. I'm told that the increase in revenue would be negligible. Remember, that additional revenue from expansion would be a negotiation. If the parties (ESPN, CBS) can't come to an agreement with the SEC on a new number then the issue goes to arbitration.
ESPN and CBS will rightly argue that they're already in Texas, where the SEC already does well in the ratings. The SEC will counter that it has added value. Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said Monday he doubted the $12 million figure, adding that Missouri will be a Big 12 member for 2012-13.
Neinas said for Missouri to gain an extra $12 million per year, the SEC would have to increase their TV revenue by $168 million.
Missouri never seems to be able to do anything privately when it comes to these matters. Remember, it was Gov. Jay Nixon who is blamed by many for touching off this latest round of realignment. There have been dueling "leaks" starting with an anonymous Missouri official last week saying that the Big Ten was the school's first choice.
Monday's AP story seems to counter that by stating how rich Missouri could become by moving. In the end, it points up how divided Missouri is on the subject. There is no clear consensus. Does the SEC want that?
Missouri is obviously concerned about the instability of the Big 12. The league is basically guaranteed to stay together for only the next six years. The SEC could be a lifetime decision.
The Big 12's newest head coach already has some advice for Missouri.
"Stay in the Big 12," TCU's Gary Patterson said. "It's a better fit. Same with me as far as [speculation about] taking jobs. I know what my plusses and minuses are here. Everybody thinks it's going to be a better place if they change conferences."
The question has been asked so often -- accusingly -- over the years that it is part of the Longhorn hater's talking points. But the issue has come up again this week as the depth and breadth of Texas' loss to Oklahoma starts to settle in.
Saturday's 38-point win was the largest for Oklahoma in the Red River series since 2003 and the fifth-largest margin in the history of the rivalry. OU had eight sacks for 84 negative yards, 113 yards in tackles for loss. Texas' 259 total yards was three more than OU had in sacks, tackles for loss and fumble/interception returns. Defensive end Frank Alexander had a career day with three sacks, four tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a recovered fumble, a quarterback hurry and six total tackles.
"This was my last one," Alexander said. "I wanted to go out with a bang."
"It's not like we were playing the Little Sisters of the Poor, right?" Bob Stoops said.
That's to be debated. Any encouragement Texas got from starting 4-0 had to be diminished as the Horns go into the Oklahoma State game. One Dallas columnist went back to a season preview magazine to one of those quotes from an anonymous coach sizing up Texas before 2011.
"The guys they are taking are good-character kids, and good for them. But they don’t' get a lot of kids who have overcome a lot of adversity. How tough are they?"
We're about to find out. Mack Brown is 13-0 in games immediately following Oklahoma.
Did the state of Florida just detach from the United States?
Seems that way. It's clear that something is wrong in the Sunshine State. There was no team from the state in the top 25 for the first time since 1982. But there are rational reasons. Miami and Florida have new coaches. Florida State has been on a downturn for a decade.
What's new? Nothing much in the SEC. LSU and Alabama continue to be two of the most dominant teams in the country. Florida just got done playing them back-to-back.
"You can't get any tougher than LSU and Alabama," former Auburn coach Pat Dye said.
Miami was hurt by suspensions. It will be hurt by coming NCAA penalties in the Nevin Shapiro case. Florida State is the biggest surprise, rather disappointment. After the hype leading up to the Oklahoma game, the Seminoles have been one of the biggest underachievers of the season.
It will get fixed. All three schools won't be down for long. Florida has tremendous injury problems at quarterback. Miami has lost to Maryland, Kansas State and Virginia Tech by a combined 15 points.
KU would owe sitting coach Turner Gill the $6 million left on his contract if it fired him after this season. In one of the biggest potential boat races of the season, Kansas hosts No. 3 Oklahoma Saturday night.
Bob Stoops said he would be willing to hire his younger brother: "Sure, if I got enough money to. He's going to have a lot of opportunities. I know that."
That puts Arizona ahead of UCLA, among others, which has a decision to make on Rick Neuheisel.
Del Conte, in a strange way, reiterated Patterson's ability to develop players.
"We overanalyze five-star recruits. The greatest player when I was growing up in Taos, N.M. was a giant," Del Conte said. "but he was 5-7 in eighth grade. I was the only guy [back then] who took my shower with my underwear on. It was like, 'Whoa guys, I'm not ready for that.' "
My Heisman top five this week:
1, Tyrann Mathieu, LSU -- Best in this category since Charles Woodson?
2, Andrew Luck, Stanford -- Plays like Peyton Manning. Now, in the NFL.
3, Trent Richardson, Alabama -- Never thought he'd be a workhorse like this.
4, Russell Wilson, Wisconsin -- Look for Russellmania to explode this week against Indiana.
Posted on: October 5, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 10:22 am
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Welcome to the Big Doughnut Hole.
The annual Big 12 basketball tournament is a gathering place to drink, gossip and people watch. The Missouri-Kansas football game at Arrowhead is an event that traces its roots back to the Civil War. Kansas, and all its basketball history, is 40 miles away. Bill Snyder is still working miracles down the road at Kansas State.
But with Missouri declaring its intentions to look around on Monday night, suddenly there is no center here. Just a big hole where that gathering place used to be. You can feel it. To the right of us, probably soon, will be the SEC (Missouri); a short three-hour drive to the north of us is the Big Ten (Nebraska). To our left will be what's left of the Big 12 (Kansas and Kansas State).
Kansas City could become a great staging area for GameDay's equipment semis in the Midwest, but for the actual college experience, it's slipping away. The Big 12 tournament is now in danger. It will continue, somewhere. But it has to be hard to anchor a conference tournament in a state where the league has no teams.
The Kansas-Missouri rivalry is now in danger too. That's another shame. After the Iron Bowl and the Red River Rivalry, it is the best.
A few years ago, they moved MU-KU football to Arrowhead Stadium and it became a spectacle. In 2007, No. 2 Kansas lost to No. 3 Missouri and the Tigers became No. 1. ABC/ESPN still counts the game among its most highly-rated in history.
Kansas' basketball coach told the Lawrence Journal-World that the MU-KU series may be over.
" ... I don't think I would be interested in having a once-a-year game like I did when I was at Illinois, playing Missouri," Self said. "I could probably change my mind (but) trust me, we would have no trouble finding a non-league game to play.
"I love the rivalry .. but I can't imagine why would we continue playing?"
Which is sad because the basketball series goes back to 1907. The football series goes back to the 1890s. Kansas, like a lot of folks in Kansas City and the Big 12, are upset at Missouri. By taking its ball to the SEC, it would be impacting that Big 12 tournament. It would damage the Kansas rivalry.
Point being: Why put money in Missouri's pocket by playing a non-conference game?
"I have no ill will toward Missouri at all," Self said, "but to do something at a time that could be so damaging and hurtful to a group, I can't see us just taking it and forgetting ."
If this is truly the end , then someone may want to hire extra security for what could be the final regular-season Border War game in history -- Feb. 25 in Lawrence. Forget the fans for a moment, there are scores of sportswriters who would shed tears over the end of this epic rivalry.
We are losing that sense of self here in Cowtown. Clearly, Missouri administrators don't care. The SEC doesn't care. The networks will continue to televise games. They don't care.
Conference realignment goes on unabated. Traditional rivalries are being cut down like rainforests. Our natural habitat is being destroyed. Is this a good thing for college athletics? No, that's not really the point.
Interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas called modern conferences "scheduling opportunities" and "amalgamations". I called them "content farms."
Now it's hitting home. It would suck to be a doughnut hole.
Posted on: October 5, 2011 9:50 am
Edited on: October 5, 2011 10:26 am
The Big 12 is determining whether Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton is still a member of the conference's expansion committee despite now being the point man for the school's conference exploration.
Deaton stepped down as chairman of the Big 12 board of directors Monday during an announcement that the school's board of curators had given him permission to explore "all actions necessary to fully explore options for conference affiliation ". Deaton made a point to say he had relinquished his chairman position to remove the appearance of a conflict.
Posted on: October 4, 2011 8:12 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 9:02 pm
Since it started it, maybe Missouri figures it can finish it.
Or as finished as conference realignment can ever be.
Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton got permission Tuesday night from the school's board of curators to seek new conference membership. Nothing surprising there. In case you haven't been following, this would the first move toward Missouri becoming the SEC's 14th team. One problem. No one is sure if the SEC even wants a 14th team at the moment, much less Missouri being that school.
The hand-wringing, then, will continue from BYU to the Big East. Missouri's decision controls the fate of several teams and conferences, including their current one, the Big 12. The fractured league cannot move on with expansion, or even a future, without knowing if Missouri is going to be a participant.
And all indications are Missouri is going to take its good, old time. That was evident when Missouri AD Mike Alden met with the curators for four hours on Tuesday. Perhaps Missouri was contemplating the fact it kicked off this latest round of realignment. Reacting to Dec. 9, 2009 statement that the Big Ten was considering expansion, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon quickly added:
"I want to look at what options the Big Ten may have to offer. This is not something that should be kept on the sports page and treated with the back of the hand. We have an obligation to make our schools as excellent as they can be."
Big 12 nervousness followed. In the next month, Nebraska began talking with the Big Ten. In June, issues came to a head at the 2010 Big 12 spring meetings. Shortly thereafter, Nebraska left for the Big Ten. Colorado went to the Pac-10.
"The [Missouri] governor's remarks got me going. We had to do something, and fast," CU AD Mike Bohn said at the time.
Turns out Missouri wasn't near the top of the Big Ten's list. Now things have come full circle. Everyone can blame Texas for throwing its weight around, but how is Missouri different at this point? It suddenly has leverage. It is holding a league hostage. It is making a perceived money grab.
It could be the fourth school to leave the Big 12 in 16 months -- and it doesn't care. Expect the next few weeks -- if not months -- to be a period of introspection for Brad Pitt's school. Missouri has to decide if it wants to leave its ancestral home. The Big 12 has roots that go back 104 years for Missouri.
It has to decide if it wants to change its culture from a Midwestern school to one with its base in the heart of Dixie. Does it want to be Bubba or Brad? Does it want to be at the center the Big 12 or a western outpost in the SEC?
There is no right answer. The difference in revenue is negligible. Missouri could stay in the Big 12 and be secure at least the next six years. But the SEC would provide long-lasting security. Missouri football is an above middle-of-the-road program in the Big 12. It would be a middle-of-the-road program in the SEC.
But this isn't about football. This is about emotion, which can be a dangerous thing. That's why Deaton merely has permission at this point. The last two presidents to get similar permission from their boards of regents, came to different conclusions. Texas A&M went to the SEC. Oklahoma, eventually, stayed in the Big 12.
Posted on: October 3, 2011 12:02 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2011 1:33 pm
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.
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.
Posted on: September 30, 2011 12:40 am
Edited on: September 30, 2011 12:53 am
The Big 12 should not expand in order to maximize its earning power, a source intimately involved in the conference's TV negotiations told CBSSports.com on Thursday.
"If it were me I'd try to stay where I am," said the source. "Nine months ago they had the same money for 10 teams. Is anything going to change if they have nine?"
Texas A&M's formal departure to the SEC this week reduced the Big 12 to nine teams. Missouri is still contemplating whether also to pursue membership in the SEC. With nine teams, the source said, not only would the conference get an expected windfall for its primary rights fees following the 2015 season, it would provide nine more non-conference games as inventory.
"That's more attractive to the networks than BYU-Iowa State," said source who did not want to be identified because of his relationship with the league.
BYU is widely speculated to be joining the Big 12 should it expand. A nine-team league would allow the Big 12 to keep playing a round-robin conference schedule (eight games) while scheduling four non-conference games. The league currently plays a nine-game conference schedule with three non-conference games.
Both Fox and ESPN committed to saving the league in 2010 after the Pac-12 almost raided the Big 12 of half of its team. The 10 remaining schools were guaranteed approximately $20 million each when the conference's primary rights deal with ESPN expired after the 2015-16 academic year.
Fox began to fulfill that promise when the league agreed to a $1.13 billion deal for 13 years for its secondary rights earlier this year. The source said neither Fox nor ESPN were going pay less than promised in 2010 for the Big 12 at nine teams, or perhaps even eight teams. It's not clear if Fox or ESPN have a cancellation clause of their contracts if league membership falls below a certain number.
Staying at nine, said the source, would make it easier for conference schools to get to that $20 million per-team plateau. For example, with nine teams the new Fox deal alone is worth $9.6 million per team. In the latest round of conference realignment schools either are a "brand" or have markets. While more teams would bring more inventory (games) to bid on, the question is: Would each new school bring $20 million to the table individually?
The Big 12 has a long way to go before answering that question. It hasn't been determined whether the schools have committed their primary media rights to the conference for six years. That would essentially hold the conference together but no one is quite sure where that issue stands. Oklahoma president David Boren said a week all the remaining schools had agreed. Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton merely said the issue was being discussed.
The Missouri board of curators will reportedly meet on Tuesday. The board could merely empower Deaton to seek another conference although there is no indication which way the school is leaning.
Big 12 expansion speculation is all over the map -- from staying at nine to going to 16 teams.
Posted on: September 27, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 6:31 pm
What now Missouri?
While the school remains conflicted about its place in the Big 12, SEC commissioner Mike Slive pretty much decided Missouri's short-term ambitions when he announced that his league likely will play with 13 teams until at least 2013.
"There are not any other institutions currently under consideration by SEC presidents and chancellors except Texas A&M," Slive repeated again on Tuesday.
As for "informal offers" to Missouri reported by two outlets, it probably comes down to semantics. Define informal. Were these bids made by SEC fans wearing jorts or the commissioner himself? Probably somewhere in between, but certainly not to the level of official consideration by the SEC.
Have there been back-channel communications between the SEC and Missouri? Almost certainly. But legally the SEC can't even hint at an interest in a 14th team. Look what happened to Texas A&M on Sept. 6. It wasn't until the Pac-12 turned down Oklahoma and Texas last week that A&M president R. Bowen Loftin felt comfortable enough to move to the SEC. In other words, when Baylor knew the Big 12 was going to survive there was no need to threaten legal action.
"[At that point], there's really no basis for litigation," Loftin said.
The Show-Me State is in a state of limbo. For the second consecutive year, it has hiked its skirt and flirted a new conference. For the second consecutive year, it could be embarrassed. While that situation could change in 15 minutes, Missouri is in much the same situation it was in June 2010 -- hoping for, but conflicted about taking a lifeline out of the Big 12.
Read between the lines. What's the rush for the SEC? It can play with 13 teams for a couple of years. Who knows if some better school shakes loose? The Big 12 is a daily soap opera. Who knows who is going to be upset tomorrow?
Slive did admit that he has spoken to Loftin about making A&M's first SEC game possibly a stand-alone affair on a special day or at a special time. Think of perhaps Labor Day night Texas A&M vs, maybe, Alabama in a celebration of Bear Bryant? Just speculating.
"There are several issues important enough to have serious discussion," Slive of the BCS going forward. "That would be one of them."
Will Lyles could be the most significant figure of the 2011 season.
The notorious mentor/talent scout/rat now holds the fate of several teams. Lyles told Yahoo! Sports that former Tennessee assistant Willie Mack Garza sent paid for the airfare of Lache Seastrunk for unofficial visit.
Several things wrong with that: A school can't pay for unofficial visits. That's why they're unofficial. Garza resigned at USC within a couple of days of Lyles speaking to the NCAA on Aug. 30 in Los Angeles. Oh, and Tennessee just got hit with NCAA penalties, among them "failure to monitor."
The football program got off relatively unharmed when the NCAA penalized Tennessee in August. The NCAA might not be so forgiving if major infractions are found so close together.
The question is, who's next? There's been a buzz since that NCAA sit-down that Lyles has dropped a dime on several schools. In the short term, LSU and Oregon should be concerned. Perhaps Cal as well.
The foundation of this story is an NCAA determined to stamp out third-party influence in college football. Lyles, it seems, has turned state's evidence. All Ohio State did was get to a BCS bowl while its coach intentionally allowed ineligible players to participate. Oregon reportedly asked Lyles to assemble a national recruiting package on fly.
What's worse? I'd be way more worried at Tennessee, LSU, Cal and Oregon.
There has been this rumbling that Texas A&M is making a horrible mistake going to the SEC.
That it is going to be overwhelmed by ES-EE-SEE footbawl. That is has no idea what it is getting into.
A&M is as committed a football school as there is. I toured the A&M facilities Saturday before the Oklahoma State game and came away impressed. The school's total athletic infrastructure may be better than anything in the SEC. There are fans, I'm told, who park their RVs near the football stadium before the season and don't leave until the last pitch is made in baseball in the spring. That's loyalty.
A&M's one football conference title since the beginnng of 1998, is exactly two less than Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Georgia combined in that same time span.
There is no question the Aggies can compete in, and win, the SEC. Here is how I would rate a 13-team SEC in current strength of football program. I'm talking everything, on the field, facilities, recruiting, fans, fund-raising.
The threat of lightning can postpone a game but when lightning actually strikes, the score stands.
Lightning struck Saturday when Big East officials totally botched that extra point in the Toledo-Syracuse game. The clearly errant Syracuse extra point was ruled good, probably costing Toledo a victory.
Toledo and MAC officials protested but NCAA rules are clear: Once a game is over, it's over. That didn't come into effect a couple of weeks ago in that Utah-USC game.
Here's a solution in such games when officials clearly cost a deserving team a chance at victory (Also see The Fifth Down Game):
Declare the result vacated. In other words, the stats count by Syracuse and Toledo don't get credit for a win or a loss. Just vacations, same as at Florida State, Alabama and USC for NCAA transgressions, the games simply don't count.
If one or both teams finish 5-6, they would both automatically be bowl eligible (at 6-6). It seems to be the fair thing to do. The screwed team doesn't get a loss and the team that benefits doesn't get a win. Just a thought.
Extending my screed against boards of regents/curators, we give you these brief bios of the Missouri board of curators. These may be the seven people who will decide whether Missouri goes to the SEC.
Warren Erdman -- appointed in 2007 by then governor Matt Blunt. Erdman is executive vice president of administration and corporate affairs for Kansas City Southern. The transportation holding company has investments in the United States, Mexico and Panama.
David Bradley -- was appointed in 2009 by current governor Jay Nixon. Bradley is president of the News-Press & Gazette in St. Joseph.
Don Downing -- appointed in 2009 by Nixon. Attorney who is a former managing general partner of Stinson, Morrison, Hecker in St. Louis and is Missouri's former chief deputy attorney general.
Wayne Goode -- appointed in 2009 by Nixon. A retired former Missouri senator and state representative.
Donald Cupps -- appointed this year by Nixon. Senior partner at Ellis, Cupps and Cole.
Judith Haggard -- appointed in 2007 by Blunt. A family nurse practitioner and drug abuse counselor.
David Steward -- appointed this year by Nixon. Deep breath here, kids. Steward is chairman and founder of World Wide Technology of St. Louis, a leading systems integrator that provides technology products, services and supply chain solutions to customers around the globe.