Posted on: September 25, 2011 8:55 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 7:58 pm
So, would New Mexico consider Mike Leach?
The answer seems to be a resounding yes. Within minutes of releasing the statement that announced the firing of Mike Locksley, New Mexico AD Paul Krebs texted his qualifications for the new coach.
Head coaching experience is strongly preferred. Ability to recruit in Texas is a virtual must. Also, ties to the Albuquerque area will be considered.
Leach qualifies for all three. He spent a decade at Texas Tech recruiting Texas. Lubbock qualifies as having area ties. It is 320 miles from Albuquerque.
Don't sleep on this situation. New Mexico's interested. Is Leach?
--A quarter of the way through the regular season these are surprising undefeated teams:
Baylor: Robert Griffin III has more touchdown passes, 13, than incompletions, 12.
"A young man like Robert Griffin, it's like you're playing with 13 people," said Rice coach David Bailiff after Saturday' 56-31 loss to the Bears.
Houston: In his sixth year of eligibility, Case Keenum is now the third-leading passer of all time
Illinois: The Illini are 4-0 for the first time since 1951, the year they won a national championship in something called the Boand System.
Clemson: Give Dabo Swinney a microphone, he'll scream into it. Tigers have early advantage in the ACC Atlantic after beating Florida State.
Georgia Tech: Another Paul Johnson classic. A route of Kansas, followed by a late win over North Carolina. Can we just go ahead and call that offense the hardest to play against in the country?
South Florida: While the Big East agonizes over membership in the future, the Bulls are the league's only undefeated team right now.
Florida: Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are finally becoming a fearsome <>combination<> under Charlie Weis.
Kansas State: Bill Snyder still has some magic left. The same Wildcats who almost to Eastern Kentucky at home, stopped Miami at the 1 to go 3-0 for the 16th time in Snyder's 20 seasons.
--That "Big 12, Big 12" chant by Oklahoma State fans Saturday at Texas A&M. It was as much a taunt as pride. Okie State probably didn't know that one A&M fan was waving a giant SEC flag at Friday's midnight yell practice ...
--Don't know what this means: The top six rushers in the country are from six different conferences ... The top two rushers in the Big Ten are quarterbacks: Denard Robinson (168.67 yards per game), Nebraska's Taylor Martinez (105.25) ... Anyone notice conference play is beginning? ...
Blowing by you on the bayou: This just in at LSU. The Tigers are incredibly fast ... Also, Oklahoma State is incredibly resilient: "What this comes down to is I thought our team was in better physical condition by a long shot," said coach Mike Gundy. Game time temperature was 91 degrees accompanied by bright sunshine. Pokes gave guts and character. Can't wait until the Bedlam game Dec. 3 in Stillwater ... Oklahoma hadn't trailed in 20 consecutive home games until falling behind Missouri 14-3 in the first quarter ... Clemson has gained at least 455 yards in all four games. Quarterback Tajh Boyd has consecutive 300-yard passing games ... The Big Ten went 8-2 on Saturday but the two losses were embarrassing. North Dakota State beat Minnesota for the second straight season. North Texas got by Indiana ... West Virginia gave up its most points in six years in LSU's 47-21 rout ...
Who says you can't win committing seven turnovers? East Carolina did it, beating Alabama-Birmingham 28-23 ... Southern Miss has beaten Virginia in consecutive meetings ... SMU and South Carolina have the best conference records in FBS, 2-0 ... Toledo had a 22-play drive against Syracuse and settled for a field goal. Sure, it got screwed on that extra point that Big East on-field and replay officials ruled good (it wasn't.). But the Rockets would have done themselves some good by punching it in the first quarter.
--This week's Heisman ballot: 1. Robert Griffin III, Baylor; 2, Marcus Lattimore; South Carolina; 3, Kellen Moore, Boise State; 4. Denard Robinson, Michigan; 5. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State.
If Steve Spurrier ever gets a big head -- how could that happen? -- all he has to do is watch this 45-year old tape from the Ed Sullivan Show. Ed obviously didn't know who Spurrier was or his school. Miami?
Tags: Alabama-Birmingham, Baylor, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Clemson, East Carolina, Florida, Georgia Tech, Houston, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas State, LSU, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota State, North Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, South Carolina, South Florida, Southern Miss, Steve Spurrier, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Toledo
Posted on: September 24, 2011 2:36 pm
The issue of equal revenue sharing in the Big 12 was shot down by three schools earlier this year, two sources told CBSSports.com . Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M were against granting first- and second-tier media rights according to the sources.
It's not clear how much has changed since then when former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe was pushing the concept during spring meetings.
Texas A&M is now in the process of leaving the league for the SEC. During a conference call , Oklahoma president David Boren said Thursday that the league had agreed to grant those main media rights to the conference for a period of six years.
"These are very strong handcuffs," Boren said of the "agreement". "When you grant your rights it's very unlikely you would receive an invitation to another conference."
At the same time on Thursday, Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton, chair of the Big 12 CEOs, said only that the issue was being discussed.
That leaves the Big 12 in a familiar place -- with uncertainty. Granting those rights to the league would essentially keep the Big 12 together for at least that period. In other words, if Texas left the league after such an agreement, the Big 12 would keep the Longhorns' primary TV rights.
Texas AD DeLoss Dodds told reporters on Wednesday that league athletic directors had decided unanimously in the spring to share main media rights. But the final decision remains with league presidents.
The discussion does not include revenue from the Longhorn Network. Dodds said previously that sharing revenue from LHN is non-negotiable. Essentially, disputes over revenue sharing almost caused the conference to break up for the second consecutive year.
Equal main media rights revenue sharing is considered significant to the long-term survival of the Big 12. Two outlets have reported that Missouri has informal offers to join the SEC. Meanwhile, Texas might be running out of leverage if it is against equal revenue sharing. Earlier in the week, the Pac-12 presidents stated their league wasn't going to expand.
The Big 12 would remain a viable conference if Missouri left, according to interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.
Also, Texas A&M officials are confident that the legal impediment keeping it from joining the SEC will soon be cleared up. At least four Big 12 schools -- Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Baylor -- have reserved their right to be able to sue the SEC. Now that the Big 12 apparently has been saved, A&M officials believe that legal issue will be resolved shortly.
"I think the Aggies are probably going to go and I think Missouri is going to stay," Neinas said.
Posted on: September 22, 2011 4:24 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 12:01 pm
Indications are that Missouri will stay in the Big 12, a source within the league said Thursday.
Two newspapers reported this week that Missouri seemed to be the favorite to become the SEC's 14th team. The Kansas City Star reported Missouri had an offer on the table from the SEC. The Birmingham News reported that Missouri had "informally agreed" to join the SEC.
Deaton is the current chair of the Big 12 CEOs who one Big 12 source called "an extremely honorable man". Given several chances to commit to the reconstituted Big 12, though, Deaton and other Missouri officials did not commit fully to the league at a Thursday evening press conference. Despite speculation that Deaton would step down as chairman -- a sign of Missouri's interest in the SEC -- he remains in that position as the conference seeks new members.
The Big 12 began to solifidy again this week when the Pac-12 announced late Tuesday it would not expand after widespread speculation -- some of it created by the participating schools -- that at least Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were headed west. The source said Thursday that at "all levels" -- board of curators, athletic director, etc. -- indications are that Missouri will stay in the conference that has been its ancestoral home going back to 1907. That was the year Missouri joined its first conference in the Missouri Valley along with Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Washington University.
That league eventually became the Big Six in 1929, Big Seven in 1948, Big Eight in 1960 and Big 12 in 1996.
All of this comes with a huge disclaimer: Nothing seems to be final in conference realignment. For Missouri, joining the SEC would mean an end to some of those long-term relationships. Committing to the Big 12 would allow the league to go forward with nine teams as it seeks more schools to expand to 10 or 12 teams.
If Missouri eventually pledges allegiance then the league could move forward on Baylor and other conference schools releasing their rights of claims against Texas A&M.
It is thought that until Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State release those claims against the SEC, that A&M cannot join its new league. CBSSports.com already has reported that Chuck Neinas is expected to be named interim commissioner to replace Dan Beebe.
Posted on: September 20, 2011 4:12 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2011 12:13 am
All you had to do was put together the puzzle pieces on Missouri.
Earlier Tuesday, we reported that West Virginia was out as far as joining the SEC or ACC. Logically, that held that Missouri was likely to be the SEC's 14th school. That looked to be the case after the Kansas City Star reported that Missouri had "an offer on the table" to join the nation's strongest conference.
Except that the SEC immediately shot down the report: "The SEC has not extended an invitation to any school beyond Texas A&M since it extended invitations to Arkansas and South Carolina."
That would be two decades ago.
All this develops while the Big East and Big 12 attempt to reconstitute themselves into a combined league going forward. A source said Tuesday representatives from both leagues would like to meet in a central location but that there was nothing imminent through Wednesday. There's a long way to go -- the SEC likely wouldn't entertain an application until the Big 12 collapse. However, such a move by Missouri's would clear up conference realignment just a bit.
"I think there's something to that," said an administrator not from the Big 12 but whose school would benefit if Missouri left for the SEC.
Because the SEC is so sensitive to the landscape right now, don't be surprised either that the report could actually wreck a Missouri move to the SEC. It is known that SEC commissioner Mike Slive doesn't want to move on an existing conference member -- especially from the Big 12 -- until things are resolved legally.
Don't forget that Baylor could threaten legal action against Missouri if the school was accepted to the SEC. A Big 12 source said that for legal purposes, the Big 12 is still considered a conference as long as it has five members. The NCAA requires minimum membership of six for a conference to exist.
For those of you just jumping into the subject matter, think of Missouri as the best player left on the draft board. With Nebraska, Oklahoma, Syracuse and Pittsburgh spoken for in the past two years, Missouri suddenly looks very attractive. It has two top 30 markets in Kansas City and St. Louis and is contiguous to three SEC states (Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee). It touches two Big Ten states (Iowa, Illinois).
Missouri's fans and some of its administrators were a bit too convinced last year that Missouri was going to the Big Ten. It turns out the school wasn't near the top of the list when Nebraska was invited.
Tuesday's developments obviously don't necessarily place Missouri in the SEC. The Big 12 could survive. The SEC may be looking elsewhere. With Oklahoma and Oklahoma State seemingly out the door to the Pac-12, we won't know for sure on the national landscape until Texas declares its intentions.
For a few minutes there on Tuesday afternoon, Dan Beebe was trending on Twitter over Two and a Half Men. Or that's what I was told.
I'm not really sure. The social Twitterverse exploded Tuesday with the news that Pac-12 bound Oklahoma was demanding that Beebe, the Big 12's embattled commissioner, be replaced. OU wanted that as a condition of staying in the Big 12. Interesting that on Monday, OU president David Boren was basically tap-dancing on the Big 12's grave after getting permission from regents to head to the Pac-12.
What changed and why did Beebe become a pawn in this discussion? Most likely because OU doesn't have the votes from Pac-12 presidents to actually join the league. There was a report Tuesday that Pac-12 presidents are prepared to vote by the end of the week but there is no consensus. In other words, exactly what we've been hearing for weeks.
Oklahoma and Texas may want to go to the Pac-12, but the Pac-12 has been more than hesitating. Cal and Stanford don't want to include the academically unwashed Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. The Pac-12 is going to make a killing with a dozen teams, why invite the OU/UT drama into the mix? Big, happy families are hard to find these days in college athletics.
In essence, two iconic college sports names -- Oklahoma and Texas -- may have just quibbled and bitched their way out of an invite to what promises to be the richest conference in the country. Can you imagine, then, the Big 12 staying together? It may be forced to kiss and make up. The infighting, jealousies and bickering is going to make the Great Plains version of Jersey Shore.
It's not the man (Beebe), it's the culture. Texas and Oklahoma were among those who voted Beebe a raise and extension in June. What's changed? Certainly not Longhorn and Sooner egos.
Let's sum up Tuesday: An ultimatum to Dan Beebe by a school headed for the Pac-12 trumps an offer to Missouri that the SEC says didn't happen.
Everybody caught up?
Officials had every right and duty to delay Saturday’s Oklahoma State-Tulsa start. There were concerns about lightning and, no doubt, liability. But did Oklahoma State and Tulsa take it too far in forcing the players to perform in a game that ended at 3:35 Sunday morning?
Tulsa has game-cancellation insurance for such occurrences so the school would have been reimbursed had the game been cancelled. There is no corresponding open date for the schools when the game could have been made up. But would it have been possible to play the game on Sunday?
Tulsa AD Bubba Cunningham told CBSSports.com that the decision to play the game so late was made jointly by himself and Oklahoma State AD Mike Holder after consulting with game officials and both coaches.
"We were about seven minutes away from cancelling the game," said Cunningham of the contest that kicked off at 12:15 am CT. "We talked about student-athlete welfare as we made the decision. That’s why we had midnight as the tipping point."
The game was allowed to start after midnight because both coaches needed time for their teams to warm up after weather conditions improved. Cunningham said he would think twice about agreeing to start a game that late again. The original starting time was 9 pm CT at the request of Fox regional.
The game started so late that it came close to apparently violating NCAA rules.
Cowboys coach Mike Gundy added that had the game started at 7 pm CT, the rain and weather delays would have likely hit in the third quarter of the game instead of before it.
"I just don't think it's best for the student-athlete," said Gundy whose team plays a top-10 matchup this week at Texas A&M. "I wasn’t excited about our players being out there at 2 and 3 in the morning for a football game. I was concerned about their health. I don’t know how players compete at 2 or 3 in the morning. You don’t want a young man to get an injury and not be able to play the rest of the year."
There was, in fact, a significant injury. Tulsa's G.J. Kinne suffered a reported tear of the MCL in his left knee. The Tulsa World stated that the typical recovery time is two to four weeks.
Cunningham said game cancellation insurance had been purchased by Conference USA after Hurricane Katrina had impacted members Southern Miss and Tulane. Weather delays have become one of the overriding topics of the early season. Baylor and Texas Tech had games delayed last week. The Western Michigan-Michigan game was postponed to the game that the statistics didn't count in the NCAA rankings because the game didn't go the minimum three quarters.
The Cowboys-Golden Hurricane game started so late that Oklahoma State assistant Glenn Spencer had to leave during it. His wife Angela died during the first quarter of game won by Oklahoma State 59-33. She had been dealing with the effects of a heart transplant.
"It affected me. I have a lot of respect for their family and what they’ve gone through," Gundy said. "I wasn’t in the best of moods or as focused as I should have been.
Gundy added: "I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault. But at some point do we really want to start a game at 9 o'clock? ... Our APRs are going up, our required numbers of hours to be passed by semester is going up, everything is moving toward education, then we’re going to start our game at 9 o'clock? Whoever is making those decisions needs to think things through before we’re put in those situations."
Tulsa goes to Boise State for a game that starts at a more reasonable time, 7 pm CT.
Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium (capacity: 29,181) is the smallest Nebraska has played in since 1971 ... Vanderbilt's James Franklin became the first Commodore coach to win his first three games at the school since World War II ... It's been three years since the Big 12 has seen a conference game between two top 10 teams aside from the Red River Shootout (Oklahoma-Texas). No. 7 Oklahoma State travels to No. 8 Texas A&M on Saturday ... Boise State has had only three drives (out of 27) that ended in negative yards this season. Two of those came in victory formation while taking a knee ... Two of the top three rushers meet this week at Michigan Stadium. San Diego State tailback Ronnie Hillman is No. 2. Michigan's celebrated quarterback Denard Robinson is No. 3 ... South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore is on pace to rush for 2,492 yards. That would put him 136 yards short Barry Sanders' single-season record ... Florida Atlantic leads all non-BCS schools with only one turnover this season. That ties the Owls with eight other BCS schools. FAU is also the only team not to score a touchdown yet in FBS ... Since the beginning of the 2006 season Vanderbilt has intercepted 81 passes, 10 in three games this season ... USC's Robert Woods has caught more passes (33) this season than seven teams have completed.
Before posting this week's Heisman top five let me explain that I love Andrew Luck. I adore Andrew Luck. I would want Andrew Luck to marry my daughter. But I cannot in good faith put him in my top five. Tell me which one of these you would remove -- based on the season to date -- in place of Luck. Did I mention I love Andrew Luck?
1. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina; 2. Kellen Moore, Boise State; 3. Robert Griffin III, Baylor; 4. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin; 5. Denard Robinson, Michigan.
Posted on: September 13, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 6:21 pm
NORMAN, Okla. -- If nothing else, Bob Stoops is laying the groundwork this week, just in case, you know, Oklahoma doesn't win.
He's not saying that overtly, but playing No. 5 Florida State this early has its benefits even if No. 1 Oklahoma doesn't win.
"If all things are equal and you play a tougher schedule than somebody than you, you would get the nod. If not, why play them?" Stoops said at his weekly presser.
Take that "nod" any way you want -- Jan. 1 bowl, BCS bowl, BCS championship. The man is a big believer in scheduling. Take 2008 when Oklahoma won a controversial Big 12 tiebreaker against Texas in the South Division. Even though Texas had beaten OU that year, Oklahoma won the tiebreaker based on highest BCS ranking. OU nosed out Texas by .0128 of a point for the right to play Missouri in the Big 12 title game.
Oklahoma beat the Tigers and advanced to the BCS title game where it lost to Florida.
That year the BCS computers deemed that OU had the tougher schedule, one that included Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Washington and TCU. Meanwhile, Texas played Florida Atlantic, Texas-El Paso, Rice and Arkansas. The difference was a sliver of a point, all that Oklahoma needed.
Never has a rivalry been so bitter as when Texas lost a possible BCS title shot by calculations of computers.
"If you're willing to go to Florida State, Alabama, there should be some reward in that," Stoops said of the non-conference schedules he has assembled in his 13 seasons here. "The other reward is our fans love it, college football loves it, it puts us in the national picture."
So, yeah, scheduling counts at OU. In 2003, Oklahoma lost the Big 12 title game to Kansas State by four touchdowns but remained in the BCS top two, able to play LSU for the national championship. The BCS formula has since been adjusted but it didn't hurt that Oklahoma played Alabama and UCLA that year.
That's part of the reason why Stoops intentionally schedules these big games. Saturday's contest at Doak Campbell Stadium is arguably the biggest non-conference game of the Stoops era. While he has never beaten a ranked non-con opponent in a true road game, the sample size isn't that big. There was the controversial Oregon "loss" in 2006 and Miami in 2009.
Future OU series include Notre Dame (2012-13), Tennessee (2014-15), Ohio State (2016-17) and LSU in (2018-19). Saturday ends a home-and-home with FSU that began with a 47-17 thumping of the Noles in Norman last year.
There is talk of revenge by FSU, but in his heart of hearts Stoops has to know that OU could lose in Week 3 and still rebound to have a title shot.
"Look at through the years: we’ve had Alabama, we’ve had Oregon, we've had UCLA, Miami, Florida State. They're all great programs," Stoops said. "When you schedule them, you know that. You expect them to be a top-five, 10 team."
When he was at Florida as defensive coordinator, Stoops remembers looking up at the TV after a practice and seeing Oklahoma suffer an early season loss.
"Most of the [Florida] coaches there were kind of from the Southeast," he said. "I had roots with seven years in the Big 12 [at Kansas State]. I said, 'That's a shame.' I grew up in Ohio following Oklahoma in Coach Switzer's years. I remember pointing at the TV saying, 'That's a sleeping giant. They should not be getting beat or having the years they're having.' "
It started with that lone championship in 2000, a magic season that ended with a 13-2 win over the Seminoles in the Orange Bowl.
"Once that happened in 2000 the mood changed," Stoops said. "It just shot us back to one of the more elite teams -- a team legitimately that year in, year out has a chance to contend for your conference championship and has a chance to contend for national championships.
"When we walked in here there wasn't a real confident group anyway. That [Florida State game] was the key. It immediately shoots you right back like a big ball in sling shot. It immediately puts you right back in the game."
That year Stoops became known as Big Game Bob. A run now referred to as "Red October" included wins against No. 7 Texas, No. 2 Kansas State and No. 1 Nebraska in consecutive games. After that, there came a run of BCS bowl defeats over the years. Even as Stoops continued to pile up Big 12 titles, Big Game Bob became a term of derision. It's a problem a lot of coaches would like to have.
Under Stoops, Oklahoma has spent the most weeks ranked No. 1 in the BCS (20) and, this week, became the first program to spend 100 weeks at No. 1 in the AP poll.
"You ever hear me call myself that?" Big Game Bob asked.
No, but the label is waiting to be applied again after Saturday.
Posted on: September 12, 2011 9:14 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 11:38 pm
NORMAN, Okla. -- Texas officials met here with Oklahoma administrators on Sunday, a source confirmed for CBSSports.com
A reasonable person could assume that the meeting had something to do with the schools moving together from the Big 12 to the Pac-12. The Associated Press reported that Texas president William Powers, AD DeLoss Dodds and women's AD Chris Plonsky met with Oklahoma officials. Texas spokesman Nick Voinis confirmed for CBSSports.com that the meeting took place but would not elaborate.
A spokesman for Oklahoma president David Boren did not return a call for comment. Other OU officials were mum as well.
This is a critical time not only for Texas, Oklahoma and the Big 12 but for all of college athletics. Oklahoma's decision on whether to go to the Pac-12 could usher in the age of super conferences. The general feeling on campus here is that it is a done deal, Oklahoma going west. But there is the still issue of the Pac-12's public stance and legal wrangling involving Texas A&M to the SEC.
The speculation is that Texas A&M will eventually get through the current legal hurdles and join the SEC as the 13th team. That would clear the way for Oklahoma to move to the Pac-12 citing the instability of the Big 12. The question is, would Texas follow?
SEC commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement Monday that the conference remains "optimistic" that A&M will join his league. He added that the league is looking at schedules in 2012-13 involving a 13-team membership. He said, "We don't have immediate plans for a 14th member."
That could be decided quickly if the Big 12 breaks apart. The SEC couldn't be accused of poaching if it took, say, Missouri after the Big 12 unraveled. Boren said previously that his school would not be "a wallflower" when it comes to conference realignment and that Oklahoma's future affiliation could be decided within a couple of weeks. Orangebloods.com reported Monday that the OU board of regents have given unanimous approval to join the Pac-12.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott reiterated Saturday that the league isn't looking to expand but, "If schools are going to leave the Big 12 and there's going to be a paradigm shift, or a landscape change as people like to describe it, we'll go ahead and step back and look at our options, then reconsider."
If Oklahoma leaves then Texas would have to make a significant decision -- join OU and try to make its Longhorn Network fit in the Pac-12, go independent or try to make a go of it in a diminished Big 12.
Whatever the case, the look of college athletics seemingly is about to change dramatically.
Posted on: September 7, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 9:16 pm
Congratulations Big 12, now you're all to blame. It's not just Texas A&M or Baylor or Oklahoma or Texas or Dan Beebe. It's all of you looking like fools.
The infighting that broke out Wednesday is embarrassing. If Texas A&M wants to go to the SEC, let it go. This looks like a cat fight on "Housewives of Beverly Hills," except the participants wear bow ties and carry law degrees and conduct endless conference calls. It's half tortuous, half torture.
A&M president R. Bowen Loftin is accusing Beebe, the Big 12 commissioner, and member schools of slowing the Aggies' migration to the SEC. A portion of the remaining nine Big 12 schools are with Baylor in reserving the right to have legal claims against the SEC. Twenty years from now fathers will be telling their sons the story of the Big 12. The dads will first pour themselves stiff drink.
These are educated people who should know how to conduct themselves. Instead, they look tawdry, jealous, petty. At the moment, Baylor is rallying a group of conference thugs -- yeah, I said it -- to try to delay A&M's inevitable move to the SEC. At the same time, they're trying to delay things so much that either Oklahoma loses its desire to go to the Pac-12 or the Pac-12 simply shuts the door.
In announcing it had voted Texas A&M in as a 13th member, the SEC said Wednesday in a statement that it had "unanimous written assurance from the Big 12" on Sept. 2 releasing any legal claims against the SEC.
However, Loftin had difficulty getting assurances for what were termed "release of claims," from other Big 12 schools. That was following a Wednesday Big 12 conference call that included what were estimated to be at least seven Big 12 institutions but not all 10.
"At least half, if not the majority are going to reserve their rights for litigation," a source said. "Unless you've got great options that would not be a wise document to sign."
Given recent reports at least five Big 12 schools have those "options" for future conference homes -- Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Missouri. That would leave Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas and Baylor without clear prospects should the conference collapse.
In a Sept. 2 letter to his SEC counterpart Mike Slive, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said his conference would not take any legal action against the SEC if Texas A&M were admitted by Sept. 8.
"We both agreed it is in the best interests of each of our conferences and our members institutions," Beebe wrote, "to ... to waive any and all legal actions by the conference and its members resulting from admission of Texas A&M into the SEC."
Baylor and others disagree.
"The end game is to stabilize the Big 12," the source said. "What most of us are looking for is a stable conference."
None of this means any of the other Big 12 schools will actually sue. Oklahoma has a decision to make in pursuing the Pac-12. OU president David Boren said Friday that process could take up to three weeks. Oklahoma State would likely follow Oklahoma if the Sooners headed west.
Texas then would have to decide between 1) following Oklahoma to the Pac-12; 2) staying in a diminished Big 12; 3) going independent and 4) going to an expanded ACC. Even though ACC commissioner John Swofford shot down the idea of Texas coming to his conference on Monday, there are those who think that idea may be alive. In choices 1-3, the continued viability of the LHN is in question. Option No. 4 would theoretically would allow Texas to bring the Longhorn Network with it.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Saturday that the conference remains "wedded" to it equal revenue distribution model.
Posted on: July 31, 2011 6:53 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 7:49 am
Texas A&M is urging the NCAA to use a 17-year-old rules interpretation that it believes would keep the Longhorn Network from airing high school games.
CBSSports.com obtained documents that show A&M wants TLN classified as an "institutional publication", per bylaw 126.96.36.199, which would make it an "athletics representative of the institution." The 1994 interpretation dealt most mostly with what was, at the time, an explosion among specialty print publications. Several newsletters, magazines and weeklies sprung up in the 1990s that covered individual schools' sports. Several of those publications reported recruiting news in varying degrees as part of their coverage.
They were, in essence, what could interpreted as print versions of what the TLN is attempting to become in 2011. A&M is asking that the NCAA apply that Nov. 1994 ruling -- regarding those print publications -- to video-based publications.
If not, the school said, "the NCAA, in allowing institutions to create video-based publication agreements without any restriction on content, is opening Pandora's box."
A&M even uses a quote Texas AD DeLoss Dodds to drive home its point about TLN being an "athletics representative."
“This is yet another step leading up to our launch which will offer viewers unprecedented access to our sports programs …” Dodds said in a January press release.
All of it means that Monday's Big 12 AD meetings in Dallas to discuss "institutional networks" could be the most significant for the conference in more than a year. During the 2010 spring meetings in Kansas City, the seeds were planted for Nebraska and Colorado to leave the conference. During those meetings, Texas reaffirmed its desire to start a network.
"Our goal is to keep this together," A&M AD Bill Byrne said. "I don't see anything contentious about it."
The league recently agreed to a lucrative 13-year, $1.2 billion deal with Fox for its secondary rights. It figures to score another windfall when its ABC/ESPN rights expire after 2015-16. But cracks already are beginning to appear nationally and in the Big 12. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott reiterated last week what he told CBSSports.com in May.
" ... It's my view there will be further expansion down the road," Scott said during the Pac-12 media days.
Texas A&M appears to have leverage with a potential move to the SEC. That could lead to a tsunami of conference realignment if other conferences are forced to react within the marketplace.
Texas has long been speculated to become an independent if it isn't happy with the Big 12. (Although it has never been addressed what would happen with Texas' highly-competitive minor sports.) The school came within a heartbeat of joining the Pac-10 in 2010. A portion of Texas' contract with ESPN states that if Texas is not a member of a conference, ESPN would have 60 days to make an exclusive deal for those TV rights. It would have 48 hours to match any competing offer. That information was reported by the Austin American-Statesman after a Freedom of Information request.
Given the potentially shaky Big 12 partnership, a school like Missouri suddenly would have multiple options in perhaps the SEC, Big Ten, Big East, even the Pac-12. There is every indication, though, that the current situation will be resolved. That still doesn't mean the Big 12 is a long-term proposition.
The growing controversy over broadcasting high school games seems to have only two resolutions. Either it will happen or it won't. Texas and ESPN officials have said they are fine if the NCAA restricts the airing of high school games. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has put a moratorium on the practice until the issue is resolved.
Also at issue is Texas' intention to broadcast a conference game on TLN. That raises issues as to whether a conference member would be helping promote the network by its participation.
What you don't hear at the moment is Texas and ESPN backing down on their own on the issue of high school games. Technology, at this point, is moving faster than the NCAA's ability to react to it. Texas' intent to show high school content via broadband distribution and a coming Longhorn application has Texas A&M and others concerned.
Adding to the confusion is that Texas, the Big 12, NCAA and ESPN are all in a symbiotic relationship. Texas is a member of the Big 12 which is a member of the NCAA. All three have financial relationships with media giant ESPN.
Texas and ESPN announced the 20-year, $300 million partnership in January.
The Longhorn Network is the first individual school-centric endeavor on a major network (ESPN). It is launching Aug. 26 but not before having somewhat of a national referendum on the future of such businesses -- and possibly the Big 12 itself.
After a much-hyped, regents meeting earlier this month Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin said TLN's intentions create "uncertainty," in the Big 12. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said last week it is "common sense" that Texas not air high school games. While proclaiming solidarity among conference members, commissioner Dan Beebe said, "Any time there is any kind of perceived crack, there's going to be a lot of vultures in the air."
The issue has attracted the attention of the NCAA which has called an Aug. 22 in Indianapolis to discuss the issue. Among those invited include Texas, Notre Dame and the Pac-12. All three have networks or aspirations of forming one.
At issue is whether the ESPN/Texas partnership creates an unfair recruiting advantage. In early June, TLN chief Dave Brown specified in a radio interview that the network intended to show up to 18 high school games as well as travel to other states to show the games of players who had committed to Texas. That's where A&M, and others took notice.
Texas A&M is lobbying the NCAA hard to the point that ruling in favor of Texas "may cause more than simply discussion and consternation among the NCAA membership. It may lead to undesirable developments, a fear of creeping recruiting advantage that compels members to try to create situations for themselves similar to the Longhorn Network ...
" ... then the next step," A&M states to the NCAA, "could easily be an initiative to broadcast nonscholastic events during the otherwise slow collegiate sporting event summer period and it does not take much of an imagination to target men’s and women’s basketball summer tournaments/camps as being of interest to sports fans."
The NCAA already has its hands full with controlling the influence of those non-scholastic events. Basketball is rife with abuses. The association's enforcement department is working diligently trying to control non-scholastic third party influences in football.
College athletics is watching the TLN situation closely. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Thursday that the Big Ten Network is not interested in televising high school games at this time. That could change, he added, the NCAA allows it.
In that case, he said, "we'll probably have to take a look at it."
At the time the original legislation was passed in 1993, 24/7 networks dedicated to one school didn't exist. Texas A&M argued to the NCAA that "the intent and spirit of the rule was that these type of outside/independent entities ... have greater flexibility in conversations with high school-aged individuals ..."
Dodds said Texas would be not involved in selecting high school games to be broadcast.
"We'll just have to let the process work itself out," ESPN's Brown said last week. "We would have liked to have done them [high school games], one game a week, two games a week. If we have to go in another direction we will."
Coach Mack Brown said last week that high school coaches and players would be hurt most through lack of exposure if their games weren't broadcast.