Posted on: June 11, 2010 8:46 am
Your morning expansion line for Friday includes news that Texas and Texas A&M may break apart.
Call it an expansion micro-burst. First it was the Big 12 breaking up. Now the most powerful faction of the Big 12 could be drifting apart. We always thought that Texas and A&M were joined at the hip pads when it came to expansion. But a Thursday meeting produced no consensus between Texas and Texas A&M. I hear that A&M prefers the SEC while the league is a non-starter for Texas.
I also hear that Jim Delany is still trying like heck to get Texas into the Big Ten. But what about that "Tech problem"?
The dominoes figure to officially start tumbling today when Nebraska announces it is joining the Big Ten. I wrote the heck out of this issue this week but it bears repeating: The Big 12 cannot survive if Nebraska leaves. 1) The TV rights go way down; 2) What's to keep Texas, or any other school, leaving in two, three, four or five years? The Big 12 is a bad marriage that cannot go on.
The biggest issues on the table going into Friday:
a) What does Texas do?
b) What does Texas do?
c) What does Texas do?
a) Where do Texas and A&M end up and do they go as a unit?
b) Where does the Big Ten strike next (because it will strike next)?
c) Where does the Pac-10 strikes next (please don't believe his stuff about the Pac-10 stopping at 11)?
d) What are you doing at 5 p.m.? Remember when happy hour today was the deadline for Missouri and Nebraska? Nebraska is gone and Missouri has no idea where it stands.
Posted on: June 9, 2010 7:45 am
Well, this is it.
Finally, some break in the ice pack that has frozen college athletics since the Big Ten maybe, kind of began exploring expansion in December. The Omaha World-Herald is reporting that Nebraska could go to the Big Ten by Friday.
Say hello to a bigger, bloated Pac-10.
Get used to two super conferences (Big Ten, Pac-10) -- at least.
Wish Nebraska luck in a strange, new world. The school was really forced into this move by Texas. Once Texas issued its "ultimatum" (or whatever you want to call it), Nebraska's fate was sealed. It could declare allegiance to the Big 12, but why? If the Big Ten offered, the money was too good. If Nebraska had to go back to the Big 12, the rancor was too much.
Imagine getting another deadline from the Horns in two years. Tom Osborne and Nebraska couldn't live like that. Now the school is the western boundary of the most powerful conference on earth. The bigger Big Ten will encompass more than 35 percent of the nation's population. Get used to Mike Rozier highlights on the Big Ten Network. Nebraska will be more attached to Chicago and New York than it will North Platte.
Is that a good thing? For Nebraska, it is the only thing. Twenty million is twenty million, reportedly poised to grow to $40 million per team if the Big Ten does this expansion right.
Posted on: June 8, 2010 11:35 am
Edited on: June 8, 2010 11:50 am
Days college athletics has been held hostage (since Big Ten announced expansion exploration on Dec. 15): 175
Who is having the worst day: Kenneth Starr. Just what the heck was that press conference on Monday? Baylor's president said absolutely nothing. Sure, Baylor is committed to the Big 12 but would leave for the Pac-10 in a heartbeat if its political forces in Austin weasel the Bears in ahead of Colorado. Big Ten. Six days on the job and Starr is already going D.C. suit on us.
Quote of the day: "There hasn't been this much talk of expansion since Oprah stopped using the treadmill." -- reader comment after the first Expand-O-Meter on Monday.
What's on tap: Someone please tell E-O-M, does the Big Ten stop at 12 if it gets Notre Dame or does it go to 14 or 16? I don't think even Notre Dame or the Big Ten knows.
Posted on: June 7, 2010 11:24 am
Edited on: June 7, 2010 12:40 pm
The latest scuttlebutt Monday morning has to do with Syracuse being the key to prying Notre Dame loose for the Big Ten.
If Missouri and Nebraska say yes to the Big Ten, I'm hearing that then either Pittsburgh or Rutgers would be paired with Syracuse to form an expanded eastern boundary of the new league. The key, apparently, is taking The 'Cuse into the Big Ten. The fit already looks good. Syracuse chancellor Nancy Cantor is a former chancellor at Illinois and provost at Michigan.
In this scenario, the addition of Syracuse collapses the Big East and potentially forces Notre Dame to find a conference home for its minor sports. Not to mention a conference home for football.
In other words, Notre Dame needs a compelling reason to join a league in football. I reported yesterday that if Notre Dame came to the Big Ten, that league's expansion might be capped at 12. That might not be the case now. The two biggest words to remember in this entire process is that it is always a "fluid situation."
Adding to the intrigue is that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Sunday that expansion could happen in stages.
If all of the above comes to pass, we'd be looking at two 16-team leagues (Pac-10, Big Ten), the collapse of the Big 12 and Big East and a whole lot of chaos. Does the SEC react?
Posted on: June 4, 2010 4:25 pm
Edited on: June 4, 2010 4:42 pm
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If it's possible, the Big 12 left here more fractured than when it arrived.
Commissioner Dan Beebe wanted a full plane by the end of the week at his spring meetings. He came away from his own spring meetings with a load of ----.
Nothing is settled as the conference realignment moves on inexorably. Missouri and Nebraska hemmed and hawed about their future plans -- whatever they are. Kansas AD Lew Perkins proclaimed this was "serious, serious, serious stuff," while his own future at KU seems to be in jeopardy.
Texas A&M AD Bill Byrne disparaged the Pac-10 while a report claimed his school was about to join the league lured by a promise of $20 million free and clear each year.
No one besides Iowa State and Baylor seemed to be pledging loyalty. Check that. Iowa State checked out. The president and AD put out a statement Friday saying the fix is in: "... the Big 12 is not in our control -- it is in the hands of a few of our fellow institutions."
Poor Beebe. Things are changing that fast. He came to a luxury hotel in Kansas City for five days to hear and read various accounts of his league breaking up. It came to a head Thursday when, confronted with that Pac-10 story, he left the hotel abruptly, media trailing behind him.
Before the media circus left town -- by the way, love that closet side aside for us to work in -- Beebe tried to calm fears that his league was breaking up. But it's not really a league, or even "a few of our fellow institutions." It's a team. Texas. Keep Texas and you keep the Big 12 together, in some form. Yes, Nebraska and Missouri are on the street corner hiking up their skirts from the johns from the Big Ten. But any league with Texas committed is a viable conference.
The Longhorns control the future. Theirs, the Big 12's, maybe college athletics'. In the coming (or at least predicted) realignment it's obvious Texas is king.
It is the jewel that can't get away if you're the Big 12. It would also make some conference lucky enough to snag it. Perhaps the biggest news of the week was Friday's story in the Columbus Dispatch that detailed correspondence between Ohio State president Gordon Gee and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany regarding Texas.
Message: Texas is interested.
Well, there it is, isn't it? Texas isn't loyal to the Big 12. Texas is loyal to Texas. And as long as that is the case, why should any school be loyal to the Big 12?
Thursday's shocking report that the Pac-10 may invite six Big 12 schools supported my theory: We're still months away from anything. The Pac-10 isn't going to invite anyone this weekend at the league's spring meetings in San Francisco. But I'm sure pretty much everything you can think of is on the table.
Notre Dame and Texas in the Big Ten, a 20-team Big Ten, a 16-team Pac-10, even a world where the Big Ten does nothing. The problem for the Dan Beebes of the world is that closed-door discussions are starting to leak out. It doesn't mean they're right but it's embarrassing as hell for a commissioner in a defensive position.
Beebe has one swing left to hit a home run. He keeps alluding to a windfall waiting down the line. He is referring to the new deal coming with Fox Sports Net. The network finished an aggressive second in the bidding for the ACC rights so it supposedly has money to burn. In the end, that might be the best play for Texas. It has won conference and national championships in the Big 12, gone to the Final Four, become the dominant amateur athletic entity in the country. Try counting to $138 million. That's the amount of Texas' athletic budget.
It's a burnt orange Catch-22, though. Beebe can't negotiate with Fox until April. His teams can negotiate with a new conference every day. Beebe should be thankful he has Texas. This week.
Posted on: June 1, 2010 6:21 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2010 6:32 pm
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Big 12 may have another member's loyalty to worry about when it comes to a long-term commitment.
Kansas AD Lew Perkins hinted strongly Tuesday that his school has been contacted by at least one other conference recently as expansion mania rages. Twice during a 26-minute press conference at the Big 12 spring meetings Perkins seemed to leave the door open for Kansas' future.
Asked directly whether his school had been contacted by another conference, Perkins said: "I won't go into any detail...People call me, I call on them. We're communicating."
Near the end of the press conference, Perkins was asked if Kansas would listen if the Big Ten called.
"How do you know they haven't called us [already]?" he teased.
So, have they?
"I want you to think about my question back to you," Perkins said.
Those comments don't necessarily mean Kansas is going anywhere. On the surface, KU is not exactly dealing from a position of strength. It has neither the market nor the football program that would seemingly be attractive to the Big Ten.
But Perkins' comments have to add another layer of angst for a conference worried about its future. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has suggested he will issue an in-or-out ultimatum this week to schools with wandering eyes. Obviously, he is referring to Nebraska and Missouri which have been mentioned prominently as Big Ten candidates.
The Big 12 would be impacted severely if those schools left for the Big Ten. On the other hand, the league could get along with 10 teams and maybe even prosper more than it is now. With only 10 mouths to feed, a new lucrative TV contract could be negotiated next year.
The Big 12 is the nation's biggest example at the moment of every-man-for-himself in the conference carousel. It could be poached on the East by the Big Ten and on the West by the Pac-10. As long as big dogs Texas and Oklahoma hang on, the Big 12 seemingly will stay viable. If not, well, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds didn't exactly pledge loyalty Tuesday when he said that the Longhorns "...are going to be a player in whatever happens."
It's all a matter of who has the leverage. Texas' is the richest athletic department in the country. Missouri has 2.5 million virgin households potentially for the Big Ten Network. Nebraska is a name brand that could turn on televisions all over the country.
Kansas? A top-five basketball program and a mediocre football program reside in one of the nation's least populated states.
"I'm worried every day about what is going to happen...," Perkins said. "This is serious, serious, serious stuff."
Perkins admitted he was distracted by a couple of recent scandals at the school and hadn't been fully focused on the expansion issue. The school reacted to ticket scam last week that may have cost the school between $1 million-$3 million in scalped tickets. Perkins also said he couldn't go into detail regarding an ongoing blackmail investigation. Perkins filed a police report in April over a dispute regarding workout equipment that had been lent to him.
"The future of Kansas and 200 other universities in this country is expansion and affiliation ...," Perkins added. "The Big Ten has been in existence for 100 years. The Pac-10 for 100 years [actually only 32 years]. If you really analyze us, we're [Big 12] teenagers. We're just young kids. This is me saying this: I want to grow old with all my siblings."
The meetings conclude on Friday.
Posted on: May 17, 2010 7:16 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2010 9:50 pm
...for the Big Ten spring meetings
Delany: "Essentially these decisions are local ... The schools are serving stakeholders -- coaches, athletes and fans, in some respects, not stockholders. And so there is always a stakeholder to make a claim on resources. Whether it's to have the best law school or the best medical school, no one questions that kind of competition. No one questions that Harvard or Texas have a [big] endowment and don't share it with Hofstra and South Alabama.
"But intercollegiate athletics is sort of unique in that institutions that have certain advantages -- based on demographics or history or tradition or fan base -- somehow are seen as the source of resources for others that do not [have them].
"I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon, but there's certainly a lot of gnashing of teeth, like why doesn't the Rose bowl spread its revenue around to Boise State? Well, partially because we developed it. We built it, it's our tradition, and to the extent that it's successful, it's successful for our institutions. So that's essentially a home-rule approach. I think it's an honest approach. I don't think there's anything wrong with money, but life's a lot easier when you have than when you don't."
• Several reports state the Mountain West presidents will consider inviting Boise State from the WAC next month. The presidents will meet in early June with the Boise State issue high on the agenda.
The Mountain West is seeking to bolster its BCS profile and could get a huge boost by adding the Broncos. The conference could earn a temporary, automatic BCS bid in 2012 and 2013. On the other side of that is possible attrition. Boise State could be joining a league that could possibly lose any one or all of the following: Utah, TCU and BYU.
Boise would have to be invited by July 1 for its record to count toward that 2012-2013 BCS goal.
• The Fiesta Bowl and University of Phoenix Stadium are diving into the neutral site pool.
• Here is Big 12 revenue distribution as of 2007. Note that no two schools in the league equal what one Big Ten school per year these days, $22 million.
1. Texas, $10.2 million
Source: Omaha World-Herald
• The Chicago Tribune said last week that the $22 million in revenue earned each year by each Big Ten school could double by 2015-16. Also, according to the Trib, look for more weeknight games by the Big Ten. The league traditionally didn't play weeknight games but recently changed its stance because of the advantage of stand-alone game/commercials promoting the Big Ten. Both Ohio State and Indiana will kick off the season with games on the night of Sept. 2.
Posted on: May 9, 2010 11:20 am
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch weighs in with a package on Missouri-to-the-Big Ten chatter.
Good lede with Big Ten leanings going back to at least the early 1990s.