It's all one big game of musical chairs, all of the various conference realignment proposals and counter-proposals floating out there in the ether. And in all of them, Kansas ends up as one of the big losers. Indeed, the Pac-10 is reportedly closing in on making an offer to half of the Big 12, while the Big 10 has zeroed in on Missouri and Nebraska. But no one wants Kansas. Except possibly the Mountain West Conference. Apparently boasting one of the nation's preeminent hoops programs doesn't get you much nowadays.
As you might have guessed, it's a money issue. Because of the way the television contract for the NCAA tournament works, there's little extra revenue to squeeze out of picking up an elite roundball team. As CBS Sport's Gary Parrish explains:
All that matters is football and TV markets. That's it. If the Pac-10 and Big Ten -- or, down the road, the SEC -- end up with some nice basketball additions when everything settles, it will be a bonus for basketball fans of those leagues, but nothing more.
If the Big 12 does self-immolate, Kansas' options seem limited. The MWC may make a godfather offer for the remnant of the Big 12, along with Boise State, to form a new "power" conference, although none of those schools make sense for Kansas basketball-wise. Joining a slimmed down, non-football Big East might be their best choice (assuming the ACC raids the Big East of its remaining football schools), although here the hang-up would be geographical.
Thinking through these different scenarios, it's clear that Kansas' best hope is that the Big 12 semi-miraculously manages to save itself from extinction. And that may depend on Notre Dame joining the Big 10. Again from Parrish:
There's now some thought that much of this insanity could be avoided if Notre Dame would agree to join the Big Ten because the Big Ten would then stop at 12 schools, at which point Nebraska wouldn't have anywhere to go, at which point Texas would commit to staying in the Big 12, at which point the Big 12 would survive. But if Notre Dame sticks to being an independent, the Big Ten will likely at least offer membership to Nebraska. And if Nebraska goes to the Big Ten, Texas and five others will almost certainly move to the Pac-10, at which point the Big 12 would cease to exist.
And if all this melodrama reminds you of being back in high school, there's a good reason: because that's exactly what's going on, as SB Nation's MaizeNBrew points out in this hilarious, perhaps NFSW post.