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DeLoss Dodds thinks an alliance between the Big 12 and ACC could be a stabilizing factor for college football. He offered opinions on that and other topics Monday.
A partial history of the Big 12 commissioner's first nine months in office, as told via his comments on whether the league will expand beyond 10 teams. I might've missed some.
The Big 12 has targeted the Florida State Seminoles, Clemson Tigers and Louisville Cardinals as potential candidates to expand and realign into their conference.
Florida State president Eric Barron is keeping a close eye on Maryland, and the $50 million dollar exit fee the Terrapins could whittle down while leaving the ACC for the Big Ten.
Rumors began to swirl about a Big 12 media deal with ABC/ESPN and FOX regarding football airing rights way back in late June and early July. Since then, there has been a long wait to see when it would all finally be made official. Finally, on Thursday, the deal was reportedly completed and on Friday the Big 12 announced that the 13-year deal was finished.
The new 13-year deal with ESPN begins with the upcoming 2012-13 season and runs through 2024-25, replacing the previous eight-year agreement that was scheduled to run through 2015-16. The new Big 12/ESPN contract now runs concurrently with the 13-year agreement between the Conference and FOX. That agreement, announced last spring, has been augmented to reflect the expansion of rights and platforms.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by the Big 12, but the money involved was reported to be $2.6 billion over the 13 years of the deal.
A press conference announcing the media deal will be streamed live on Big12Sports.com at 10:30 a.m. ET. The stream of the 'Media Teleconference' can be found here.
Along with the expansion that has been going on around the Big 12, the conference was also rumored to be looking at a big media deal several months back. According to a tweet from ESPN's Brett McMurphy, the Big 12 will soon announce that the large media deal will be signed with ESPN/ABC and Fox.
Big 12, ABC/ESPN & Fox will announce 13-year media rights deal Friday worth $2.6B, worth $20M per school, sources told @espn— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) September 6, 2012
The multibillion-dollar deal had been reportedly in the works and agreed upon as far back as late June or early July. Earlier in the year, the Big 12 signed a deal that will extend the media rights of the schools to the conference for another 13 years.
The conference signed a 13-year deal with Fox Sports Media Group in April 2011 that ensured every Big 12 football game would be shown on either Fox or an ABC/ESPN network prior to the expansion that brought the TCU Horned Frogs and West Virginia Mountaineers to the conference.
The world's only college football show moseys into the heart of America to review and preview a conference sure to kick you right in the [Rest of this sentence available only on the Longhorn Network].
The Big 12 has issued a statement clarifying reports of their members granting a 13-year extension of rights. Bob Bowlsby stated that a 13-year extension was agreed to and signed in an interview with the Charleston Gazette on Sunday. That agreement would be an extension from an initial grant of rights for the minimum six years. But Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News tweeted that the extension was not done but agreed to, via @ChuckCarltonDMN:
Big 12 clarifies 13-year granting of rights: not done but agreed to. Will be signed immediately on completion of Fox, ESPN deals.— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) July 1, 2012
In the same interview on Sunday, Bowlsby indicated that the conference had already come to terms with both Fox and ESPN. He also stated that the television deal would be announced in the coming "weeks or months." The deal is reportedly worth $2.6 billion over 13 years.
The schools of the Big 12 have granted media rights to the conference for an extended period of 13 years. Initial reports had a grant of rights lasting for six years but in an interview with the Charleston Gazette, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby indicated that an agreement granting media rights for 13 years had been signed:
Gazette-Mail - Please clear up the issue concerning schools granting media rights to the league. Schools agreed to grant the rights for a minimum of six years, but then word came that was extended to 13 years. Has that agreement been signed?
Bowlsby - It has been extended to 13 years and it has been signed.
The Big 12 has also reportedly agreed to a 13-year, $2.6 billion television deal with Fox and ESPN. Bowlsby also said that the league had generally come to terms on the deal and an announcement would be made in the coming "weeks or months." The deal will be made official in an announcement likely made in conjunction with the networks at some point this summer.
Sunday was the first official day in the conference for new members TCU and West Virginia.
Get used to reading this sentence every couple of days again: Notre Dame has denied a conference realignment news item. Ah, how we've missed reading that sentence!
The latest cause for down-shooting: a Chuck Neinas memo that listed the Irish as the only team capable of bringing in enough TV money to make realignment worth it. The memo cited ESPN and FOX Sports, the Big 12's television partners.
In response, Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick told the Chicago Tribune, "We are not in any active decision-making process," adding, "I have tried to be consistent throughout saying, look, there are three things we have to know: what our media future is, what the postseason of college football future is, and what the future of the Big East is. Two of those three pieces, I think we're going to have great certainty on."
Now that the playoff picture is mostly set, revenue splits and bowl participation aside, Notre Dame-to-the Big 12 becomes once again the biggest story that doesn't really have much to do with immediate football being football.
For more on Irish football, visit Notre Dame blog One Foot Down.
Remember how we all said we'd revisit conference realignment once the playoff plan was set? Guess what! The playoff plan is set now, so now we have to pay attention to Big 12 expansion rumors again. Oh boy! Where were we? Still the Florida State and Clemson things?
Doesn't sound like it, according to a memo by outgoing commissioner Chuck Neinas:
Both representatives of ESPN/ABC and Fox Sports indicated that Notre Dame's involvement with the Big 12 Conference would increase the value of the conference relative to future television and also improve the image of the conference nationwide.
Our television partners agreed that the only new member that would enhance the Big 12 value for television was Notre Dame.
Remember when Boston College's AD denied TV partners play a major role in conference realignment? Neinas isn't talking about being instructed to pick up one or another team, and it might not matter to ESPN which conference Notre Dame joins anyway, since it owns ACC inventory too, and even more of that than it does of the Big 12's.
If Notre Dame were to join -- Texas' AD has mentioned courting the Irish to begin transitioning in as their NBC deal winds down -- then maybe FSU could come along as an addition, but this might just kill the idea of the Noles and an ACC mate coming aboard.
For more on Irish football, visit Notre Dame blog One Foot Down.
It appeared Clemson coach Dabo Swinney may have spoken slightly out of turn earlier in the week when he said the Tigers remain "1,000 percent committed" to the ACC and blamed reporters, bloggers, the four winds, probably Steve Spurrier, 1985 Topps checklist cards and beagles -- all beagles -- for the recent spate of Big 12 rumors. Clemson fans didn't like that he appeared to be cutting the legs out from under the Board of Trustees, which was set to meet days later to discuss matters of import.
But the BOT actually pretty much sounds just like Dabo anyway. Here's Clemson Board of Trustees chairman David Wilkins, via TigerNet:
"We are 1,000 percent in the ACC," Wilkins told TigerNet. "There are no offers, no discussions and we are concentrating on being the best we can be in the ACC. We are in the ACC, and we need to work together on making the ACC better."
"What we need to do is have the premier sports program in the league we are now in," Wilkins said. "And that is the ACC. That is where all of our effort and focus needs to be."
Just weeks ago, Wilkins said that Clemson would be wise to listen to an offer to join another conference, but that one hadn't been made.
Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney, newly extended contract in back pocket, was topical with the media on Tuesday, producing a pair of nuggets of interest to a couple of important stories. There's a little something for fans of both actual football and conference room football up ahead:
Dabo Swinney: "We’re a 1000 % committed to the ACC. Going to the Big 12 is the worst thing we could do as a program. It makes zero sense"— Travis Sawchik (@travis_sawchik) June 12, 2012
Just to clairfy, Dabo said Watkins' punishment will likely include game action. He did not say how much game time— Travis Sawchik (@travis_sawchik) June 12, 2012
He's not all that interested in the conference realignment stuff, but Swinney might be the first Clemson higher-up to deny interest. We've heard denials from at least one rep at every other ACC school, but the only Clemson comment I've seen so far was the Board of Trustees' affirmation of general interest.
However! If star wide receiver Sammy Watkins is to miss playing time for his drug arrest earlier this offseason, that would mean missing, say, a half or more against the Auburn Tigers, the team Clemson draws in Week 1. That would put a serious hamperin' on Clemson's offense, as we've gone ahead and tallied here.
For more Tigers football, visit Clemson blog Shakin' The Southland.
While we’re here, let’s watch some college football videos from SB Nation’s new YouTube channel together:
Remember when West Virginia reportedly wanted to join the SEC or ACC, but was shot down by both? Now that they're in the Big 12, they're in a demonstrably better place then they would've been if the ACC had taken them, so one can expect a little bit of chortling.
And chortling there is! As shared by the Smoking Musket:
President [James] Clements was also at the event and during his remarks mentioned that the ACC "should be pretty nervous right about now." Those were public remarks to an exclusively WVU crowd, so take them for what they're worth.
That's a remark made to boosters and alumni, so of course it's a little bit more assertive than you'd hear if it came from an official statement. But it's got to feel pretty good to be WVU and see Pitt heading to the ACC with conference realignment rumors sure to keep quaking for at least the next month, right?
As Tomahawk Nation's Bud Elliott tried to tell you, Florida State isn't quite as broke as certain financial revelations would cause it to appear. FSU's budget status has helped ramp up hopes within the fan base of a Big 12 exit, but the situation isn't quite as dire as that reported $2.4 million deficit would make it appear.
The athletic department has a $1.5 million reserve that the boosters are holding for us that we have had there and we were looking maybe long term and that can be a possibility, in which it still will, to use that for the painting of the stadium. Well in the short term and what we know for the future and we're not ready to paint the stadium for a few years, we were going to go to the president and be allowed to use that $1.5 million. So we have closed that gap, and we will go into next year with a balanced budget for next year.
You can assume FSU fans would prefer to be in the Big 12 than the ACC whether there's technically a deficit or enough stuff can be slid around to make the whole thing float. Because the stadium needs painted, everyone. It makes the whole thing look nice, sure, but it's also vital to the preservation of the facility. It's why they constantly paint the Brooklyn Bridge. Like, they just paint and re-paint that thing all year long. You should read "The World Without Us." It mentions that kind of stuff. There are also videos about it on YouTube.
Think about that, 'Noles.
You heard FSU-to-the-Big-12 rumors would pick up quite a bit as the week winds down, and yep! You heard right! As the school's Board of Trustees prepares to meet, here's the latest word on the street:
FSU's Pres will likely deny previous talks w/ BIg 12. I expect FSU's BOT to give him authority to formally begin nego'ns w/ BIg 12— Ingram Smith (@IngramSmith) June 7, 2012
As we learned earlier in the week in greater detail than ever before, realignment denials mean something more than they mean nothing. However, this meeting has apparently been planned for a while, with the realignment element only recently being added to the docket.
And, of course, it's a meeting with FSU's BOT, which will want to talk Big 12 with absolutely anybody and everybody, based on its recent comments. Doesn't necessarily mean Barron's on board at all or will soon change his public course. Then again again (so many reversals here!), if the Board is all in, and the Big 12 is actually interested (which we don't know for sure), then Barron will find himself being rapidly convinced of their position.
Why do conferences go out of their way to make it look like they're not trying to take someone else's teams? Twitter superstar and real-life lawyer @BobbyBigWheel explains it all.
The Big 12 once again says it's set at 10 members, which we once again don't quite believe. Florida State and Notre Dame rumors are all floating around, and Louisville's just about throwing itself at the conference, and Les Miles has said he expects the SEC's new partner league to expand to 12, and you can't have a conference title game without a dozen members, and so on.
Chip Brown reports the Big 12 would indeed expand if it could have the Irish, and that might seem like the most obvious thing anybody's written all day. However, it would in fact be newsworthy if that's the conclusion the Big 12 has arrived at.
Will the Big 12 expand even without Notre Dame? Probably, I think, even though its most powerful school might not like the idea of adding another challenge in the way of national titles. Believing the Big 12 will remain at 10 forever is almost like believing the SEC when it said it was cool with 13 members, right?
As college football realignment rumors continue to fly, current Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas maintains the stance the conference is set with its current 10 members. The Big 12 has recently been linked to Florida State, Clemson and Notre Dame, but Neinas said the current Big 12 athletic directors reaffirmed their commitment to the current schools at the Big 12 meetings.
Neinas "The #Big12 Athletic Directors reaffirmed their commitment to 10 members."— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) May 30, 2012
What does all of this mean? Well for right now, not a whole lot. As Wescott Eberts, of Burnt Orange Nation, mentions here, the SEC essentially said the same thing before expanding a short time later. Neinas and the Big 12 athletic directors are saying and doing what they need to put the conference in the best position possible. However, if adding two or four or 20 schools tomorrow would benefit the Big 12, they will quickly do so.
As has been the case in all of the college football realignment talk, anything said is relevant today but could be different tomorrow.
Should the Big 12 expand to 12 teams? New Big 12 associate (via the Champions Bowl) Les Miles sure seems to think so, but conference officials are sticking to the 10-team line. However, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione says OU is "open-minded" about the future.
"We're not in a position where we have to do anything right now," Castiglione told the Dallas Morning News. "We're in a good spot right now. We do have a model that works. And it may be a model that works exceptionally well going into the future."
As Big 12 spring meetings are set to begin, rumored pickups still include Florida State, Clemson, Louisville and the rest of the usual assortment, most of whom have publicly denied being in touch with the Big 12.
Texas is in a similar situation as Oklahoma, as an elite program that likely has a better shot at a championship in a smaller Big 12 that lacks FSU. Burnt Orange Nation's Peter Bean details the Horns' perspective:
Same as last time: my gut feeling at this time is that Texas is in no hurry to disrupt the status quo, and that while it is taking prudent actions to position itself for super-conference armageddon, and happy to play the game to its best advantage, to the extent it can preserve the status quo -- and more importantly, the value of its long position -- it will.
It's time for SEC meetings, which means lots of college football coaches saying things on the issues of the day.
You may recall Florida St. Seminoles Board of Trustees chair Andy Haggard from his starring turn as that guy who got real mad about the ACC that one time. After insisting FSU should listen if the Big 12 comes calling, Haggard is denying that the Big 12 has in fact done so:
"We have not heard a thing and we have not approached them and they have not approached us," said Andy Haggard, the chair of FSU's Board of Trustees. "If anybody approaches us, we are certainly going to listen to them. We have an obligation to Florida State to listen. You can't close the door."
Speculation on the Noles has reached the point at which college football observers respond with a wink and a nod to anything said by any official on any side of the issue. Just two weeks ago, a denial by Haggard would've slammed the story shut for the time being, but now everyone's convinced it's really happening, so we're all a bunch of super spies all of a sudden.
The Miami Hurricanes have been mentioned in a number of Big 12 expansion rumors, most prominently whatever TCU's athletic director was citing here. But unlike the Clemson Tigers and Florida St. Seminoles, the Canes aren't giving any quotes that can be read as curious interest. In fact, Miami's denying the whole thing, a la the Virginia Tech Hokies and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
The complete statement by athletic director Shawn Eichorst, in which Miami's leadership talks up Miami's leadership:
We are so fortunate at Miami. Our University, under past and present visionary leadership and with an 87-year history of achievement, is strong in our foundation and in our beliefs. It allows us to stay steady when there are stormy seas, and that core strength holds us together today more than ever.
Since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004, the University of Miami has worked hard to measure up to the high academic and athletic standards set by our peers and we could not be more proud than to call the ACC our home. We are confident in our progress and in our accomplishments, yet there is still much work to be done. We are committed to the ACC and to doing our part to continue the tradition of excellence across the board. In that regard, we have not engaged in any formal or informal discussions with any other conferences.
The additions of the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University, as well as the new exclusive television partnership with ESPN, signal the very strength and nationwide appeal of the ACC. Fans will be able to watch more ACC sports and more ACC games in more ways than ever before with the most powerful brand in sports behind us. This is an exciting time to be a part of the ACC and we are honored and humbled to be among its members.
For more on Canes football, visit Miami blog The 7th Floor.
Clemson's Board of Trustees met, and the conclusion is that they would, if given the opportunity, consider moving out of the ACC. However, that opportunity isn't there yet: Travis Sawchik of the Charleston Post and Courier had an update via Twitter:
Clemson BOT chairman David Wilkins says Clemson would listen to offers from another conference but, again, Clemson has not been contacted
— Travis Sawchik (@travis_sawchik) May 25, 2012
Pretty typical conference realignment stuff. Conference realignment is a dance that requires two partners, and as of now, this is one partner saying that hypothetically, they would consider dancing if anybody asked them. It's noncommittal, and nothing is gained or lost.
What Wilkins is referring to, of course, is the Big 12. Clemson has been speculated as a potential team to split from the ACC alongside Florida State and bring the conference back to having a dozen teams. Here, we have the news that they'd hypothetically consider it. So there.
For more Tigers football, visit Clemson blog Shakin' The Southland.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets joined the realignment rumor convention last weekend, when Ingram Smith reported they'd be among the ACC teams the Big 12 would consider taking in the event of a Florida St. Seminoles acquisition. AD Dan Radakovich is now denying the Jackets have made contact -- Virginia Tech is of course also again denying they want out of the ACC -- but the most interesting comment of his is likely this one:
Radakovich also told fans that the league is trying to develop a bowl game similar to the one that the Big 12 and SEC announced Friday. That game will match those two leagues' conference champions should they not make the expected four-team playoff. He said there is a great desire for the ACC to match up its conference champion, should it not make the playoff, "and play a quality bowl game."
Radakovich mentioned the Big Ten and SEC as potential partners.
Better late than never for that kind of idea, yes?
The ACC won't be able to get the SEC's or Big Ten's champ, of course, as those teams will be committed to the Rose Bowl and this new Big 12 venture, respectively, in the event that they miss the playoffs. The Big East remains available. Winner gets to play its basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden, maybe?
There's also the option to try and pair of the ACC's winner against another league's runner-up, which sounds like the plan the ACC has in mind.
The ACC is ripe for the pickin', if the latest college football realignment rumors are to be believed. You see, the Big 12 has gone from the hunted to the hunter and is now poised to pick off a few schools, should it choose to expand. And those schools would, from all indications, come from the ACC.
There's rumors of Florida and Clemson expressing interest in the Big 12, and the two would make pretty ideal travel partners from a Big 12 standpoint. But these are just rumors and, if the past is any indication, nobody really knows what will happen next.
ACC commissioner John Swofford, however, is pretty confident his conference is on a solid foundation. He also believes everyone is ALL-IN right now and trusts that the schools he oversees are trustworthy.
This is where we drop in the ironic quote.
Swofford also said he would be disappointed if any universities were not being straightforward with him, "Yeah, we've got a league in which, you know, people sit in a room and talk very forthrightly with each other. There's a lot of respect within the room, there is a lot of trust within the room, and on this particular subject, and by the subject I mean conference affiliation, I think we've all learned, or should have over the last two or three years that there are an awful lot of things put out there that have no foundation or basis of truth and often times are irresponsible in being out there in the first place."
It's not as if any institution has pledged its allegiance one day while working a backroom deal to bail out of the ship for calmer waters at the same time. Nor is it as if Swofford and the ACC have regularly picked off other Big East schools out of the blue by way of the same dealings.
If anything, nobody should be trusted when it comes to the shifting landscape of realignment. And if Swofford really does believe he's sitting pretty, then he and his conference are actually sitting ducks, in all likelihood.
If the Florida St. Seminoles leave for the Big 12, they'll likely take along at least one other school from the ACC, so the prevailing wisdom goes. The Clemson Tigers have long been believed to be that additional party. While Clemson's denying they've been contacted* by the Big 12, its Board of Trustees is meeting to talk about the whole thing.
"We're getting the board together to share information," Clemson Board of Trustees president David Wilkins said. "There's no specific proposal we're going to be addressing. We're going to let everyone share options for the direction forward and share what information they have."
The latest round of reports have FSU, Clemson and three or so other ACC schools all reaching out to the Big 12 via secret mystery channels.
* Not necessarily a denial that Clemson has contacted the Big 12, of course.
For more Tigers football, visit Clemson blog Shakin' The Southland.
As Big East meetings continue in Florida, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish remain at the center of conference realignment's future. Notre Dame is a Big East member in sports besides football, meaning it has both its own football independence and league membership at stake as the map shifts.
The Irish say they're sticking with the current arrangement, despite contact with Texas keeping the rumors and speculation at maximum.
"Our operating assumption is that we will remain aligned with the Big East," AD Jack Swarbrick said. "I don't want to create the impression that there's some active evaluation of that going on. As I said many times, we're sensitive to the changes and we monitor them closely."
Swarbrick also downplayed his communications with Texas AD DeLoss Dodds.
With the Big 12, ACC and Big Ten all very presumably interested in Notre Dame, that makes four of the top six conferences directly invested in what comes of the Irish. We might start to find out more after the 2014 playoff plan is announced next month, but we'll definitely continue to see developments as 2015, when ND's NBC contract is up, nears.
Rumors of the Florida St. Seminoles and perhaps the Clemson Tigers leaving the ACC for the Big 12: they are months old and have been widely discussed all over the place. The Miami Hurricanes too? Yes, to a lesser extent. But so far, it's been denials all over the place by school officials, unless if we count Board of Trustee members.
But no more! TCU Horned Frogs athletic director Chris Del Conte appears to have either confirmed the whole thing or addressed them in such a way that they can be interpreted as confirmed. I leave you to decide. Now, this gets complicated, but here's what happened:
According to Chris Level, who is the publisher of RedRaiderSports.com and a co-host of a radio show on 104.3 FM in Lubbock; he Tweeted that Del Conte said that the once dead Big 12 "now has schools like Florida State, Clemson and Miami trying to get in."
TCU hasn't even played in the Big 12 yet, and it's out here sort of confirmin' rumors. Rumors that Texas has cast as mere fantasies a couple times now. Complete fantasies pouring from the mouths of deranged sailors who've been dragged ashore after having been abandoned at sea for months! Guess not?
It's all in the inflection, either way:
TCU's Chris Del Conte clarifies comments: I was referring to rumor mill, not confirming schools interest in #Big12.— Stefan Stevenson (@FollowtheFrogs) May 23, 2012
While we wait for the late-summer conference realignment scramble, let's go ahead and prepare ourselves for the best and the worst.
By the end of the week, about half the ACC will have reportedly contacted the Big 12 about making a move. Florida State and Clemson rumors have been with us for months now, joined over the past couple weeks by Miami, Pitt and others. Now Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com confirms Ingram Smith's report that the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have unofficially joined in:
One of my best sources in the Big 12 just indicated that Georgia Tech has also put out informal feelers to the Big 12 about the Big 12's potential expansion plans, and that source said Georgia Tech would be very appealing as a potential expansion target because of its strong academics.
The Big 12 has only 10 teams at the moment, so it could bring on more than just two if so inclined. You'd have to wonder if Georgia Tech could surpass Clemson as a candidate. While the Tigers have a superior football culture and fan base, the Jackets offer top academics and a piece of the football-rabid Atlanta market (they surely don't deliver it themselves, but you can bet Texas and Oklahoma in Atlanta would draw attention).
It's been reported for almost a year now that the Texas Longhorns have looked to bring the Notre Dame Fighting Irish into the Big 12, even perhaps as an eventual Thanksgiving Day rival. Now, via Brett McMurphy's excellent reporting, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds has gone on the record, describing some of the options Notre Dame's discussed with Texas:
"Notre Dame has options," Dodds said. "I think they love their position. I certainly think they can continue to do what they're doing and do it well and be a major player. But they have options.
"We've talked to Notre Dame about the Big 12 ... They could put some football here [by playing a few non-conference games against Big 12 opponents]."
Remember where we were just last year, when Notre Dame was still a sure thing to eventually land in the Big Ten, with Jim Boeheim even telling the Irish they'd weather realignment and end up there? Then, for like a week, they were gone to the ACC? Now the Big 12 is the only landing spot that makes sense to anybody.
Dodds does say that the Horns are against bringing any more teams into the Big 12. But every conference* will make an exception on just about every rule for Notre Dame.
* Except the ACC, which wouldn't let Notre Dame "put some football" there.
Conference realignment news is going to be with us all summer, and based on the coming playoff system, the Big 12 and SEC alliance, Notre Dame's TV contract, and league changes that are already set to take place years down the road, it'll be with us for farther than that. But we can still try and get a sense of exactly where things stand for the next month or so.
Big 12 won't do anything til after playoff is set, ACC's football schools are using back channels to talk to B12, and Texas is trying to pump the brakes on expansion to wait to see where Notre Dame is at.
The Notre Dame part is no surprise, as that's been in the news for almost a solid year now. Those schools include Florida State, Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech (which also has SEC rumors of its own), and the playoff stuff won't be set until June. It's worth noting that the report from Brown, who covers the Big 12 side and not the ACC side, has the ACC schools approaching the Big 12 and not the other way around.
In the event of a move, the Big 12 will want that to be the official story line in order to avoid accusations of tampering with the ACC's schools. The SEC did this masterfully in its pickups of Missouri and Texas A&M. If FSU and others do join the Big 12, look for several statements from the conference about not really wanting to expand, but being presented with an offer too good to pass up.
Brown also revisits the moment when it looked like Texas could join the ACC, but the ACC declined. Imagine what we'd be talking about right now if that had happened.
Not to belittle the efforts of the many smaller sites reporting the Florida St. Seminoles are inching closer and closer to the Big 12, but you'd really like to see something from a more traditional outlet on the subject before lending too much confidence to the story. There was this report from an Atlanta radio host's site over the weekend, followed by similar notices from multiple other lesser-known outlets, all while nothing's coming across the big tickers.
And for what it's worth, the officials involved are sticking with the party line, now that FSU's rebel contingent has been at least publicly quieted:
"The athletic directors ... seemed very comfortable with 10 [teams]," [former interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck] Neinas told Austin's "The Horn" KTXX-FM (104.9) on Monday. "But there's nothing more consistent in life than change. Right now, people seem to be satisfied with 10."
If the Noles and a friend or two do end up making the leap to the Big 12, it won't exactly be a surprise at this point, but it will be a move that was reported every step of the way by largely unfamiliar websites, even going back to several months ago. How do we feel about that?
If we're going to follow conference realignment as if it's a sport, we might as well come up with a scoring system.
The chatter surrounding Florida State's movement from the ACC to the Big 12 is growing, and fun, for people who are big fans of chatter. One person -- Ingram Smith of ChuckOliver.net -- reports that it's inevitable, and that Clemson is an "almost certain" addition as well.
(However, Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World describes the Big 12 as still very much divided on the subject, and Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com adds, "anyone saying Notre Dame, Florida State or Clemson are done deals are talking to people with wishful thinking.")
Smith has it from a pair of sources "with the strongest ties possible" to FSU's athletics department that the Seminoles intend to leave the conference, and that one of those sources said it is "inevitable." If so, keep an eye out for a potential continued partnership with the SEC.
Smith reports a number of specific details, citing how long the two sides have reportedly been in touch, and goes on to say that the process will begin in June:
Important dates to watch will be: May 30th, the Big 12 will have its conference meetings. June 15th, the new commissioner of the Big 12 when Bob Bowlsby will take office and August 15th, the deadline for any institution to withdraw from the ACC.
So, whether or not this report is true, all we have to do is, you know, wait.
According to an anonymous Big 12 source, college football could be moving toward consolidating into four superconferences, the Dallas Morning News reports. The news comes on the heels of the Big 12 and the SEC agreeing to a five-year deal that would pit the champion of one conference against the other in a bowl game.
"I really can't believe I'm saying this," one Big 12 school source said. "We might be moving to four superconferences -- and the Big 12 would be one of those."
How might this work and what might the Big 12/SEC bowl deal be telling us about the future? Jason Kirk has a few ideas and explored them on Saturday morning.
Along with the other Big 12 and the SEC, the Big Ten and the Pac-12 would seem to be the most likely candidates to expand. Of course, the standard caveats about unnamed sources apply. The Big 12, once on the brink of disappearing, is back in a position of strength within the college football ranks after striking two 13-year television deals with FOX and ESPN thought to be worth a combined $2.6 billion.
Chuck Neinas says the Big 12 has not had any discussions with Florida State about adding the Seminoles in an expansion move.
The new bowl game partnership between the Big 12 and SEC is neat and all, but we could be just a couple moves away from something huge.
Plenty of distinguished people from Tallahassee to Austin have weighed in on the Florida State-to-Big 12 rumors that heated up this month. Now legendary FSU coach Bobby Bowden has put his opinion on the record, and he is not in favor of a potential move to the Big 12.
Bowden went on Jack Arute's SiriusXM radio program on Thursday and, in his best Southern drawl, emphatically advocated that the 'Noles stay put. Via John Taylor at CollegeFootballTalk:
"My message would be stay in the ACC," Bowden told Arute in a transcript provided by SiriusXM. "Do you want to win a National Championship at Florida State? You've got a better chance in the ACC than you have in the Big 12, or even the SEC.
"You say, ‘Well, gosh, they're much stronger in those conferences.' Yeah! They beat up on each other and you can't hardly get there. You know what? Florida State, wait ‘til you get good enough to rule the ACC then you start looking for someplace to jump. But my opinion? They should stay right where they are."
Bowden also cited increased travel costs for all the non-revenue sports as another reason to stay in the ACC, stating that the East Coast is FSU's "base."
While some had wondered whether the Florida St. Seminoles would call for ACC commissioner John Swofford's job during league meetings this week -- due to the many rumors about FSU's displeasure with the ACC -- everything seems to be on course so far. On the same day that former FSU linebacker and trustee Derrick Brooks claimed the Big 12 and the Noles had mutual interest, Swofford dismissed pretty much everything:
"Obviously, Florida State's representatives were here, but in terms of it affecting our business, it really didn't," Swofford said. "It was business as usual as we move ahead becoming a 14-team league.
"We've got 12 important members, and we'll soon have 14 important members," he added. "And moving ahead with the implementation that needs to be made, decisions that need to be made, and the start of an excellent new television contract and just the normal, operational kinds of things that we do on an annual basis that aren't really newsworthy (or) sexy, so to speak. ... We just had an excellent meeting in regard to all of that.
"And in terms of Florida State, they are a valuable member, just like our other 11 - and soon our other 13 - are."
Guarantee you there are many FSU fans seething a little bit about that last line. Florida State's technically more valuable than any of the other 11 most of the time, but no commissioner's going to say that.
Former Florida St. Seminoles linebacker Derrick Brooks -- the Tampa Bay Buccaneers one, for our NFL readers -- has made some pretty big news in the great Big 12 realignment story, telling Tim Brando that the Big 12 actually contacted FSU, not the other way around.
Former player says some stuff we should ignore? Hard to say, as Brooks is also a former FSU trustee. Athletic director Randy Spetman says, "I don't know where Derrick got that."
If true, that would change pretty much everything about this story, as the Big 12 has been silent, Bob Bowlsby has called for a few weeks to get his freaking feet in the doggone door before everyone starts asking him about the goshdang Seminoles (he didn't say it like that), and DeLoss Dodds has said there's nothing to the whole thing. Thus, we should approach Brooks' claim with a good bit of skepticism.
But still! FSU-to-the Big 12 stuff remains in the news, and will continue to do so for at least a few more weeks, in all likelihood. It'll be hard for either side to release a definitive final answer until the new playoff plan gets firmed up.
Florida St. Seminoles fans and trustees have made it clear they'd like to see the program at least listen to what the Big 12 may have to offer, while the president and athletic director have publicly said they're committed to the ACC. But what about the Big 12?
There haven't really been any reports of any specific interest coming form the heartland, and that's after many months worth of reports that the league is interested in BYU, Louisville, Cincinnati and others. It's not like the Big 12 is an iron drum of secrecy. There's Texas Tech's Tommy Tuberville saying FSU would be a nice get, and that's about it.
Brett McMurphy reports the conference still isn't even settled on whether it wants to expand at all, likely waiting until it gets to see how the new playoff plan's money shakes out before making a move:
And, oh by the way, the Big 12 is very satisfied with its current 10-member makeup.
"The Big 12 is literally on the fence as far as expansion," an industry source said. "One day, they're like 'Let's expand.' The next day, it's 'No, let's not.' There's no reason for them to expand except if there are some compelling reasons."
Since the playoff stuff won't be settled until later this summer, expect many more weeks of this before we can even begin talking about it for real. Hope you like conference realignment rumors, because they're never, ever going to stop!
Will the Florida St. Seminoles leave the ACC for the Big 12? We've now heard from just about every level of FSU's leadership, while Big 12 admins have been silent on the matter. Unless you count the Texas Longhorns as the official voice of the conference, which often seems like just the sort of thing you should do.
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds has again commented on the FSU rumors, affirming that the two sides haven't been in touch and pointing out that Florida State is pretty far away.
Texas AD DeLoss Dodds says there "have been no conversations" between Big 12 and Florida State.— kbohls (@kbohls) May 14, 2012
DeLoss Dodds says of FSU: "They're a long ways away" in distance, prospects of joining Big 12.— kbohls (@kbohls) May 14, 2012
As others have pointed out, Tallahassee is closer to, say, Dallas than Morgantown is. Others have also pointed out that Texas, along with three other Big 12 schools, have given serious thought to joining the Pac-12 at least twice that we know of.
The Big 12 has, on multiple occasions, found itself on life support in the last couple of years of conference realignment. For a brief moment, however, it has a chance to go on the offensive. It should not waste the opportunity.
When buzz about the Florida St. Seminoles eyeing the Big 12 along with a mysterious accomplice first sprang up, it was the Clemson Tigers who were believed to be in the running. Since then, the Maryland Terrapins, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and others have also been mentioned, but Dan Wetzel reports the Miami Hurricanes could get the longest look.
Miami's Board of Trustees, for its part, is not quite as gung-ho about the whole thing as FSU's is, but then again, nobody is really quite as gung-ho as FSU's Board of Trustees. From CBS Sports' Brian London:
"It's highly unlikely," the BOT member, who wished to remain nameless, said. "I'm not sure Miami's academic standards are a good fit in the Big 12."
It's fun to read this stuff from 1990 in light of the current state of realignment. At the time, FSU thought Miami would end up in the SEC, which led to disappointment when the Noles went into the ACC themselves. Twenty years later, we're talking about them both leaving for the Big 12, which didn't even exist in 1990.
For more on Canes football, visit Miami blog The 7th Floor.
Unless you're the type to check in on conference realignment rumors during the weekend (bless you, if so), you may have missed some of the Florida St. Seminoles excitement over the past few days. The big takeaways are all in this great piece by Dan Wetzel, which contains much of the original reporting on whether FSU is actually a potential Big 12 target or not. There were certainly a number of statements, albeit conflicting, from FSU leadership that make this story look like it's really heading somewhere.
The Wetzel story helps clear up some of the concern over the ACC's new TV deal. For one thing, it's largely backloaded, so by the time Florida State and others actually see the new contract pay off, the ACC could have fallen far to the back of the pack again anyway. People in the ACC are legitimately worried about FSU, while those in the Big 12 seem to view the whole thing as an interesting potential surprise opportunity, according to the story. Wetzel also reports the Miami Hurricanes -- not the Clemson Tigers -- could be a more likely traveling companion for the Noles in the event of a conference switch.
Also, from earlier in the weekend, in chronological order:
Well, not "rumors," per se, but rather the head of FSU's Board of Trustees saying the Florida St. Seminoles should listen to what the Big 12 may or may not have to offer. Not exactly rumory anymore. Oh, and coach Jimbo Fisher going along with whatever he was asked about the Big 12.
Either way, here's Florida State president Eric Barron on the matter:
Florida State University regrets that misinformation about the provisions of the ACC contract has unnecessarily renewed the controversy and speculation about University's athletic conference alignment. Florida State respects the views of the Chair of its Board of Trustees that, of course, any university would examine options that would impact university academics, athletics or finances. At the same time, Florida State is not seeking an alternative to the ACC nor are we considering alternatives. Our current commitments remain strong.
BOT chairman Andy Haggard's issues with the ACC, as shared by Warchant.com, were indeed incorrect on the exact matter of third-tier media rights, a central issue in the whole dispute. However, Barron isn't exactly in sole charge of this matter, and if the board were to eventually decide it's time to go, then it would be time to go.
Then again, all we've heard is a bunch of anger from FSU's side and very little actual interest from the Big 12's side. (It's hard to imagine the Big 12 wouldn't be interested.)
With the ACC in shambles and the Big 12 less in shambles, FSU's interest in the Big 12 is apparently a thing. It's become more of a thing with the news that head coach Jimbo Fisher thinks the Seminoles should look at the conference that used to have 12 schools.
"There have been no official talks, but I think you always have to look out there to see what's best for Florida State," Fisher told the Orlando Sentinel. "If that [jumping to the Big 12] is what's best for Florida State, then that's what we need to do."
As head coach, Fisher probably has some say. This whole "Florida State being in the ACC" thing might not be too long for the future, considering the fact that Fisher, the FSU Board of Trustees, and also, apparently, the Big 12 think the Seminoles being in the Big 12 might be a good idea.
The conference realignment dance between the Big 12 and Florida State continues, with both Noles and Big 12 sources making overtures of mutual interest this weekend. FSU Board of Trustees Chairman Andy Haggard expressed his displeasure with the ACC's recent television deal, and indicated in no uncertain terms that the Board would be interested in looking into what the Big 12 had to offer.
On the other side, Yahoo!'s Dan Wetzel is now citing a source that says the Big 12 would be interested in Florida State. Via @DanWetzel:
Big 12 source on whether league would be interested in Florida State. "I can't imagine how we wouldn't be interested in Florida State."— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) May 12, 2012
This runs counter to what Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds stated earlier in the week, which was that the FSU rumors had "no basis." With both denials and expressions of interest already floating in the press from both sides, it appears the FSU and Big 12 rumors are just heating up.
We thought the Florida State to the Big 12 talk was over. It seemed the door was firmly closed and locked on Friday. The Seminoles' athletic director shot the rumors down, then Texas AD DeLoss Dodds did the same.
But expansion and realignment are never that simple. Add in the mess of a situation at Florida State, in a leadership sense, and we've got a recipe for dissent.
For example, take Florida State Board of Trustees Chairman Andy Haggard's comments via Warchant.com.
"How do you not look into that option," asked Haggard. "On behalf of the Board of Trustees I can say that unanimously we would be in favor of seeing what the Big 12 might have to offer. We have to do what is in Florida State's best interest."
Haggard is fed up with the ACC and isn't going to take it. He ripped the conference for giving up third-tier broadcasting rights for football while keeping them for basketball. That move, he said, shows a bias towards the Carolina schools, and puts FSU in a bad spot.
So on one hand there's the athletic directors squashing the rumors. On the other there's the Board of Trustees at FSU apparently endorsing, perhaps begging for, a move to the Big 12 -- or at least listening to what the conference could bring to the table. And we're back to square one again.
Get ready for a fun summer!
Completely unfounded speculation about the Florida St. Seminoles and an ACC accomplice heading to the Big 12 has now been specifically rebuffed by FSU, but how about from the Big 12's side? For an official statement, we should probably turn to new commish Bob Bowlsby. Or, for an even more official word, Texas Longhorns athletic director DeLoss Dodds.
DeLoss Dodds on Big 12 expansion rumors: "I don't think the Florida State-Clemson thing has any basis at all."— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) May 11, 2012
Add that to the UT and Texas Tech officials cited off the record by Kirk Bohls, and we now have denials from all over. We can probably go ahead and once again declare this one dead for now, just as we did the last time it flared up for absolutely no specific reason.
It's still a fun scenario to play around with, so don't expect the conversation to just up and halt.
Here we have the first official comment or report from pretty much anyone anywhere on the Florida St. Seminoles possibly making a move to the Big 12. And it's a denial, from FSU athletic director Randy Spetman, who tells the Orlando Sentinel he's "not out negotiating."
In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, FSU athletics director Randy Spetman said his programs were "committed to the ACC" and that any conversations about the school switching conferences is pure nonsense.
"We're in the ACC. We're committed to the ACC," Spetman said. "That's where our president and the board of trustees has committed to, so we're great partners in the ACC."
Rumors will persist, of course, since conference realignment moves all the way back to Nebraska have been preceded by official denials. To this point, it's all been speculation, which was sparked again when the ACC revealed its new TV contract, which will bank the Noles and other programs noticeably less than they could make after an entirely hypothetical jump to the Big 12.
Maybe one day we'll look back all this speculation about the Florida St. Seminoles and Clemson Tigers joining the Big 12 and laugh, the way we did when everyone thought Oklahoma was going to join Conference USA. Wait, you don't remember that one? Crazy weekend, man. You should've been there.
Regarding the latest Big 12 rumors, and there are always latest Big 12 rumors to regard, here's Kirk Bohls:
Texas, Texas Tech school officials dismiss rumors of FSU/Clemson possible exit to Big 12. "First I've heard of it," one high-up says.— kbohls (@kbohls) May 10, 2012
Doesn't mean we should take anything completely off the table, though it's sort of weird that it's believed to be on the table to begin with. Unlike almost every other realignment move, this hypothetical one is pretty much a grassroots thing. There's been not a single report from a non-message board outlet that FSU and Clemson are being courted by the Big 12 or vice versa, yet we'll all just keep talking about it.
Maybe we should just, like, pretend it's actually happened. Give the Noles a spot in the Big 12 standings and pretend they're Holiday Bowl-bound sometimes. That might be fun.
Louisville has made no secret of its interest in leaving the Big East and potentially joining the Big 12, and according to reports, those feelings are mutual. Chuck Carlton of The Dallas Morning News reported that the Cardinals are still at the top of the list of potential Big 12 additions should the conference expand beyond its current 10 members. Via @ChuckCarltonDMN:
Regarding Louisville, multiple sources this week indicating Cardinals still atop Big 12 expansion list, for now, if league moves beyond 10.— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) May 10, 2012
The Cardinals also continue to express interest in making a move to the ACC, where they could fill a slot that may be vacated by Florida State. The Seminoles are again rumored as a potential target for Big 12 expansion, but according to Carlton, the Cardinals may join them.
For months now, reports have had the Louisville Cardinals as the Big 12's next target in the event that the Big 12 indeed makes a move for 12 football schools. The Cards tried to swipe the West Virginia Mountaineers' invite, in fact. Now, with the Florida St. Seminoles and Clemson Tigers emerging as widely hypothesized potential additions to the Big 12, Louisville could be in good shape to get what it reportedly wants: out of the Big East.
Andy Katz reports Louisville is making no secrets of its desire to land in either the ACC or the Big 12, meaning a move by the Big 12 into ACC territory could be an all-but guaranteed win for the Cards. Either they could accompany FSU into the Big 12, or they could help shore up football losses in the ACC. Again, all totally scenarios and war-planning, but this could shape up nicely for UL.
The fact that Louisville would prefer to get out of the Big East isn't exactly news. The play they made last fall to try and woo the Big 12 spoke pretty loudly. Tom Jurich being completely up front about that desire, however, is news.
For months, Jurich has made statements along the lines of "we're in the Big East and will do whatever we can to strengthen the Big East going forward, but of course we're still going to keep all of our options open." This was essentially a lengthy euphemism for, "if someone asks, we're bouncing."
Now, with U of L ally John Marinatto having been forced out, there's no reason for Louisville to be polite.
New Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby was introduced at a press conference Friday morning. He admitted he had some "reservations" about leaving the Stanford Cardinal to take over the oft-troubled league, but said he's "enthusiastic and bullish" and impressed with the future stability of the conference, even regarding the "800-pound gorilla" Texas Longhorns.
"Expansion is going to be a point of conversation for us," he said, but added that he has "no preconceived notions" on whether 10, 11 or 12 teams is the right number. The former regime was believed to have kept the BYU Cougars, Cincinnati Bearcats and Louisville Cardinals on the line in the event of a jump to 12 teams, but here we have a whole new regime.
All in all, he made a good impression, which most expected.
Before Stanford, Bowlsby worked for 15 years with the Iowa Hawkeyes. His hire has been hailed by those inside the Big 12 and out, with presidents and athletic directors giving him the same kind of praise as journalists and former colleagues have.
Thought we were done with this, but guess not. Here we are compiling rumors regarding the Florida St. Seminoles and Clemson Tigers leaving the ACC for the Big 12, just in case you were wondering from whence such chatter hails this time around.
So here's the source, the same one that was widely scorned and hooted down last time around. An individual going by the name Honus "The Dude" Sneed at Eer Insider makes a mostly strong claim this week:
Remember that as you read what's below. It's true right now, May 4th, 2012 as I write it, but it may not be true tomorrow.
Clemson and FSU have an agreement in principal to withdraw from the ACC and compete in the Big 12 starting in 2013.
Sounds like quite a leap, and it's hard to imagine what sources a West Virginia blog would have inside either FSU and Clemson or the Big 12 that would enable such a mostly confident report. And it's hard to imagine any school would have an established agreement with a conference that is literally hiring a new commissioner on this very day.
But certain Noles and Tigers backers have indeed tired of the ACC's apparent basketball-first initiative, so the idea will again be popular among certain circles.
Which college teams are in which conferences now, and where will they be next year? Not only do we have all 11 conferences in list form, we've got some projections for the future.
Will the Big 12 remain at 10 teams forever? Of course it won't. Conference football championship games make money, and everybody likes money, and there are TV markets out there to capture. College presidents actually receive physical nourishment from their TV markets. It's grotesque and strange, but it's how they feed.
Big 12 new guy Oliver Luck, athletic director of the West Virginia Mountaineers, talked with David Ubben about conference expansion:
"My recommendation would be to look long and hard at moving up, whether it's to 11 or 12, particularly when you look at how big the SEC is, how big the ACC is going to be, the number that the Big Ten and the Pac-12 are at," Luck told ESPN.com this week. "I think it would be wise to take a long hard look at that because there is some strength in numbers."
In which Baylor fans get creative with the conference realignment story line at the expense of Colorado, all in the name of fun.
The conference realignment train has cooled for the time being, now that Temple's made its way back to the Big East. Let's take a look at what a fine mess we've all gotten ourselves into.
The Big 12 announced Tuesday that it will withhold $12.41 million in revenue from both the Texas A&M Aggies and Missouri Tigers as part of settlements negotiated between both schools for leaving the conference to join the SEC.
Because of various financial items such as direct payments from the NCAA and bowl payouts, A&M will only end up paying the Big 12 $9.31 million, according to reports to the San Antonio Express News.
Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas was quoted in a statement released by the conference:
"This agreement was accomplished through a collegial, respectful process among the Conference, its institutions, and [Texas A&M University/the University of Missouri] that led to a resolution that all parties believe is fair."
Texas A&M will receive an unspecified amount of money related to the Big 12's new contract with Fox and "certain other concessions," per the release. Missouri, on the other hand, had to waive all claims to benefits from the Fox deal and won't get those "certain other concessions." In addition, MU will pay its share of 2011-12 athletic year officiating costs, something it has done in the past at a price of around $500,000.
The Big 12 does not have 12 teams now, and it will not have 12 teams in the future unless it starts adding to its arsenal. The number 12 at this moment is a reference to the invisible 12th planet in our solar system, I think. The Louisville Cardinals and BYU Cougars remain the presumed top candidates for those two spots, with fresh rumors regarding the status of the boys from Provo.
BYU's Rivals site reports the Cougars are "aggressively pursuing" membership in the Big 12, which follows previous reports that BYU's particular stances on certain media issues would prevent such a partnership. According to Deep Shades of Blue, both BYU and Louisville could be added in time for 2013. BYU would join in all sports, according to the report.
BYU is currently independent in football, and Louisville remains one of the Big East's football crown jewels for the time being.
For more on Cougars football, visit BYU blog Vanquish The Foe.
The West Virginia Mountaineers have finally broken up with the Big East, though according to the Big East's statement, it's not exactly clear who's dumping whom. We'd thought WVU was the one leaving the Big East for another, but the Big East says it's "terminating" West Virginia's membership. All this on Valentine's Day, you guys.
All lawsuits and so forth were dismissed. Thank the good Lord we never have to hear about these particular lawsuits again.
This means the Big 12, Big East, and ACC can go on ahead and release their football schedules for 2012 now. The Big 12 is expected to release its within the hour, as it's been more or less ready to go for about two weeks now.
West Virginia will settle with the Big East for an undisclosed amount, which has been reported at $20 million. It's also been reported the Big 12 will pay half of that, and most of the rest will come from money the Big East owed WVU anyway.
For more on the Mountaineers fight to leave the Big East, visit The Smoking Musket. For updates on Big East football, basketball and expansion, visit Big East Coast Bias, and stay tuned to our college conference realignment section.
By multiple accounts, Valentine's Day is the day for the West Virginia Mountaineers to finally flee the clutches of the Big East for the Big 12. The spurned conference will announce soon that WVU has left and will compete in the Big 12 in 2012-2013, CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy reports. He also reports the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers won't leave early for the ACC.
Regarding that $20 million buyout West Virginia owes the Big East for splitting early, the MetroNews reports $2.5 million has already been paid, along with an interesting structure for the next $10 million:
WVU, however, will get half of that payment from the Big 12, sources say. $5 million will be a direct gift while the remaining $5 million will be returned to the Big 12 in future years by WVU taking a smaller payout from the league.
The remaining $7.5 million could be composed of money that the Big East owed West Virginia anyway, meaning the 'Eers could get out of the deal without having to pay much of anything. See what a little lawyerin' and a little patience can get you?
For more on the Mountaineers fight to leave the Big East, visit The Smoking Musket. For updates on Big East football, basketball and expansion, visit Big East Coast Bias, and stay tuned to our college conference realignment section.
Of the $20 million that the West Virginia Mountaineers have been required to pay the Big East in order to leave the conference in 2012, the Big 12 is kicking in half via a $10M loan, according to Austin American-Statesman sports columnist Kirk Bohls.
West Virginia will reportedly repay $5M annually in $1M payments over the next five years while the other $5M will be forgiven.
Earlier, CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reported that the initial report of a $11M/$9M split between the school and the conference was untrue and this seems to back that.
However they worked it out, it's money well spent for the Big 12. They can now go about their business, issue a schedule with the Mountaineers on it and move forward with their new partner.
Meanwhile, the Big East is now scrambling to fill the spot left vacant by West Virginia before Syracuse and Pitt get itchy.
For more on the Mountaineers fight to leave the Big East, visit The Smoking Musket. For updates on Big East football, basketball and expansion, visit Big East Coast Bias, and stay tuned to our college conference realignment section.
The West Virginia Mountaineers' efforts to flee the Big East could finally result in success, according to the Charleston Daily Mail, which says a settlement between the school and the conference has been agreed to. However, Mitch Vingle reports to the contrary.
As further evidence, Texas Tech Red Raiders athletic director Kirby Hocutt says the long-delayed Big 12 football schedule will be released Friday. If so, it will have been delayed at least 11 days by WVU's wrangling with its former conference.
But the Big East could still avoid having Rutgers and Syracuse play each other or some other desperate slapdash. The Boise St. Broncos, whose president Bob Kustra has previously denied they could join the Big East in time for the 2012 season, may actually be able to fill the gap.
CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy reports Boise State has been in touch with the WAC about possibly stowing its non-football sports there if it needs to make a break for the Big East ahead of schedule. Broncos beat writer Brian Murphy concurs.
Either way, it sounds like one thing will finally be out of the way this week.
While it's been reported the West Virginia Mountaineers will pay something like $20 million to escape the Big East in time for the 2012 football season, it's not quite official yet. Thursdsay, the Rhode Island judge hearing the lawsuit by the Big East against WVU (not the West Virginia judge hearing the lawsuit by WVU against the Big East, you see) issued the following statement:
"The result of the Big East/WVU conference with Judge (Michael) Silverstein this morning is that the matter is continued to an unspecified date for another status conference."
"The Rhode Island case continues on a path toward trial, though Judge Silverstein is certainly open to news of a settlement if that happens in the interim. The judge did not disclose anything more specific than that regarding his discussions with the attorneys this morning."
The Big 12's public release of its football schedule is waiting on the WVU situation, with the ACC also waiting thanks to a Mountaineers game against Florida State also in the balance. The Big East obviously has to wait as well, meaning a third of the nation's current BCS conferences are held up by the Morgantown dispute.
With each new update, it looks more and more likely that the West Virginia Mountaineers will play football in the Big 12 and not the Big East in 2012.
Mike Casazza of the Daily Mail is reporting that West Virginia is the midst of a negotiation to pay a "cash value" settlement of $11 million to complete its exit from the Big East.
Earlier in the day, CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reported that West Virginia was close to a $20M buyout with the Big East, though that may include financial considerations beyond an actual buyout payment.
Casazza says the arrangement may be announced as early as Thursday, the same day the school and Big East are supposed to have a conference with Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein regarding their mutual legal action.
The addition of a new Big East member to replace West Virginia in 2012 is mentioned as a possible condition of the deal as well. Otherwise, the conference is left with seven football members in 2012, all of whom will have to scramble to replace WVU on their schedule.
For more on the Mountaineers, visit The Smoking Musket. For updates on Big East football, basketball and expansion, visit Big East Coast Bias, and stay tuned to our college conference realignment section.
According to CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy, who is rarely ever wrong about these things, West Virginia and the Big East have finally sat down to talk about a buyout in the range of $20M, ending their legal battles and allowed the Mountaineers to leave for the Big 12 in 2012.
West Virginia and the Big East Conference are nearing agreement on a settlement worth at least $20 million that would resolve all issues between both parties, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.
The Mountaineers will join the Big 12 for the 2012-13 school year. However, in a bizarre twist, sources told CBSSports.com that West Virginia officials have contacted future Big East members to see if one could join in 2012 instead of 2013.
The move would cause a massive problem for the Big East in the short-term. It would leave the current conference schools with only six league games as well as the last-minute need to replace West Virginia with what would likely be a game against a lesser opponent (read: lost TV exposure).
The Florida State Seminoles were set to host the West Virginia Mountaineers in Tallahassee on Sept. 8 but West Virginia has pulled out of the game, according to a report by Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports.
If you're looking for more evidence West Virginia is likely headed to the Big 12 this fall, the Mountaineers canceled their Sept. 8 game at Florida State, sources told CBSSports.com.
West Virginia originally had its 2012 schedule formatted for eight conference games as a Big East member - that's before TCU's decision to join the Big 12. But if the Mountaineers join the Big 12 this fall, they will have nine conference games and had to drop one contest.
As McMurphy explains, the canceling of this game looks like the Mountaineers are gearing up to join the Big 12 in the 2012 NCAA season. West Virginia will have to pay Florida State $500,000 for pulling out of the game less than 12 months before kickoff, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel.
Florida State athletic director Randy Spetman released the following statement about the game:
We were informed in writing late Friday afternoon of West Virginia University's intention to cancel its 2012 football game with Florida State University scheduled for September 8 in Tallahassee. We are disappointed for our coaches, players and fans that this game will not take place as originally scheduled. We now face the challenge of completing our 2012 schedule just seven months before the start of the season. We will work quickly and diligently to fill the hole on our schedule and will communicate with our season ticket holders and fans as the process moves forward.
Florida State will now be scrambling to fill the early home game, but McMurphy notes that the best replacements might be future ACC members Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
For more on the West Virginia Mountaineers visit SB Nation's West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket. For more on the Florida State Seminoles, visit SB Nation's Seminoles blog Tomahawk Nation. For more college football, visit SB Nation's college football news hub.
While the public still waits to see a 2012 Big 12 football schedule, the conference has released a ten-team schedule to its TV partners, Fox Sports and ABC/ESPN, which includes the West Virginia Mountaineers and TCU Horned Frogs.
The schedule has been passed along per contract requirements with their television partners, says the Star-Telegram. According to a statement by Bob Burda, the Big 12 associate commissioner/communications, the schedule will be released publicly "in the near future."
The public release of the schedule stems from WVU's current legal battle with the Big East Conference, which has refused to allow the school to leave before the 27-month waiting period agreed to in league bylaws. A Rhode Island judge ordered West Virginia and the Big East into nonbinding mediation to resolve their competing lawsuits and an update is expected by Feb. 9.
For more college football, visit SB Nation's college football news hub.
Just how many conference football schedules can one West Virginia team hold up?
While the Louisville Cardinals and BYU Cougars have long been among the two most-reported candidates to join the Big 12 should it expand to a totally logical 12 teams (and a report emerged Wednesday that said the two are very much still in the cross hairs), commissioner Chuck Neinas said after a conference meeting that expansion "could happen down the road."
Neinas said many in the conference like having 10 members as it makes for easy round-robin scheduling. He also said the 2012 football schedule will come out by February 1.
It also means the conference can't have a football championship game, not to mention keeps it out of two more TV markets. Fully expect the Big 12 to make the move to 12 teams at some point, even though it may not be this summer. Remember when the SEC tried to convince you it was cool with 13 teams?
Now that the Navy Midshipmen have officially set sail for the Big East, conference realignment is back on, apparently. This is the worst. Wednesday's latest: the Louisville Cardinals and BYU Cougars could be the next targets for the Big 12, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education's Brad Wolverton.
Those two had been frequently named Big 12 candidates throughout the most recent round of realignment, with Louisville reportedly almost swiping the West Virginia Mountaineers' (eventual) spot and BYU reportedly not seeing eye-to-eye with the Big 12 on scheduling and TV money matters.
The Big 12 would like to lead one to believe it's comfortable with fewer than 12 members, but having fewer than 12 means it can't have a lucrative conference championship game, so we'll believe it when they somehow find a way to never possibly have 12 schools. There's probably no way they can do that, short of having every school that's not already in the Big 12 be shut down, so let's just forever assume they eventually want 12 schools. Cool?
Need a refresher on the latest round of college conference realignment as we enter the 2012 football offseason? You're in luck!
After a false announcement and weeks of delays, the SEC officially announced the Missouri Tigers as their 14th team on Sunday. Mizzou will join the league on July 1, 2012, meaning they'll be good to go as a SEC member for next year's football, basketball and assorted other seasons.
No word yet on which division the Tigers will join, but the East has looked to be the landing spot that would pose the fewest scheduling problems. It's complicated. Mainly, keeping rivalries intact. The SEC's release also makes sure to point out -- while heralding Mizzou as a large, AAU school whose athletic profile fits the league's -- that the Tigers' state borders Tennessee and Kentucky, SEC East states.
A statement from Mizzou's end:
"The Southeastern Conference is a highly successful, stable, premier athletic conference that offers exciting opportunities for the University of Missouri," said Chancellor Brady J. Deaton. "In joining the SEC, MU partners with universities distinguished for their academic programs and their emphasis on student success. The SEC will provide our student-athletes with top flight competition and unparalleled visibility. We came to this decision after careful consideration of the long term best interests of our university. We believe the Southeastern Conference is an outstanding home for the Mizzou Tigers, and we take great pride in our association with this distinguished league."
And here's what the SEC has to say:
"The Presidents and Chancellors of the Southeastern Conference are pleased to welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC," said Dr. Bernie Machen, President of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. "The University of Missouri is a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions."
And now, once the Big East unveils its new collection, we should be done with conference realignment for the time being. Great!
The West Virginia Mountaineers are suing the Big East, which is pretty fun. Sports are fun. Now the Big East has announced it's suing WVU in return, which is also pretty fun, like sports:
@McMurphyCBS Big East filed suit against West Virginia in Superior Court in Rhode Island, seeking WVU to comply w/Big East bylaws
At issue: West Virginia contends it should be able to leave the Big East for the Big 12 before the agreed-upon 27-month waiting period. The Eers feel the Big East just isn't fit anymore -- despite its pending acquisitions of Boise State and other noteworthies -- and that the conference's disrepair should excuse their haste.
The Big East, of course, wants West Virginia to stick around and enjoy this northeastern family atmosphere for just a couple more years. Who could turn that down?
Does WVU have a case for immediate departure from the Big East? And how did any of the Big East's football schools agree to such a poor set of bylaws? Let's take a look.
Hey, did you hear about the lawsuit the West Virginia Mounaineers are raising against the Big East over the matter of when WVU will be allowed to pull its athletic programs from the conference and place them in the Big 12 (full PDF available at Big East Coast Bias, by the way)? Yep, it's happening!
The suit was filed Monday in Monongalia, West Virginia by the WVU Board of Governors on behalf of the school. The core issue: the 2008 bylaws, which would require the Eers to remain in the Big East for another 27 months.
West Virginia contends the Big East has been unstable for more than a decade due to its football/non-football split, non-football schools have the power to enforce football-specific rules onto football schools and the conference is presently collapsing. These things are all true. The suit claims that the Big East is in such "serious jeopardy" that WVU "had no choice but to accept" the Big 12" invitation.
In addition to UConn's moves toward the ACC, WVU alleges the Louisville Cardinals, Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Cincinnati Bearcats have been in touch with the ACC, Big 12, SEC and Big Ten. We knew about Cincy and Louisville with the Big 12 and assumed Rutgers had talked with the ACC and Big Ten, but what's the SEC doing here?
If that part is true, then literally every remaining Big East football school has at least sort of tried to leave the Big East except for that long-time bastion of everything Big East, South Florida.
Hey, what's the worst thing in the world? Conference realignment during football season? Yes! Now, what's the next worst thing in the world? Lawsuits, maybe? Good thing nobody's thought to combine them in a really long tiOH NOOO:
At issue: the West Virginia Mountaineers want to leave the Big East for the 2012 season, while the Big East wants to hold WVU to that 27-month waiting period. The battle lines were instantly and publicly drawn right here, though there's also a report that the Mountaineers are willing to pay more than four times the Big East's $5 million exit fee in order to realign.
So ... yeah. Just when conference realignment looked to be settling down for a while, it looks like we're guaranteed another saga. Really just wish the Big East would realize we're talking about West Virginia, a state that once successfully seceded from a seceded state. They're pretty good at disassociating with stuff.
When asked how the West Virginia Mountaineers were going to become a Big 12 school by July 2012 when the Big East requires teams to give 27-month notice, the school president told reporters, "Our team and their team are in discussions about how we make that happen."
That's news to the Big East, who says they are not in any kind of negotiation for an early departure and don't plan to start one anytime soon.
Big East puzzled by WVU's notion that they're negotiating an exit. They haven't talked about it. Don't plan to, either.
Big East won't be bought out by WVU because its a bad precedent for Pitt/Syr. Confident in their legal standing.
Not only is West Virginia using the July 2012 date but the Big 12 Conference is as well, which means either both parties have a trick up their sleeve or we're about to see the first big legal battle of conference realignment commence.
Expect Syracuse and Pitt to keep a close eye on how this develops.
Pete Thamel followed the West Virginia University press conference Friday where AD Oliver Luck and the school's president made it clear that they are not only leaving the Big East for the Big 12, but they have no intention of sticking around for 27 months before doing so.
Luck said it twice: "We’re excited and look forward to July 1 2012 and joining the Big 12 conference."
WVU President on BE buyout: "Our team and their team are in discussions about how we make that happen."
WVU President said that they wired $2.5 million to the Big East in Providence today.
If and when West Virginia figures out how to leave the Big East early (which will likely just be a matter of money), expect Syracuse and Pitt to try and make the same move as they desperately want out of the conference as soon as possible.
The difference between WVU's situation and SU/Pitt's situation is that the Big 12 will need West Virginia to make sure they keep ten teams in the conference, assuming Missouri leaves.
Big 12 expansion turned up a piece of SEC expansion news on Friday. The West Virginia Mountaineers' realignment from the Big East resulted in a Big 12 statement that listed the conference's expected roster for the coming athletic year:
Beginning with the 2012-13 season it is expected that the Big 12 Conference will be comprised of 10 Universities - Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Big 12's footprint will encompass five states with over 36 million people.
Yep, no Missouri Tigers. Couple that with the SEC's accidental announcement of Mizzou on Thursday night, and we can consider this a DEAL THAT IS DONE AND SHOULD JUST BE ANNOUNCED so we can all move on and enjoy college football games.
What do you get when you combine the Big 12 and the Big East? You're witnessing it, that's for sure. Friday, the West Virginia Mountaineers confirmed they'll leave the Big East, adding that they'll do so on July 1, 2012. That date means they won't stick around for the entire 27-month waiting period the Big East has imposed on former Big East refugees Pitt and Syracuse.
Yeah, the same 27-month waiting period the Big East says it's enforcing on WVU:
This move by West Virginia does not come as a surprise.
League officials, members of our conference and the candidate schools to whom we have been talking were aware of this possibility. We have taken West Virginia's possible departure into account as we have moved forward with our own realignment plans.
West Virginia is fully aware that the Big East Conference is committed to enforcing the 27-month notification period for members who choose to leave the conference.
We are confident that in the coming weeks we will complete our own realignment program, adding a number of high-quality members to remain among the top conferences in both football and basketball.
For what it's worth, the Big 12 agrees with West Virginia, saying the 'Eers will join for 2012's seasons.
The Pittsburgh Panthers and Syracuse Orange are tied to the Big East for 27 months (well, more like 26 by now) and were supposed to have to pay $5 million in exit fees in order to join the ACC. The West Virginia Mountaineers were looking at the same deal, now that they're on their way to the Big 12 at some point.
But according to Patrick Southern of BlueGoldNews.com, both Pitt and WVU could be looking to pay four times that in order to leave early. Southern reports a $21 million exit fee payment would allow the two schools to leave the Big East well before that 27-month period ends.
No word on if Cuse can expect the same deal, but that'd be pretty dumb if they couldn't, if this is all accurate.
If this is the Big East's plan, it could be one of the few smart moves they've made. They'd get to unload some schools that don't want to stay, add some that do, pick up some cash and completely re-brand during one offseason, instead of morphing over a quarter of a decade into something entirely different.
The West Virginia Mountaineers will leave the Big East for the Big 12, the scorned conference confirmed Friday morning after reports from multiple outlets. The move, whenever it happens (the world is waiting, Mizzou), will take the Big 12 to 10 teams and drop the Big East to some crunched-up croutons, a couple of which are pretty good at sports.
The Big 12 reportedly wants to hold steady at 10, which could be good news for the Big East. If they're able to keep the Louisville Cardinals and their four other football schools, that would mean the reported onboarding of Boise State, UCF and a host of others could bring them to a stabler 12.
West Virginia will have to pay $5 million in exit fees, not $10 million, since the increase depended on Navy or Air Force joining before anybody left.
More to come! Hopefully this is all almost done, so not too much more to come! But more to come!
The West Virginia Mountaineers will leave the Big East for the Big 12, according to CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy, who's now been joined in reporting the news by the New York Times' Pete Thamel and WVU local outlet Metronews. Two of the most respected national college sports writers, along with a local source, makes for a pretty convincing set of evidence.
Or at least it would, if we hadn't gone through exactly the same thing earlier in the week before politics politicked.
Thamel adds the detail that the Louisville Cardinals found out at about 9 am ET Friday morning that they wouldn't be invited, just moments before McMurphy broke the news. The Big 12 reportedly had a 7 am ET call on the matter.
Now it all, once again, depends on the Missouri Tigers, who are absolutely, definitely going to leave the Big 12 for the SEC. But not yet. Their exit will help determine when exactly WVU can join.
Feel like we just said all this earlier in the week, but here we go again: the West Virginia Mountaineers will join the Big 12, CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy reported Friday morning. This is an entirely different report than the last round, which saw McMurphy, Pete Thamel and local WVU beat writers report the move as a done deal before politicians got involved and the Big 12 decided to take a few days and think about it.
(That's on the Big 12, not on lovely West Virginia or any of these fine reporters.)
McMurphy reports the conference won't also bring on the Louisville Cardinals at this point and will remain at 10 teams. It's been reported the Texas Longhorns would prefer to remain at 10, while others in the conference like the idea of being able to hold a conference championship game.
It's hard to imagine McMurphy reporting this as done after the Big 12 already changed its mind once, but let's still presume it's not a 100 percent done deal just yet.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive has long held to the claim that the SEC is satisfied to have 13 teams for the 2012 season. Mark Richt, John Calipari, Tennessee's athletic director and other dignitaries around the conference have raised eyebrows at the assertion, pointing out what a pretty number 14 is.
Our transition team is working on schedules for 13 and 14 [members]. We'll know when we know. There's no timetable for us. I know everybody is anxious to know where things stand with conference realignment, especially with all this activity out there. With respect to the SEC, I have really nothing new to add, at least at this time.
For the experienced Sliveologist, this reads as closely to an admission that team No. 14 is on its way as anything short of an official announcement possibly could.
Jay Rockefeller is Stanford, Mitch McConnell is Oklahoma State and David Boren is the coach who should have hung it up a long time ago.
Turns out, the way to ensure a school gets its way in conference realignment is to just muddy up the situation a bit. After Wednesday's cat fight between Louisville and West Virginia -- two schools, one invitation, a whole lot of arguing -- the Big 12 may now bring both schools on. By the end of the day, lawmakers were involved, congressional investigations were threatened and now, perhaps, we have some kind of resolution.
The report comes from Chuck Carlton and makes me want to hug something.
Because of the messy, awkward situation, two sources say Big 12 might consider Louisville and WVU together as a compromise.
A compromise in realignment! This can't be real. It just can't.
Whether or not this happens remains to be seen. The Big 12 is hoping to end its expansion quest when it reaches 10 schools, but inviting both West Virginia and Louisville would put the conference at 11 -- or, one away from an accurate name.
Missouri is, once again, the key here. Whenever the Tigers opt to leave for the SEC, the Big 12 will have two open spots. Thus, the two invitations and, perhaps, the compromise.
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin will be holding a press conference at 6 p.m. to discuss the hold up of West Virginia's potential move to the Big 12 and the rumors that politicians and other high-ranking people are reaching out to the Big 12 on behalf of Louisville.
"If these outrageous reports have any merit – and especially if a United States Senator has done anything inappropriate or unethical to interfere with a decision that the Big 12 had already made – then I believe that there should be an investigation in the U.S. Senate, and I will fight to get the truth," Senator Manchin said. "West Virginians and the American people deserve to know exactly what is going on and whether politics is interfering with our college sports."
West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller also issued a statement.
"The Big 12 picked WVU on the strength of its program -- period. Now the media reports that political games may upend that. That's just flat wrong. I am doing and will do whatever it takes to get us back to the merits."
I'd say this could get ugly, but, we past ugly a long time ago.
After it was reported on Tuesday that the West Virginia Mountaineers' move to the Big 12 Conference was a done deal, the school now finds itself in "a holding pattern", Pete Thamel of the New York Times reports.
Thamel reports that the Louisville Cardinals have made an 11th hour push, which has been aided by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, to join the Big 12 Conference on Tuesday night.
"I think it's 50-50 right now between West Virginia and Louisville," Thamel's source says.
Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman reports that the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Tech Red Raiders both prefer to invite Louisville to the conference over West Virginia, who called off a scheduled press conference for this afternoon where they were presumably expected to announce the school's intent to join the Big 12.
It appears that another program is about to leave the car crash that is the football portion of the Big East. What awaits West Virginia in the Big 12, and what happens to the other Big East remnants?
According to a press release by West Virginia University, there will not be a press conference tomorrow to announce the Mountaineers will be joining the Big 12. In an official release, the school stated the following:
"Contrary to media reports, there is no press conference scheduled for Wed. concerning West Virginia University's athletic conference affiliation. There are no further comments at this time."
This directly contradicts a report by Mitch Vingle stating that WVU to the Big 12 was a done deal and would be announced on Wednesday. Much of this was predicated on the thought that the Missouri Tigers would be announcing their leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, which in turn would send WVU to the Big 12 as rumored. According to the university however, that doesn't seem to be the case.
As far as I know, here we have the first instance of a SEC official confirming reports of the Missouri Tigers making moves to join the SEC. Multiple SEC administrators, athletic directors and coaches have commented contrary to Mike Slive's line that the league is happy sitting at 13 teams, but none of them have specifically remarked in the positive regarding Mizzou.
Here's LSU chancellor Michael Martin, noted around here for his #realtalk propensity:
The West Virginia Mountaineers will reportedly declare for the Big 12 on Wednesday. If they're really waiting on Missouri to decide before taking that leap, then the Tigers could announce Tuesday night. If, if, if.
Well now. Just hours after reports emerged that the West Virginia Mountaineers will bolt from the Big East for the Big 12, here's beat writer Mitch Vingle reporting a Wednesday press conference to announce WVU as the Big 12's 10th member:
Also, if the timelines are correct, that means the Missouri Tigers should announce they'll leave the Big 12 either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, since their presence was WVU's primary impediment. Right?
Not all schools take this as slowly as Mizzou does, at least. The Big 12 also grabbed TCU out of nowhere, and Syracuse and Pittsburgh both left for the ACC before anybody knew they were gone, almost literally.
The Big East will be down to five football schools upon WVU's exit.
For more on the 'Eers, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket. And stay tuned here for more .
Here's the second report of the day that the West Virginia Mountaineers will soon leave the Big East for the Big 12, and the second to note the Missouri Tigers holdup is the primary impediment. CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy reports WVU will get an invitation once Mizzou is cleared out, with his tweet on the matter adding a 24-to-48-hour window for that invite.
Pete Thamel of the New York Times reports West Virginia has already applied and been accepted, meaning the formal invite would come after Mizzou leaves.
The Mountaineers will have to pay a $5 million exit fee if they leave the Big East, or a $10 million fee if they leave once the Navy Midshipmen or Air Force Falcons join, according to an agreement the Big East reached just a couple weeks ago. Hence the hurry.
Once again, all eyes turn to Missouri, where chancellor Brady Deaton appears to just be waiting on legal whatnot to be straightened out before announcing the Tigers will pull out of the Big 12.
For more on the 'Eers, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket. And stay tuned here for more .
Big 12 expansion rumors have long pegged either the West Virginia Mountaineers or Louisville Cardinals as the likeliest program to catch a lifeboat away from the flailing Big East. Just picture a boat sinking while flailing. Why does it have arms! The Big East is like that.
While a report broke Tuesday in the New York Post that WVU will get the call-up, 'Eers fans remain cautious -- not to mention wishing the SEC had pounced first. But, of course, just about anything is better than the Big East.
We turned to WVUIE97 of the excellent West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket for insight from the Mountain State:
If this report that WVU is headed to the Big XII is true, it would be a welcome relief to WVU fans and administrators. The Big East is viewed by most as an unsavable sinking ship with little to no stability. The fans just want out and into a better situation. The Big XII may not be the most stable conference out there (they are at least addressing concerns), but it is a far-and-away better option than remaining in the Big East. Travel would be an issue for fans and even more so for the non-revenue sports, but the added benefits vastly outweigh the negatives.
As far as the marquee sports of football and basketball, WVU would be able to compete, and fans are already looking forward to a more attractive home football schedule and better bowl options. The SEC was and still is the first choice by many fans on our site and most others I know, but it seems that numbers of television sets mean more than a solid program/athletic department on the rise, and that's a shame.
For more on the 'Eers, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket. And stay tuned here for more .
Whenever the Missouri Tigers get around to actually leaving the Big 12, the West Virginia Mountaineers will be next up, according to the New York Post's Lenn Robbins. WVU, along with the Louisville Cardinals and BYU Cougars, has long been an object of the Big 12's reported desire (reported desires!).
Robbins also notes the Big 12 could expand to as many as 16 teams, which sounds more believable than the 10-team vision the conference has been attempting to sell.
Mighty damaging blow for the Big East, which would lose a better football program and fan base than Syracuse or Pitt and be down to -- gulp -- Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, USF and Rutgers in football.
The conference's reported plans to pick up the Boise St. Broncos, Navy Midshipmen, Air Force Falcons, SMU Mustangs, Houston Cougars and Central Florida Knights would not only fall short of the 12 they're after, meaning they'd need to reconsider the Temple Owls or try harder to recruit the Army Black Knights, I'm not sure if it would be strong enough to remain a BCS conference.
For more on the 'Eers, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket. And stay tuned here for more .
The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors held a regularly-scheduled meeting today in Dallas to discuss a wide range of topics.
The biggest topic of discussion had to be the Missouri Tigers, who are in the process of deciding whether or not to leave the Big 12 for the SEC. Many expect Mizzou to make the move this week. However, if they're going to leave the Big 12, they haven't done it yet.
Intermim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas just told The Star that Missouri did not submit a letter of conditional withdrawal nor did it notify the Big 12 on Monday of its plans to leave the Big 12.
According to the statement released after the meeting, "a strong desire for the University of Missouri to maintain its Big 12 affiliation was expressed." Missouri did have a representative present.
The Board also discussed including NCAA legislation, the Bowl Championship Series, and an exploration of a Conference dedicated TV network.
In a move that could cripple the Big East even further, Notre Dame is reportedly mulling whether to pull out of the conference amid the growing chaos. Notre Dame's football team remains independent, but the rest of its sports have been housed in the Big East. But with the future of the conference unclear -- multiple teams have left and the football side is in shambles -- the Fighting Irish could be set to bolt.
The report comes from Chip Brown, who floats the Big 12 as a possible landing spot.
Sources tell Orangebloods.com Notre Dame will decide in 60 days if it will move non-fball sports out of Big East (possibly to Big 12).
Of course, the big prize has always been the Irish's football team, but this may be another situation where Notre Dame stashes its non-football sports in a conference and stays independence. Or Notre Dame may decide to stay put and hope the Big East stays afloat amid the shifting conference landscape. As with everything in conference expansion, what happens next is a bit unclear.
Monday could be decision day for Missouri as the Tigers mull their future conference affiliation. Missouri has been steadily taking the necessary steps to leave the Big 12 and join another conference, likely the SEC, over the course of the last few weeks, including last week's vote to give the chancellor the power to make all alignment decisions. If the reports are true, Monday could be the day Missouri walks away from its current conference.
According to Chip Brown, the Big 12 is already exploring options for life after Missouri.
Sources tell Orangebloods.com West Va has slight edge on Louisville to replace Missouri in Big 12. Mizzou decision to leave could come Mon.
If Missouri decides to pull out of the Big 12, one would reasonably expect an invitation to the SEC to follow. From there, the Tigers would accept and the Big 12 would then have to work to fill the vacancies. The conference realignment wheel spins again.
Following the news that the Missouri Tigers have conducted some formalities that pretty much mean they're gone for the SEC, it's time to think about what this means for the Big 12. The conference is now back down to nine schools (counting TCU) for next year, three shy of what it would take to hold a football title game.
The West Virginia Mountaineers and Louisville Cardinals have been widely reported as the top two targets, while reports are all over the place regarding the BYU Cougars. One report indicated the Big 12's TV partners were uncomfortable with BYU, but the school admits it's been in touch.
But if Mizzou is leaving in 2012, as the Tigers have said they plan to if they do, in fact, leave, BYU could emerge as an even better choice. Big East schools are locked in for 27 months, meaning the Big 12 would have to remain at an awkward nine teams for a couple years until receiving reinforcements. Adding BYU now would establish an even 10 and hold the fort, so to speak, until the two eastern schools arrived.
All just a scenario, of course.
For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. And stay tuned here for more .
After announcing chancellor Brady Deaton had been granted power to make decisions about conference alignment, the Missouri Tigers board of curators answered questions from assembled media. They did not answer very many questions about UM's new retirement plan, but they did get one about the school's search for a new president.
Almost all of the queries related to conference realignment. Almost all answers amounted to, "Wait and see what Deaton comes up with." One of the few specific answers they did give was about when they expect to join their new conference.
Despite Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas' insistence that the Tigers will remain for another year, Missouri said they expect to play in their elected conference in 2012.
Calculate it at 99 percent certainty that Missouri will soon announce Deaton has decided the school's athletic programs will leave the Big 12. Then there's paperwork to file, and there are council of elders meetings to hold, and there's a show of caution to be made.
But no school empowers an administrator to make a decision about conference realignment unless it's made a decision about conference realignment.
For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. And stay tuned here for more .
The University of Missouri's long-awaited Board of Curators meeting concluded Friday, followed by a press conference at which curators announced a unanimous resolution to delegate authority to chancellor Brady Deaton to seek new conference affiliation.
Further, the Missouri Tigers announced an initiative to create a local basketball tournament and football game in Kansas City against a local rival. Slick move, as it shows Mizzou's intent to continue rivalries with the Kansas Jayhawks in the event of a move to the SEC, plus assures Kansas City of a continued Missouri presence. KU had previously worried about the continuation of the series if the Tigers left the Big 12.
If you didn't decide to watch the conference online, you missed out on some exciting details about Mizzou's new retirement plan and fiscal budget review and the search for a new school president. I hope you can find the important facts about these matters via your favorite search engine.
Step one is now finally done. Expect Mizzou to formally withdraw from the Big 12 in like a thousand years and then be invited into the SEC a thousand years after that and at some point, after much discussion and consternation, begrudgingly accept. This could all happen like right now, but there's a process.
For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. And stay tuned here for more .
The University of Missouri's board of curators* is in the middle of a three-day hem-and-haw over important things, one of which is widely believed to be a decision on whether to leave the Big 12. The last time a Mizzou board of curators meeting was met with such wide belief, it did produce an announcement that they're looking at their conference options.
Any vote would be a mere formality, as are all votes in conference realignment. You don't vote on it unless you know it will pass.
If a vote comes, Power Mizzou reports it will likely be Friday, while some sort of reciprocation from the SEC shouldn't be expected until next week or later.
* My favorite thing about conference realignment, or should I say the only fun thing about conference realignment, has been seeing college football fans learn to do the math on what a "board of curators" means in Texas A&M or Alabama terms. They should all be called councils of elders, like a sci fi movie.
For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. And stay tuned here for more .
TCU to the Big 12? Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC? Everybody to the Mountain USA? What has the recent realignment drama done to the actual balance of power on the college football field?
Pete Thamel of the New York Times has reported what many have expected for a while now: the Missouri Tigers are on their way to becoming a member of the SEC. But what about the Big 12? How does the Big 12 feel about all this?
Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas told CBS Sports he's "not heard anything" that would give him the impression Mizzou's about to bolt. Nor had he, at the time, yet read the Times report. Neinas also says he feels Missouri's next Board of Curators meeting regards the appointment of a new systems president, not conference realignment.
Neinas is more on top of things than certain other conference commissioners of whom we could speak. He may not have the latest information, but he's also got a backup plan in case the Tigers do split. Expect the Big 12 to bring on one to three schools in order to get back to double digits soon.
For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. And stay tuned here for more .
The New York Times' Pete Thamel is reporting that Missouri’s decision to apply for membership to the SEC was "inevitable and imminent." This was according to a source who does not know a specific timetable for the application.
Missouri’s Board of Curators, who signed off on the school's official exploration of conference realignment, will meet on Thursday and Friday at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. It is thought that the process of withdrawing from the Big 12 Conference and applying to the SEC will begin then.
According to Thamel's source, Missouri is confident they have enough votes from SEC schools to join the conference.
If they do, then they will become the 14th member of the SEC, joining Texas A&M, who just left the Big 12 for the SEC.
The move could also set off a chain reaction in the Big East, where schools such as Louisville and West Virginia are considered candidates for expansion. The loss of Missouri would leave the Big 12 with 9 members for 2012. They could choose to replace Missouri with one school or they could bring on three to return to the number in the conference name.
BYU has also been mentioned as a candidate for Big 12 expansion.
For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. And stay tuned here for more .
The Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies will play on Thanksgiving Day in football, and then on various other days in various other sports that probably have schedules freely available on the Internet and accessible via Google. After that, they won't play each other in football again until 2018 at the earliest due to Texas' plans to stick to its current non-conference schedule.
A&M will leave the Big 12 for the SEC in 2012, in case you're just now joining us.
To be sure, non-conference schedules can be broken. For example, this year's Chick-fil-A game between the Boise St. Broncos and Georgia Bulldogs required both teams, plus the Louisville Cardinals and North Carolina Tar Heels, to rearrange their schedules, and all on short notice to boot. Texas could very easily buy out a couple of non-conference games years down the road to make room for their longtime rivals.
Thus, this is a pretty clear shot at the Aggies, and not anything Texas was forced into doing. Not that I'm judging Texas for having the last word here.
Holmoe, as recorded by the Salt Lake Tribune:
Asked if BYU would accept a Big 12 invitation if one were extended, Holmoe declined to answer.
"I can't say that, because if you don't receive an invitation, it is hard to say, ‘what if.' You can't say. That's just speculation," Holmoe said.
BYU has made it clear that it likes the terms of its football independence, and certain special concessions may decrease the odds of the Cougars joining a conference. They've long been rumored to be in talks with the Big 12, but as far as I know this is the first instance of a Brigham Young official confirming those reports.
For more, stay tuned to SB Nation's conference realignment news section.
Remember when Boston College Eagles athletic director Gene DeFilippo apologized for claiming ESPN had told the ACC which teams to add in conference realignment? The Salt Lake Tribune's Jay Drew reports the Big 12 turned down the BYU Cougars for pretty much the same reason:
Why did the league do a sudden about-face, when for more than a month it was reportedly targeting BYU?
Blame it on television. Specifically, the Big 12's current TV partners - ABC/ESPN and Fox Sports Media Group.
Reportedly at issue: BYU's stance against playing sports on Sundays. The Cougars also wanted national air time guarantees and the ability to air some football games on BYUtv, according to the report.
These hangups are all kind of beside the bigger point, which is that here's a second conference reportedly realigning with ESPN and other TV partners looking over its shoulder.
Stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.
No, the Missouri Tigers aren't joining the Big East. They're still pondering whether to join the SEC, while the Big East is still pondering anything and everything related to sports and non-sports. However, both Mizzou and the Big East are reportedly not quite ready to make any major realignment moves. And that's what this update is about.
According to the Kansas City Star's Mike DeArmond, Mizzou media gets the sense that little will come on the Missouri-to-SEC-or-Big 12 front until next Friday at the earliest. There's a curators' meeting scheduled for that day, though it's not necessarily focused on conference realignment.
The Big East is set to vote on increasing exit fees Friday according to the Sporting News, a critical step in the expansion process. The Navy Midshipmen, for one, would reportedly prefer to see a solidified league first. It's also worth noting the Louisville Cardinals could reportedly sit out the vote. They're the No. 1 Big 12 expansion candidate at the moment, according to the New York Times' Pete Thamel and others.
The other shoe we're all waiting for: the Missouri Tigers, who must choose between the Big 12 and the SEC. And we might be waiting a long time, according to new Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas, who says Mizzou will have until the end of the 2011-12 academic year to make up its mind. And according to Neinas, the Tigers will remain in the conference next season either way, presumably meaning they wouldn't join the SEC until 2013 if they do decide to split.
Neinas also says there's no consensus on whether to stay at 10 or grow to 12. The Louisville Cardinals, West Virginia Mountaineers and BYU Cougars have been the most frequently mentioned candidates for those last spots, if expansion continues.
The Big 12 is set to have 10, with the addition of the TCU Horned Frogs making up for Texas A&m's exit, numerically at least. Don't expect the conference to remain short of 12 for much longer than one season, though, as that rules out a lucrative conference title game.
"The Big 12 Presidents and Chancellors are pleased to welcome TCU to the Big 12," noted Burns Hargis, Chair of the Big 12 Board of Directors and president of Oklahoma State University. "The addition of TCU gives us a prestigious institution with great academics, strong financial support, outstanding athletic tradition, and a perfect geographic fit. We have been working tirelessly to build an even stronger Conference and think this is an extremely positive step."
TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte, who reportedly got teary-eyed while making the announcement, mentioned that the school will take care of the $5M exit fee for joining the Big East for a couple of months through athletic department revenue.
In terms of football schedule, TCU expects to just slide into the schedule that Texas A&M is vacating when they join the SEC.
Oh right, the Missouri Tigers and the SEC. It's been a few days since anything Mizzou has emerged on the conference realignment front. Here's something: the Associated Press reports it obtained a university memo that shows the Missouri athletic department could make up to $12 million more in renegotiated conference TV money by going to the SEC instead of staying in the Big 12.
That's important, and it's also important that Mizzou wants you to know about these financial figures, or so it appears.
Leaving the Big 12 could make the Tigers look like they're turning their backs on the Kansas Jayhawks and other rivals. But they can't come right out and say they'd have to excuse themselves from $120 million over the next decade in order to remain linked to KU. Making the press aware of such an aggressive estimate is a hands-clean way to get the word out.
Read this one differently if you'd like, but this seems like another strong sign that Missouri is putting more and more pressure on the Big 12 as it considers a move to the SEC.
The Big East has finally gotten around to deciding on expansion. The votes are in, and ... they'll expand! This is great news, considering they were just a Big 12 poaching or two away from completely vanishing as a football conference. Better late than never.
As has long been the buzz, the Navy Midshipmen and Air Force Falcons are expected to be two prime candidates, according to USA Today's Kelly Whiteside, along with perhaps the Army Black Knights. But only football for Army.
Also according to Whiteside, the Louisville Cardinals and West Virginia Mountaineers are likely to stick around instead of leaving for the Big 12. That could mean the Big 12 would turn its focus to the BYU Cougars and maybe even the Boise St. Broncos. It's not an October conference realignment story if it doesn't involve Boise State somehow.
Update: "Major announcement" at 7 pm ET Monday.
The TCU Horned Frogs are going to join the Big 12 next year. They won't join the Big East, and they won't return to the Mountain West. We know all these things. Now we just need to know these things, if you know what I'm saying.
TCU's board of trustees is expected to meet early this week, with an official proclamation of the Horned Frogs' move coming shortly after, as Stefan Stevenson of the Star-Telegram reports:
One source in TCU's athletic department said the meeting could happen Monday morning, leaving the possibility that an announcement could come as soon as Monday afternoon. But another suggested a 5 p.m. meeting could likely set up a Tuesday announcement.
Both TCU and the Big 12 have already announced that an invitation has been made, which means a solid agreement is in place. There's not even any haggling left to do here, as TCU has already agreed to the conference's six-year media deal. This is a mere formality. Expect an announcement of an announcement soon.
You've been wondering all week...what does the Kansas City Sports Commission think of the possibility that Missouri could leave the Big 12 Conference?
They're not too pleased, actually.
The KC Sports Commission and Convention and Visitor’s Bureau wrote an open letter to Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton imploring him to consider, among other things, the rivalry and economic impact that the region will feel if the Tigers became an SEC school.
"We know that many factors must be considered, including the academic, financial, and alumni relations implications of your decision. And, of course, the history and future of your University’s athletic program.
"That program, as you know, has Midwestern roots more than a century old… We cannot imagine the University of Missouri’s athletics tilting away from this region and the athletic history to which they have contributed so mightily."
You can read the entire letter here. It's a good reminder about the far-reaching impact of conference realignment. It's not just affecting schools and conferences but towns, cities and local governments as well.
We have various lists of candidates for the next spot aboard the good ship Big 12, which is perfectly stable and watertight and will remain so forever. Most of those lists begin with the BYU Cougars, but the New York Times' Pete Thamel reports the Louisville Cardinals may be first in line if the Missouri Tigers leave for the SEC.
And it wouldn't be a conference realignment story if the Notre Dame Fighting Irish weren't mentioned. According to Chip Brown, whose name has now appeared 25 times in this StoryStream so far, the Texas Longhorns are again trying to court the Irish, but only for non-football sports.
Notre Dame values its sacred football independence, because its football independence has a lot of value $$$$$$$$$$$$$$, but depositing its other sports somewhere safe (or at least safer than the Big East) could be a good idea.
Soon, the TCU Horned Frogs will announce they'll join the Big 12 in 2012. Now one is left wondering which teams the conference will add to get back up to a full 12. At the moment, they're set to have 10, but the Missouri Tigers could leave at any moment. If you think the league be content to forego a football championship game, you're nuts, so let's assume a two- or three-pack is still in waiting.
Consulting the same list of schools that's been reported by one or another outlet for the past couple months, here are the remaining candidate rumors: the BYU Cougars, Boise St. Broncos, Cincinnati Bearcats, Louisville Cardinals and West Virginia Mountaineers. And various smaller Texas schools and Tulane (lol).
Smaller Texas schools are right out, you'd have to assume, and let's not pick on Tulane. Here's a pair of reports that have made their way out this week: Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com cites BYU, Louisville and Cincy and Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World lists BYU, West Virginia and Tulane (COME ON). For what it's worth, the Oklahoman's Travis Haney mentions BYU, Louisville and West Virginia, but doesn't appear to be framing that as a report.
Lotta BYU, friends.
Stay tuned for more conference realignment news.
See anything interesting in the Big 12's announcement that it will expand by adding the TCU Horned Frogs? First, congratulations to TCU, which competed and boardroom'd its way from the WAC in 1997 and into its region's power football conference alongside the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners.
But on to the release:
Acting upon a unanimous recommendation of its expansion subcommittee, the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors has authorized negotiations with Texas Christian University to become the Conference's 10th member, and instructed interim commissioner Chuck Neinas to immediately begin discussions with TCU.
The action of the Board was without dissent. On the advice of legal counsel, The University of Missouri did not participate in the vote.
It was unanimous, meaning the Baylor Bears had no problem taking TCU away from the Big East after complaining loud and long about other conferences removing Texas A&M from the Big 12. You'll also note the Missouri Tigers didn't participate, as they're currently teetering between the Big 12 and the SEC.
Likewise, here's TCU chancellor Victor Boschini:
These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU. It will allow us to return to old rivalries, something our fans and others have been advocating for many years. As always, we must consider what's best for TCU and our student-athletes in this ever-changing landscape of collegiate athletics. We look forward to continuing these discussions with the Big 12.
It's not official official yet, but there's no way the Big 12 and TCU would announce it if it's not a done deal.
According to multiple reports from both the Big East side and the Texas side, the TCU Horned Frogs will forego Big East membership and instead join the Big 12. So what about the Big 12's other piece of big news? Could they announce both TCU and another team will join?
Don't expect it yet, says the Austin-American Statesman's Kirk Bohls, who reported the TCU move at the same time as CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy. Bohls says the TCU deal isn't dependent on the Missouri Tigers one way or the other -- we're talking about a conference that's lost three schools already, so adding one doesn't change a whole lot as far as future plans go.
The more likely other announcement will be the formal, official introduction of a six-year media deal that will also rule out the Longhorn Network showing high school games, as has been reported.
The list of rumored future Big 12 targets is the same as it has been: Boise State, BYU and various western-ish Big East teams. And probably not SMU.
So this was probably at least one of the Big 12's big Thursday announcements, right? It would be pretty great if the conference actually had two very important things to announce that were nowhere near as big as picking up the TCU Horned Frogs from the Big East.
The New York Times' Pete Thamel reports the Big East was notified Thursday morning of TCU's intent to leave for the Big 12. Thamel also reports that TCU has scheduled a board meeting and will likely make the announcement soon.
The Horned Frogs will have to pay a $5 million exit fee in order to nix their relocation to the Big East, but they won't be subject to the same 27-month waiting period that struck Syracuse and Pitt upon the announcement of their ACC jaunt. This is because TCU was never actually a Big East team. That's pretty sad.
After losing three (and maybe four) teams to other conferences over the past two years, the Big 12 is finally making moves of its own. According to CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy, who's been rock solid on all matters relating to Big East realignment, the TCU Horned Frogs have been invited to join the Big 12 and are expected to accept. The Austin-American Stateman's Kirk Bohls says the deal should be finalized "over the next few days."
TCU had planned to join the Big East in 2012, but continued shakiness in that conference made a move closer to home the safer pick. The Big 12 needs stability, too, so such a move would be a win-win all round.
The Big 12 likely won't be done after this move, since they still must await the fate of the Missouri Tigers. In a way, bringing on TCU could even help steer Mizzou back toward their current home conference and away from the SEC, since it doesn't sound like the Tigers are quite as smitten with the southeast as many had thought.
Well, now we're getting somewhere. The Texas Longhorns' private television network, the Longhorn Network, will be remembered as the last straw in the great conference realignment straw pile of 2011. Among the many perceived outrages it loosed upon the rest of the Big 12, none provoked more discord than the Texaswide Leader's attempt to broadcast high school football games.
As Chip Brown first reported and Chuck Carlton confirmed, it looks like the Horns have backed off. Giving up the network's prime recruiting advantage for six years, though that deal could last as long as 13, according to Brown -- the same six-year period covered by the Big 12's new media rights sharing deal -- would mean a lot for conference stability, perhaps even beyond the course of that agreement.
This certainly means the Missouri Tigers will stay and Texas A&M will change its mind. No. Actually, Mizzou's exit doesn't seem quite as certain as it did just a couple days ago.
For more, visit Texas blog Burnt Orange Nation.
The Missouri Tigers want into the SEC -- well, they'd deign to accept such an invitation -- and according to Jon Solomon, most SEC schools want Mizzou as well. But the Tigers need nine votes to make it in, and according to the report, they don't quite have it yet.
Here's Solomon in the Birmingham News:
One source said there's a group of presidents that wants to sit tight, believing the SEC can do better than Missouri and that No. 14 should come from the East. According to both sources, Alabama wants to look East and not risk losing its annual game against Tennessee, while Auburn favors adding Missouri and moving to the Eastern Division.
That divisional alignment thing is going to be a pickle. Both Auburn and Alabama have rivalries to protect (vs. Georgia and Tennessee, respectively), but most other currently installed cross-divisional pairings could stand to be played every couple years or so. Unless the SEC can get both of those schools into the East, this is going to continue to be an issue.
The conference realignment wheel continues to spin with Missouri's seeking other options than staying in the Big 12. However, that won't stop the conference from expanding. According Guerin Emig of the Tulsa World, Oklahoma President David Boren told reporters that the Big 12 will expand soon even though he doesn't expect Missouri to stay in the league.
According to additional reporting from NewOK.com's Travis Haney, Boren told reporters that the chances of Missouri staying in the Big 12 were "50-50" and that expansion could happen in about a week. With Texas A&M's decision to leave the conference for the SEC next year, the Big 12 is down to nine teams. If Missouri leaves, the conference would look to add four teams instead of three. For now, the Big 12 does not meet the NCAA requirement of 12 teams to host a conference championship game.
For more on Missouri's quest for a new conference home, be sure to check out Rock M Nation.
Missouri seems destined to be leaving the Big 12, dealing yet another blow to the quickly shrinking conference, but sources have told the AP that the school would've preferred to join the Big Ten rather than the SEC. Last year, Missouri had hoped to get a Big Ten invite, but Nebraska was selected instead. The Big Ten reportedly "has no interest" in Missouri.
On Tuesday, Missouri's curators voted unanimously to allow Chancellor Brady Deaton to look for a new conference. The Big 12 is already down to 10 schools after Nebraska and Colorado left and its future remains unclear.
If Missouri does end up joining the SEC, it would end a relationship with schools with which it has been aligned since 1907 when the Big Eight was first established (although it has been called several different names). Missouri was also one of the founding members of the Big 12 in 1994 when the Big Eight merged with four schools from the Southwest Conference.
For more on Missouri's quest for a new conference home, be sure to check out Rock M Nation.
The Missouri Tigers may soon leave the Big 12 for the SEC or maybe even the Big Ten (you never know!). As expected, the Kansas Jayhawks have something to say about this. Athletic director Sheahon Zenger released a statement Tuesday night, which used the "student-athlete" magic word, so you know it's good, while basketball coach Bill Self talked about possibly ending the school's Border War rivalry (he probably will not do such a thing).
We value our long-standing conference rivalry with Missouri. We believe the Midwest deserves a strong conference for student-athletes, fans and alumni, and it is our desire that Missouri will stay committed - as Kansas is - to the Big 12 Conference.
If they choose to be somewhere other than with us and with the other schools that they've been a p art of and could jeopardize the future of the other schools ... I'm not going to make a commitment now that we'd ever play again. I'm not saying we won't. I'm certainly not going to pretend that we would.
If Mizzou makes the leap, Kansas will have every reason to feel displeased about being left in the unstable Big 12. Unfortunately, this is what happens to basketball schools in the modern conference realignment era.
The actions of Missouri's Curators last night suggest a move to the SEC is imminent, and conference realignment is not yet over. While nothing is solid until the ink dries on the contracts (just ask Oklahoma), let's take a look at what Missouri has to offer.
A long meeting of the University of Missouri's Board of Curators resulting in some big news for conference expansion: Missouri appears to be ready to leave the Big 12, appointing Chancellor Brady Deaton to explore conference realignment options.
Deaton serves as chair of the Big 12's board of directors and on its committee on expansion, but it appears his roles there will come to an end as he prepares Missouri for a move somewhere else, potentially as the SEC's 14th team to join along with Texas A&M. Things are just going from bad to worse for the Big
12 10 8.
From the Kansas City Star's Mike DeArmond:
Deaton only said that Mizzou would be looking elsewhere, not commenting on if the SEC was the primary goal or not, but it's the most logical option for the Tigers at this point. But then, since when has logic guided conference expansion?
To hear what Missouri fans think of the decision, head to Rock M Nation.
Even though Vanderbilt Commodores basketball coach Kevin Stallings has said an even number of teams is best for the SEC, Vandy vice chancellor of athletics (oh they fancy huh) David Williams says the conference could stay at 13 for "years." That's contrary to Tennessee's AD, Georgia coach Mark Richt, South Carolina's president and several other southeastern dignitaries, but all right.
This is all pretty relevant because the University of Missouri's bigwigs are meeting rrrrright now to discuss matters of sport. Don't be surprised to learn the school has granted itself the power to consider conference realignment options, but such a result wouldn't necessarily be a sure sign Mizzou's heading Chick-fil-A-ward. I don't think.
Bully for Vandy for sticking to the company line even as other conference members acknowledge the move toward 14 teams, though.
That long-presumed Missouri Tigers board of curators meeting on conference realignment? It's happening, everyone is still assuming. Well, there is an official meeting now scheduled, though the part that is expected to touch on the Big 12 and SEC is only mentioned in vague tones:
The board of curators will hold a closed meeting, pursuant to Section 610.021(1), 610.021(3), 610.021(12) and 610.021(13) RSMo, for consideration of certain confidential or privileged communications with university counsel, personnel and contract items all as authorized by law and upon approval by resolution of the board of curators.
It's also worth noting that Mizzou chancellor Brady Deaton sat out of a portion of the Big 12's teleconference on its new six-year media agreement, on the advice of school legal counsel. Deaton also serves as the Big 12's board of directors chairman, forming a sensitive pair of allegiances indeed.
That six-year Big 12 media rights deal the Oklahoma Sooners announced weeks ago as done? It's finally done now. With the Missouri Tigers reportedly on the fence about whether to stick around or bolt for the SEC, this should be considered a good sign that Mizzou will remain in the Big 12, but we'll find out more once the school's board of curators meets on Tuesday. As always, you never know!
Either way, Oklahoma and Texas are chaining themselves together for the next six years. The nuts and bolts of the deal:
The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors announced adoption of a position to equally distribute all conference related distributable revenue to include Tier I and II football television, men's basketball television and NCAA men's basketball tournament revenues. This action becomes effective after each member institution commits a grant of rights to the Conference for its Tier I and II television rights for at least six years.
It is recognized by the Board that each member is directed by institutional policy relative to pursuing its grant of rights and that process will commence expeditiously at the institutional level.
The Board is encouraged by the number of institutions indicating interest in the Big 12, which reflects positively on the standing of the Conference within intercollegiate athletics. The Board also looks forward to considering the recommendation of the expansion committee regarding future membership options.
This is also likely a bad sign for the Boise St. Broncos, who were reportedly stepping up their efforts to join the Big 12. Mizzou sticking around means one fewer spot Boise State could inherit.
As far as where the Big 12 goes from here, the same crop of suspects still applies: BYU, Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, TCU and so forth.
For more, visit Boise State blog One Bronco Nation Under God.
Interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas has been a busy man since taking over for Dan Beebe. He's compared the SEC to ... well, to something better than the Big 12 and has insisted the Missouri Tigers are a better cultural fit for his conference than for Mike Slive's.
According to Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler, Neinas is trying to "re-recruit" Mizzou "off the ledge." However, Sittler also refers to SEC commissioner Slive as "Mike Slime," so the Tulsa World may just be a message board with a fancy name.
He's putting on a better show of trying to keep the Tigers than Beebe did of wrangling for Texas A&M, isn't he? He's also talked up conference expansion with or without Missouri on board. Whether any of this is actually having any effect behind the scenes remains to be seen, and that's the most redundant sentence you'll read all day.
The current state of Big 12 realignment works like this: there are about seven schools that get mentioned in every other rumor, four at a time. In the event that the Missouri Tigers leave for the SEC, some combination of Boise State, BYU Cincinnati, Louisville, TCU, West Virginia and some Texas school are said to be the leading candidates to help rebuild the Big 12. Shuffle them up and deal.
Thursday evening's configuration:
The TCU Horned Frogs have popped in and out of rumors ever since the Big East lost two schools to the ACC. The popular assumption, based on reports, is that the Oklahoma Sooners and others want them in, while the Texas Longhorns don't, but might be running out of options.
Things get reported, and things get denied. The Boise St. Broncos have been reported as a potential Big 12 target, in the event that the Missouri Tigers leave for the SEC. So here's a denial on the matter by interim athletic director Curt Apsey:
"We haven't yet," Apsey said Wednesday. "I can tell you we're focused on putting ourselves in the best position going forward. We're very excited about being in the Mountain West Conference. We continue to keep our eyes open and our ears open. That's kind of still where we're at.
One thing that does get confirmed, however, is that report of the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA considering a football merger. Yes! We're getting somewhere! Apsey ensures such a deal is only in the discussion stage, but it's nice to see something get ... not denied.
For more on the Broncos, visit Boise State blog One Bronco Nation Under God.
At this point, it's only a matter of time before the SEC adds another member to get to the nice round number of 14. Texas A&M became the conference's 13th member just a few days ago, but it's been assumed all along that the Aggies were part of a bigger process. After all, 13 is a less than ideal number of members, creating all sorts of scheduling nightmares.
While Hart offered no timetable, he did allude to expansion conversations happening soon.
Hart says the addition of Texas A&M as the SEC's 13th team was a good one, but the league's leaders must take their next steps deliberately because the SEC will expand again. He says those conversations will take place "in short order."
Rumors about the 14th team have been abound, with many pegging Missouri as the next logical SEC member. As of now, it would appear Missouri may take flight, leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, though as with all expansion rumors, nothing is set in concrete and everything is subject to change at a moment's notice.
For more on the Vols, head over to SB Nation's Rocky Top Talk.
If the Missouri Tigers decide to leave the Big 12, the conference could look to the east for expansion targets, according to Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News. Should the Big 12 move back to 12 teams, Carlton reports that the four candidates are the TCU Horned Frogs, the Cincinnati Bearcats, the Louisville Cardinals and the West Virginia Mountaineers.
The Horned Frogs and the Mountaineers have both been involved in numerous expansion rumors recently, but the Bearcats are a new one added to the mix. What exactly Cincinnati brings is not quite apparent yet, but then this is just one possible scenario.
However, interim commissioner Chuck Neinas has said that the Big 12 has yet to decide on how many teams it wants to add. The league could look at the BYU Cougars as part of a smaller expansion program. But if the original report of four teams being added holds true, the Big 12 will make the decision to expand eastward.
For more on the revolving door rumors of conference realignment, stick with this StoryStream.
It's been fun to watch members of the Big 12 expansion committee scramble to align themselves with a new home while their conference clings to life, but new commissioner Chuck Neinas isn't finding it as ironic as the rest of us. On Wednesday, Neinas announced Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton will no longer chair the expansion committee, but didn't give a reason why. In perhaps a related note, the SEC and Missouri are reportedly still flirting.
The news comes from Chip Brown, who also names the replacement.
Mizzou chancellor Brady Deaton no longer chairing 5-member expansion committee in B12. K-State's prez is.
So the chancellor of the school who reportedly has eyes for the SEC, or vice-versa, is out and Kansas State, which doesn't appear to have any other options, is in. Makes perfect sense from an expansion standpoint. The Wildcats are far more likely to work in earnest to keep the Big 12 alive because of the dire straights a collapse would put them in.
Just when you think college conference realignment has settled down for a spell, Jon Wilner of the Mercury News goes and reports that the Big 12 is thinking about adding the Boise St. Broncos, BYU Cougars, Louisville Cardinals and West Virginia Mountaineers in the event that the Missouri Tigers leave for the SEC. Moving along, there ... no, wait.
That's a whole lot of information to just drop off in one space. Mizzou to the SEC still seems quite possible, even with the SEC's refrain about being happy with a lucky 13 teams. Louisville, WVU and BYU have been rumored Big 12 targets, with the Cougars reportedly the league's most coveted prize and the interest appearing to be mutual.
But Boise State and West Virginia in the same conference? If you need to lie down, that's fine. It's a report of a plan that's being considered in case a potential event occurs, which is sufficiently far away from actually happening that we may have time to prepare ourselves.
The last round of Big 12 expansion reports had the TCU Horned Frogs in the running as well, with Oklahoma reportedly favoring them and Texas reportedly getting over ... not favoring them. According to Wilner, that's not the case.
Check out the SB Nation communities for each of these schools: Boise State blog One Bronco Nation Under God, Louisville blog Card Chronicle, West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket and BYU blog Vanquish The Foe.
When Oklahoma St. Cowboys booster T. Boone Pickens speaks, you better be sure that OSU and the rest of the Big 12 listens.
With rumors swirling that Missouri could be the mythical 14th SEC team, Pickens said "we got a real problem" if Missouri doesn't stay in the Big 12 while in San Antonio on Tuesday.
When asked who his top choices for Big 12 expansion were, Pickens said TCU and Houston make the most sense.
Adding fuel to the Missouri fire was head football coach Gary Pinkel, who reaffirmed his previous comments that the Big 12 gives Texas an unfair advantage and the Tigers should leave if that situation isn't remedied.
"I’ve been honest with comments I’ve made the last few weeks. I still stand by and stick with the comments I made.
"The Big 12 has the potential to be a great league. Hopefully, things will be fixed so it will be."
It doesn't look like the Longhorn Network is going anywhere anytime soon, so perhaps that means the Missouri Tigers will be.
For more on Missouri, visit Missouri blog Rock M Nation.
Well today is just What Kentucky Thinks About Conference Realignment Day, isn't it? Shortly after athletic director Mitch Barnhart hinted the Kentucky Wildcats might roadblock the Lousiville Cardinals' entry into the SEC, Cats basketball coach John Calipari offered his opinion on where the league goes from here:
"I don't think this stuff is done yet," Calipari said. "I've said for months that there may be four conferences with 16 or 18 teams each. But I can tell you that the SEC at 13, 14 or 16 is going to be stable. We're fine. If they're going to add, I'd like us to go and get Virginia Tech, Maryland and Missouri to go along with Texas A&M.
In that same article, Vanderbilt Commodores coach Kevin Stallings also says he favors an even number of teams. Add that to South Carolina and Georgia and you have prominent personnel at one-third of SEC schools saying 14 or 16, rather than the 13 Mike Slive is claiming would suit the conference just fine.
We haven't heard anything about Maryland's SEC candidacy in a while, other than that they were one of the two schools to favor a smaller ACC exit fee. Otherwise, they were mentioned once about a month ago and that's it. But those other two might be the most likely candidates for spot No. 14.
Texas A&M president Bowen Loftin and athletic director Bill Byrne, along with SEC commissioner Mike Slive and Bernie Machen held a press conference Tuesday to officially induct the Aggies into the SEC. You can read their remarks here, and here's the tl;dr version:
The SEC was happy at 12 teams and is now happy at 13 teams. Oklahoma staying in the Big 12 appeared to be a sign that nobody was going to sue over A&M leaving. Working on schedule options. Something about academics. The SEC's TV contract provides for "look-in" negotiations.
Texas A&M feels its football is ready to compete. Also, other sports. The Aggies are open to keep playing Arkansas in Dallas and still want to play Texas. Not yet sure what the Big 12 buyout will be. A&M talked with Slive before Nebraska and Colorado left the Big 12. The SEC has revenue sharing, which the Big 12 didn't have. Kyle Field may be renovated in 2013.
Don't be floored if, within a year, happy to be at 14 teams.
The Texas A&M Aggies have officially been admitted by the SEC, and now must prepare for a difficulty increase. The SEC is currently set to enter the 2012-13 seasons with 13 teams, which the conference insists is a fine number even though every architect knows it's bad luck.
That's not easy to believe, considering the logistical inconveniences and general MACness of a 13-team schedule (plus reports that the SEC has sent an offer to Missouri and received one from West Virginia ... and all those denials by Virginia Tech). At least a couple of conference VIPs already seem to feel the same way.
"I don't think 13 is a sustainable number, but I think 14 is," Pastides said. "I'm not in favor of 16 personally right now. You begin to lose what is a very special quality."
"Well, if they're joining us, you'd think there would be at least another one joining somewhere along the way," Richt, Georgia's football coach, said Sunday evening.
So Texas A&M is heading to the SEC. What does that mean for the strength of the Aggies' schedule, both in 2012 and into the future?
Texas A&M's going to be part of the SEC next year, officially: the SEC announced Sunday that the Aggies would be joining the conference for the 2012-13 academic year.
The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors, acting unanimously, announced today that Texas A&M University will join the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year.
"The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors are pleased to welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family," said Dr. Bernie Machen, chair of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. "The addition of Texas A&M University as the SEC’s 13th member gives our league a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions."
Officially announcing the move is a fairly good indication that Texas A&M has sorted out all its obligations to the Big 12 and will be able to leave the conference without penalty. About the only thing left for the Aggies to do? Wait until next year, when their move takes effect.
For more on the Aggies, be sure to visit I Am the 12th Man.
Members of the Big 12 who have nowhere else to go are telling you the conference's schools are locked arm-in-arm for the next half-decade. Meanwhile, at least one school with conference realignment options says things aren't quite so rosy just yet. Not all that hard to figure out what that means.
During a conversation with the KC Star, University of Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton essentially said thrice that his school isn't yet 100 percent on staying in the Big 12. As for specifics, here's the closest you're going to get:
When asked about the SEC, Deaton said that was another hypothetical and he wouldn't elaborate further.
Asked if the SEC was still in play, the administrator, who contacted The Star, said: "You will not look stupid by insinuating that."
Compare that to the noises made by the average school official whose programs are caught up in realignment. It's still not yet clear whether the SEC had invited the Missouri Tigers before the Big 12 announced ... whatever it announced Thursday night.
Best guess: Mizzou knows the rest of the conference knows the Tigers have an escape route. If Oklahoma can claim its non-invitation to the Pac-12 helped to fix the Big 12, why shouldn't Missouri use its likely actual invitation to the SEC as a way to make the Big 12 work for Missouri? Only one of those two programs has a bargaining chip right now, after all.
For more, swing by Mizzou blog Rock M Nation.
At a Thursday night press conference, University of Oklahoma president David Boren ran through a series of reforms meant to keep the Big 12 conference intact. The most important: the conference has a six-year media rights agreement. Under such a deal, if a school leaves, the conference will retain that school's Tier 1 and Tier 2 media rights until the end of the six-year period.
(That means the Big 12 would continue to get the national or regional television money for the school's football and basketball games. This still would allow the Texas Longhorns to keep the Longhorn Network.)
Boren also announced the Big 12 is looking to expand, "reactivating" its expansion committee. He pointed out Oklahoma gets to remain in a "geographically contiguous" conference that will be better for students and the families of athletes. His bit on a healthy heartland conference being good for America ... that might sound corny and like the kind of thing school presidents say when it concerns the interests of their own schools, but I totally agree with him.
Oh, and that Chuck Neinas will be the new interim commissioner. Boren endeavored to compliment outgoing commissioner Dan Beebe ("decent human being") and noted Neinas recommended "over half of the sitting athletic directors" in the Big 12.
That six-year agreement is significant, because if Texas and Oklahoma actually are happy with the media money coming into the conference, the entire house of cards could actually stand. As Stewart Mandel pointed out, it's "more ironclad than an exit fee." Oklahoma might not actually be happy at all, and could still just be putting the best face on its current situation. That's fine.
You do not believe the Big 12; the Big 12 needs more people. The TCU Horned Frogs have been mentioned as one of the more likely Big 12 expansion candidates, but the Texas Longhorns are reportedly going to need to be convinced to let them in.
So that makes this interesting: Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com -- Rivals' Texas site in case you've forgotten -- reports TCU is emerging as a potential Big 12 team No. 10. Brown is sometimes referred to as DeLoss Dodds' unofficial spokesperson, so ... interesting. Other schools mentioned in the report: the West Virginia Mountaineers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Louisville Cardinals and BYU Cougars.
It had been reported that Oklahoma favors TCU, BYU and the Air Force Falcons, but Air Force is reportedly headed to the Big East soon, according to Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino.
For more, venture to TCU blog Frogs O' War.
Dan Beebe has resigned as Big 12 commissioner, according to a report on Thursday evening. Beebe had come under fire as the Big 12 struggled to survive this wave of conference expansion, and his resignation was reportedly a condition of Oklahoma's continued support of the conference.
The news comes from Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has tendered his resignation, a source familiar with the process said. Beebe had been commissioner since 2007.
While no official announcement has been made, Chuck Neinas will reportedly take over as Big 12 commissioner. Numerous Big 12 schools are holding press conferences on Thursday night, perhaps to champion the new reforms that they hope will keep the conference together in the long-term.
It was just over a year ago that Beebe "saved" the Big 12 from the last wave of conference expansion, though looking back his moves may have left the league on shaky ground. In an effort to keep Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma in the Big 12, Beebe engineered an incentives package that would give the three schools more revenue than the rest of the conference's members, creating dissent in the membership.
Whether Beebe's resignation allows the Big 12 to survive in the long-term, however, remains to be seen.
For more on college football realignment, stick with this StoryStream.
As soon as the Pac-12 voted not to expand, thereby eliminating the option of adding schools like Oklahoma to the mix, the Sooners went on the offensive with the fantastic spin tactic, "We wanted to stay in the Big 12 anyway."
Turns out that might not have been exactly true after all.
...contrary to another report suggesting OU simply feigned interest in the Pac-12 from the beginning only to gain leverage on Texas, a high-level OU athletic department source explained that the Sooners had acted in good faith and had been planning to apply for Pac-12 membership.
"The plan was to go," the source told SoonerNation.
According to the source, it was Oklahoma Sooners head football coach Bob Stoops, who was a proponent of staying in the Big 12. There's also one person claiming that Oklahoma actually pre-denied the Pac-12 before it publicly denied Oklahoma. So, I guess, it depends who you believe.
The Oklahoma Sooners appear ready to get their wish of having Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe forced out of the position. According to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd, former Big Eight commissioner Chuck Neinas will take over as interim commissioner soon. While there is no definitive timetable on this move, CBS Sports believes it could come as early as Thursday.
On Tuesday, reports surfaced that Oklahoma would commit to a future in the Big 12 if Beebe was replaced in the near future. With the Pac-12 deciding not to expand on Tuesday night, Oklahoma had real alternative to go except to stay in the Big 12. However, having a disgruntled Oklahoma in the conference wouldn't be any fun for the other schools, so replacing Beebe makes sense. Beebe, as Oklahoma and other have argued, wasn't proactive in dealing with Colorado and Utah, which left the Big 12 for the Pac-12.
The next item on the Big 12's agenda should be expansion to either a 10-team or 12-team league. Neinas, should he be named the interim commissioner, will likely play a key role in which teams to invite into the league.
For more on college football realignment, stick with this StoryStream.
Now that the notion of Pac-12 expansion is dead, at least for the moment, Commissioner Larry Scott is talking about the end of the potential mega-deal that could have brought Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and perhaps Texas and Texas Tech to the westernmost BCS conference. Among the new details: Scott actually began telling Pac-12 presidents that he didn't think they should make the deal on Monday, the same day that Texas and Oklahoma's boards authorized their presidents to explore other conferences.
So what caused the deal to go under? Scott doesn't say exactly, but the commish vaguely gestures in the direction of the Longhorn Network, long thought to be the main barrier to landing Texas.
But the Pac-12's condition for membership will be non-negotiable, Scott said: Equal revenue sharing. Even if that means leaving money on the table.
Said Scott, "An opportunity was turned down that could have generated more money for the schools but potentially could have torn apart the fabric of the culture of the conference."
Since Texas is apparently open to more equally sharing the revenues from the Big 12 contract, the hang-up would appear to have been Tier 3 rights. Those are the kind that the Longhorn Newtork is built around.
As for the bit about Oklahoma playing the Pac-12 to get concessions from the Big 12. A dealmaker and businessman like Scott has to respect the supposed strategy. Even if he doesn't completely believe it.
"I have nothing but respect for the leadership of the University of Oklahoma," he said. "I don't want to contradict anything that they feel they need to say as part of the process they are in."
Of course, the odds that we will ever know exactly what happened are fairly small. But fans of several Big 12 schools are just glad that it's over.
For more on where the conference goes from there, go to Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes. See the Longhorn perspective on things at Texas blog Burnt Orange Nation. To get a look at what Sooners fans are thinking, head over to Oklahoma blog Crimson And Cream Machine.
"There are methods of doing that, including the way media deals are structured and we’ll be working with our partners in the Big 12 and our media partners to structure something that has stability," Powers said on Wednesday.
"We are open to every idea...We’ve never said that’s off the table."
Texas currently receives a larger share (estimated between $15-$20 million per year) of a 13-year, $1.2 billion television deal that the Big 12 conference signed with FOX. Texas also signed their own 20-year, $300 million deal with ESPN for the Longhorn Network.
"A lot of these issues that you hear (about) whether its revenue sharing or whatever, we’ve been working on long before," he said. "We will continue to work on those. I’m not going to prejudge on how those will come out. There are not any preconditions for the conference coming back together.
"We want a stable, workable conference going forward."
For more, visit Texas Longhorns blog Burnt Orange Nation.
The college conference realignment news is changing by the hour, so QUICK, hurry up and read our breakdown of exactly what we know as of right now. It'll certainly be different by tomorrow.
So you woke up this morning to discover the Big 12 is going to have to try to work together, as the Pac-12 is skipping this round of expansion, pretty much because of the Longhorn Network. Good morning! The big stuff is over for now, but the smaller stuff continues. This means we're right back to the Big 12 needing to replace the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Colorado Buffaloes and Texas A&M Aggies.
According to John E. Hoover, one of Oklahoma's recommendations for the new Big 12 was for the conference to pick up the BYU Cougars, TCU Horned Frogs and Air Force Falcons. Hoover adds that nothing has changed there, but there's no telling on whether the [/counts on fingers, gives up] however many other Big 12 schools agree with that list. Rivals' BYU's site reports the newly independent Cougs will likely accept an offer, FWIW.
As for non-expansion matters, OrangeBloods.com's Chip Brown reports the conference's schools notified commissioner Dan Beebe things are gonna be different now, and the New York Times' Pete Thamel makes a convincing case against the Missouri Tigers looking elsewhere.
Thanks to the Pac-12, the Big 12's schools are stuck with each other for the time being. The Oklahoma Sooners and their likewise disgruntled colleagues are going to have to either come to terms with the Longhorn Network or force the Texas Longhorns to neuter it.
For those of you sick of conference realignment talk, especially during the college football season, here's a piece of good news: the AP's Jim Vertuno reports Texas and Oklahoma will meet soon to come up with a five-year plan for the Big 12. Also, magical coincidence! That's how long the Big 12's current TV deal lasts. Five years doesn't sound like all that long of a time once you put it that way.
Oklahoma president David Boren released a statement partly on Oklahoma's new "positive relationship" with the Pac-12 and on a few suggestions for the Big 12:
We were not surprised by the Pac 12's decision to not expand at this time. Even though we had decided not to apply for membership this year, we have developed a positive relationship with the leadership of the conference and we have kept them informed of the progress we've been making to gain agreement from the Big 12 for changes which will make the conference more stable in the future. Stability has been our first goal and we look forward to achieving that goal through continued membership in the Big 12 Conference.
Besides getting its two brand names to play nice, the Big 12 also has to rebuild after losing Texas A&M. Yes, that's TCU's music. You might have heard they could use a new football home, and the Big 12 might have been humbled just enough to consider them.
Just when it seemed conference realignment news would dwarf the college football season it was butting up against, it's time to call the whole thing off -- for now. Well, at least the big stuff, as the Pac-12 won't be expanding during this go-round. You'll be shocked to learn the Texas Longhorns had a lot to do with it.
This means Texas, along with the Oklahoma Sooners and each of their jogging buddies, won't be leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-12 at this point. No Big 12-Big East merger. No Baylor lawsuits.
This doesn't mean Texas A&M will turn back from the SEC, nor does it mean the remaining Big 12 members are all cool with the Longhorn Network all of a sudden. The SEC also has the tricky issue of evening out its divisions, which are set to feature seven teams and six teams in 2012 (West Virginia and even Missouri could still be options, but count out Oklahoma, by the way).
The Big East may pick up a few schools to offset its impending losses to the ACC. The ACC might help itself to more Big East schools -- like, say, UConn, which still wants out. There are still rumblings, but they shouldn't be interpreted as aftershocks. They're still pre-tremors. In 2010, the college sports world moved a step closer to the football megaconference future, and in 2011 it did the same.
The Big 12 may be able to reform itself and become a major piece of that future, but hopefully we can wait to worry about it until next summer. All of a sudden the college football season is about to reclaim center stage, and for that we can thank the Pac-12.
In the world of conference expansion we now find ourselves in, one thing is for certain: nothing's certain. That's why when The Birmingham News reports that tentative plans are in place for Missouri's move to the SEC, a counterbalance report is an inevitability. This time, it came from the New York TImes' Pete Thamel:
"Definitely" sounds a lot stronger than "tentative," but I trust whatever news source is reporting that nothing has been decided, because it's clear that nothing has. I mean, Texas A&M is now behind Pittsburgh and Syracuse, thanks to a threatened Baylor lawsuit.
As rumors continue to float, just keep one thing in mind — until all the papers are signed, nothing's guaranteed. It's because of this that a comedian might be our voice of reason in all of this:
Current Pac-12 schools will vote on expansion at some point later this week, requiring at least 9 votes to approve.
The Oklahoma Sooners haven't left the Big 12 yet. In fact, they're giving the conference one last chance to shape up before they pack their in-state rival and head west. The Sooners have a list of demands, according to The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel, including the obvious trimming and containment of the Longhorn Network. That part is no surprise.
And according to Tramel's source, the replacement of current commissioner Dan Beebe with "an interim commissioner" would be one of the "major, major reforms" required to keep the Sooners from leaving. Whoa.
Beebe has been perhaps the BCS' most unpopular conference commissioner, at least until CBS Sports scooped Big East commissioner John Marinatto on the exit of two Big East teams. Oklahoma has reason to give the Big 12 a shot at keeping established rivalries intact, but that's quite a line in the sand they're drawing if this report is accurate.
Either way, Oklahoma means much, much more to the Big 12 than Beebe does (which is so obvious that it feels dumb to even type), so if it were as simple as one or the other, there would be no question on which would be out. But there's a lot more to it than just that.
For more on OU, visit Oklahoma Sooners blog Crimson And Cream Machine.
Earlier Tuesday, everybody in the world reported the Missouri Tigers have an offer to join the SEC. But the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Vahe Gregorian got a hold of SEC associate commissioner for media relations Charles Bloom, who told him, "The SEC has not extended an invitation to any school beyond Texas A&M since it extended invitations to Arkansas and South Carolina."
If you thumb through the history of this conference realignment StoryStream, you'll note a number of things have been denied that ended up becoming true, whether or not they were actually true at the moment of denial. To be fair, the SEC may have an understanding with Mizzou that doesn't technically qualify as an offer, or the SEC may actually not want the Tigers at all.
Who knows! You don't! More importantly, it's Tuesday, and the next college football weekend starts in two days.
By now, two local outlets and two national publications have reported that the SEC's 14th team will be the Missouri Tigers. The Sporting News' Matt Hayes added a confirmation on Tuesday, adding that the SEC intends to expand to only 14 teams and not continue on to 16.
Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples foresaw Mizzou as SEC team No. 14, while the entire DeArmond family has been reporting the arrangement is mostly delayed by the Big 12's last gasps. Oh yes, the Big 12 has last gasps.
That's a pretty solid array of reporting there. Don't be surprised to see Missouri join the SEC soon, but it's nothing official. The Tigers have wanted out for some time now, and it looks like they'll get their wish. At this point, the primary question from the SEC's perspective is what to do about SEC division realignment -- adding two teams to the western division means somebody has to move east, and sending border-straddler Auburn across the line would mean having to make both the Iron Bowl and the Third Saturday in October protected rivalries somehow.
If the SEC doesn't want the West Virginia Mountaineers, then it has only a few moves still available that would bring it to an even 14 teams. Option No. 1 for that spot has appeared to be the Missouri Tigers. Tuesday afternoon saw a small rush of reports that Mizzou is indeed in line to join the SEC.
Mike DeArmond of the KC Star reported Missouri has an offer from the SEC, and that the SEC is fine with waiting on the Big 12 to fall apart. That story cites a Tigers booster as one of its primary sources, which might not inspire 100 percent confidence.
Also, PowerMizzou.com's Gabe DeArmond reported shortly before that "the SEC wants Mizzou as No. 14, but is willing to wait on the implosion of the Big 12 Conference." Yes, the two DeArmonds are related.
To understand Oklahoma's decision between fleeing for the Pac-12 and patching together the Big 12, first understand David Boren.
In response to the announcements that the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns have both granted their presidents the right to explore conference realignment options outside of the Big 12, conference president Dan Beebe has released an official statement.
"The actions taken today by the governing boards of the universities of Oklahoma and Texas was anticipated. It is my opinion that the case for the Big 12 Conference continues to be as strong today for all of our current members as it was last year, especially considering the welfare of those to whom we owe the greatest responsibility-the student-athletes. We continue to apply all effort and resources toward assuring our members that maintaining the Big 12 is in the best interest for their institutions."
Beebe's not kidding about the Big 12 anticipating this move. The latest rumor is that the remaining members of the conference will meet up with the remaining members of the Big East and form some kind of merged hybrid.
The person, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk publicly about what is going on behind the scenes, said Monday there has been dialogue between athletic directors and high-level officials in the conference offices.
If Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State leave, that leaves Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State to scramble for the next best thing. As of this moment, the Big East still has seven football members, though that number could change depending on West Virginia, TCU and other defections.
For more on these schools, check out Texas Longhorns blog Burnt Orange Nation, Oklahoma Sooners blog Crimson And Cream Machine, Oklahoma State blog Cowboys Ride For Free and Texas Tech blog Double T Nation. And Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes.
Now that the Oklahoma Board of Regents has given its President the go-ahead to talk with the Pac-12, the Texas Board of Regents has gone ahead and done the same thing.
Texas Longhorns President Bill Powers now has the official authority to take "any necessary actions" regarding conference realignment. Ultimately, any change in UT's conference affiliation would be to be approved by the Board of Regents as well.
If Texas decides to leave the Big 12 for the Pac-12, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are expected to go with them. They would also be able to keep the Longhorn Network, albeit with some changes to appease the Pac-12 media deal.
The University could also try and save the Big 12, explore their options with the ACC or go independent. If Powers decides to stay in the Big 12, he does not need the board's approval. Powers told the media that he would have no more comment until the process is over.
Monday, the University of Oklahoma's board of regents granted school president David Boren authority to take action regarding conference realignment.
The move means that the Oklahoma Sooners can now officially apply for membership into the Pac-12, as they have been rumored to be doing. The Sooners have already been in "informal" discussions with the Pac-12 to see how their addition would work.
The rumored expansion of the Pac-12 includes Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech, though much of that depends on Oklahoma and Texas' ultimate interest in doing so.
Boren told reporters on Monday that the decision did not necessarily mean the Sooners are leaving the Big 12. Boren did admit that Oklahoma has been speaking with Oklahoma State on the matter as well.
Boren also said that he felt "threatening litigation is no way to keep a conference together," in regards to threats by Baylor and other Pac-12 schools who want to keep members from leaving.
For more on these schools, check out Texas Longhorns blog Burnt Orange Nation, Oklahoma Sooners blog Crimson And Cream Machine, Oklahoma State blog Cowboys Ride For Free and Texas Tech blog Double T Nation. And Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes.
Contrary to a report in the Austin-American Statesman, Jon Wilner reports the Pac-12 and the Texas Longhorns still have significant hurdles left to clear before the Horns could join the conference. According to Wilner (and others), the Longhorn Network-tailored revenue sharing agreement the Statesman describes doesn't quite go far enough.
The Texaswide Leader would need to "be folded into the Pac-12 regional model," Wilner reports, making it more of a Texas-centric Pac-12 outlet than, well, a Longhorn Network. But from the sounds of it, being an equal partner of the Pac-12 could make Texas more money than the LHN would anyway.
Media outlets from Texas are reporting the deal is almost done, while media outlets from the coast are reporting it isn't. You could presume the real answer is somewhere in between, if you wanted.
Those three entities in the title are listed in descending order of importance in this matter, of course.
As the Big East has already lost two of its football-playing schools and could lose three more if the Big Ten and ACC help themselves, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have found themselves with a tenuous home for their Olympic sports.
While the Irish remain a football independent, it would be hard to imagine them choosing to leave their basketball in a dilapidated conference with few other nationally branded institutions and no shot at a top media deal -- not to mention one that could soon be upstaged in its own home. Either way, Notre Dame remains the most-prized item on the market for the Big Ten, Big 12, Big East and ACC.
So when Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick comments on conference realignment, it's important:
I don't understand it. How do you vote as a collegiate president on something that has the potential to provide some benefit for your institution and the conference you're affiliated with but has a very negative consequence for a host of other members of the academy, as presidents like to call it?
Also, "a congressman from a state with a university that could be harmed by realignment" is making noise about using the federal government to force other schools to play sports with a school his constituents happen to favor. And NCAA president Mark Emmert wants everybody to settle down.
For more, head to Notre Dame blog One Foot Down.
The West Virginia Mountaineers may indeed want to join the SEC, as was reported earlier, but according to a tweet by Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples, the Missouri Tigers are a more likely bet to actually get in. It's interesting to note that the only reports claiming WVU will make it in are coming out of Mountaineers markets, while no SEC outlets have reported the same from the other side of the alleged bargain.
While Mizzou would be a little bit out of the SEC's way geographically, it would boost the conference's academic profile while adding two large TV markets that aren't entirely opposed to college sports (cough, the silly idea of Syracuse football delivering the New York City market, cough). The Tigers offer solid football and decent ... other sports. And, hey, instant buddy rival for Texas A&M.
The Big Ten has been a frequently cited potential landing spot for Mizzou -- if either the SEC or the Big Ten can offer the Tigers a home, they'll happily take what they can get.
For more Mizzou, head to Missouri Tigers blog Rock M Nation.
The long-awaited move by the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners, plus their respective satellites, to the Pac-12 is almost here, according to reports. The most prominent: the Austin-American Statesman reports the two and the Oklahoma St. Cowboys and Texas Tech Red Raiders are "working out the final details of a deal."
The most interesting piece of that report, which also brings up pod scheduling, is how the Pac-12 could handle the Longhorn Network, given the conference's stringent revenue sharing requirements. In exchange for the Texaswide Leader having to carry Pac-12 content, there could be a built-in way for Texas to still profit from the open-market sale of its third-tier media rights. That's the way we're reading it, at least.
According to the report:
The Longhorns would be able to keep all of their revenue from the network if that amount is greater than one-sixteenth of what the entire Pac-12 receives for its third-tier rights. However, if one-sixteenth of the money the Pac-12 receives from third-tier rights ends up being a larger amount, the schools would divide the revenue evenly.
The Longhorn Network could become the burnt orange version of the Pac-Whatever Network. This is one of the first things in the entire conference realignment maze that sounds like it makes complete sense for everybody involved, right?
For more on these schools, check out Texas Longhorns blog Burnt Orange Nation, Oklahoma Sooners blog Crimson And Cream Machine, Oklahoma State blog Cowboys Ride For Free and Texas Tech blog Double T Nation. And Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes.
ACC commissioner John Swofford held a Sunday morning teleconference to announce the addition of the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers. It was a pretty standard teleconference, with a lot of boring stuff happening. But along the way, he dropped a pair of bombs.
When asked about the Texas Longhorns and the rumored mutual interest between the two, Swofford complimented the school but said he couldn't comment. Later, he called the ACC's revenue sharing arrangement "sacred," which would seem to rule out the onboarding of Texas and its Longhorn Network if true.
Then, Swofford admitted the ACC's basketball tournament could move to Madison Square Garden on a rotational basis. Which, whoa! Moving the conference's most prized event out of North Carolina would be a dramatic shift and signal that it thinks of itself as the east coast's conference, not just the other southeastern conference. Can't imagine Tobacco Road is very happy about hearing that, though.
The Texas Board of Regents will convene on Monday, and one of the items on the agenda deals with conference alignment. As is typical in these expansion wars, Texas president Bill Powers will reportedly be given the authorization to make all decisions with regards to the Longhorns' conference alignment going forward. And thus, the mysterious conference alignment agenda item is solved.
Texas, at its Monday regents meeting, will authorize president Bill Powers to act in its best interest in picking its conference.
This phrase certainly sounds familiar. In fact, we've heard it many times before when conference expansion heats up and schools begin weighing their options. It does not, however, mean Texas is going anywhere.
Instead, Powers will be driving the bus, or not taking it out of the driveway at all. If the Big 12 falls apart, Powers could steer the Longhorns to the ACC or the Pac-1?, among many other places. Powers has a plethora of options, and a difficult decision ahead of him.
For more, visit Texas Longhorns blog Burnt Orange Nation.
From the looks of it, Monday may be a big day for the future of the Big 12. We already know Oklahoma will hold a Board of Regents meeting on Monday, with conference alignment on the agenda. Now, Texas will get together, as well, holding a Board of Regents meeting with the same item on the agenda. Conspiracy theorists, assemble!
Here's the agenda for the Texas meeting, which includes vague and cryptic items related to conference alignment.
U. T. Austin: Discussion and appropriate action regarding potential legal issues related to athletic conference membership and contracting
U. T. Austin: Discussion and appropriate action regarding delegation to act on matters related to athletic conference membership and contracting
The first item above will take place during a closed session and the second will be out in the open. It should be a slammin' good time.
Texas is sitting in the driver's seat again, and has plenty of options on the table, including: keeping the Big 12 alive, taking its talents west to the Pac-1? and heading east to the ACC. What happens next is anyone's guess.
For more, visit Texas Longhorns blog Burnt Orange Nation.
The lil ole Baylor Bears are still doing what they can to keep the happy Big 12 family shackled together, taking the matter to Congress. School president Ken Starr, famous for doing some stuff in D.C. in a previous career, met with two dozen lawmakers Wednesday and Thursday to ... OK:
A lobbyist familiar with Starr's visit, which began Wednesday and ends today, tells PI that the push is about Starr "really trying to convey that you have to have the student athletes' interests at heart first before chasing after the biggest contractual agreements" with television networks.
For more on the "student-athlete" rhetorical device, set aside some time for Taylor Branch's landmark piece on the NCAA. Also, more TV contract money means schools can build better facilities and hire better coaches and maybe even send some money outside of athletic departments. All of those things enhance the student-athlete's collegiate experience. So.
It's full steam ahead for the Oklahoma Sooners, who are officially on the hunt for a new conference home away from the crumbling Big 12.
The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents will convene soon to discuss imminent matters of conference realignment on Monday (PDF).
"The Board of Regents will discuss potential legal ramifications of athletic conference realignment options and/or consider new athletic conference membership and take any appropriate action. An executive session may be proposed pursuant to Section 307B.4 of the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act."
Texas A&M went through the same process en route to leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. As for where Oklahoma will go from here, well, we will have to wait and see.
You can bet schools like Missouri, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State will be eagerly-awaiting news as well.
Brady Deaton, the chancellor of the University of Missouri and the Big 12's board chairman, discussed the state of the conference Thursday with Vahe Gregorian. Deaton expects the Oklahoma Sooners to make their conference alignment interests known within the next two weeks, adding that he thinks the Big 12 can survive even if it loses OU and the Oklahoma St. Cowboys.
He also told Gregorian that there's no specific deadline for Oklahoma to make its decision by, and that the Big 12 is going to have to wait until the Oklahoma schools pick a landing spot before adding new members.
Deaton is in an interesting spot, as he's both vested in the future of the conference and in a school that has every reason to look elsewhere. Mizzou has been attached by rumors and reports to both the Big Ten and SEC over the past two years of conference shuffling.
Lest you turn your focus to the potential destinations of the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns at the expense of the little guys, Andy Katz unloads a pound of conference expansion nuggets at your doorstep. Among the latest additions to the story: the Big 12 wanted its athletic directors to reach out to the Louisville Cardinals and West Virginia Mountaineers before Oklahoma's wandering eye complicated things.
We'd known about the Big 12's interest in the Arkansas Razorbacks, Pittsburgh Panthers and BYU Cougars, who are all also mentioned by Katz, but I don't think I'd seen WVU or Louisville mentioned in anything other than speculation.
There's also a look into the financial and recruiting difficulties raised by this uncertain period for smaller programs like Iowa State and Missouri:
A source said high-level fundraising at Missouri is on hold for its major $160 million capital campaign. The source said a number of donors -- significant eight-figure donors -- were prepared to present a gift but are holding up that process until they know which conference Missouri will be a member of in for the foreseeable future.
It's been nine days since ACC commissioner John Swofford appeared to deny reports that his conference has been looking into adding the Texas Longhorns. While everybody's denying everything at this point, looking more closely at his remarks reveals he definitely didn't deny anything in particular. Hmm.
Tuesday, the Austin-American Statesman attached its name to the rumors, placing the ACC, Pac-12 and independence as the three viable options, with the latter being the least preferable. So now we're pitting the Pac-12 against the ACC for Texas, at least in the popular narrative.
Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com, who started all this off, followed up Tuesday night with more Texas-to-ACC chatter. Here, as always everywhere, the whole thing revolves around the Longhorn Network. The Pac-12 wouldn't allow it to exist as currently structured, while the ACC would.
Please assume Texas is emitting these vibes in order to pressure the Pac-12 into conceding ground on the Longhorn Network, even if Texas is indeed making kissy faces at the ACC. Please think nothing further of them.
For more, visit Texas Longhorns blog Burnt Orange Nation.
As The Big 12 implodes, the University of Texas is realizing that they might have to do a little more scrambling than initially intended to make sure their future is in good hands.
With Texas A&M gone to the SEC and the Oklahoma schools applying for Pac-12 membership, the Longhorns are apparently working on three viable options for their next move, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
If the Big 12 implodes, Texas would have to decide between pushing for membership in the Pac-12 or Atlantic Coast Conference or turning independent, an option Dodds has always strongly opposed.
"Texas' first choice is to keep the Big 12 together. That's always been and continues to be Plan A and B," a well-placed Texas source said. "However, they know that if Oklahoma and Oklahoma State leave, the conference is no longer viable. Then it's time to look at Plan C."
Considering there isn't going to be much of a Big 12 worth saving, expect Texas to look elsewhere soon. The most logical choice seems to be the Pac-12, but then again when is anything in the world of NCAA football logical?
For more on Texas and conference realignment talk, visit Texas blog Burnt Orange Nation.
High-ranking representative from the University of Texas, including athletic direct DeLoss Dodds, traveled to Norman, Oklahoma on Sunday to meet with the Sooners decision-makers about conference realignment, according to a report. The Sooners have been mulling a move, perhaps to the Pac-12, with their current home, the Big 12, looking less than stable, leaving the remaining teams scrambling to find a landing spot should the conference implode.
According to the report, which comes from the AP, Texas sent its big guns, to meet with Oklahoma president David Boren and others.
Texas President William Powers Jr., athletic director DeLoss Dodds and women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky were among a group of Texas officials who went to Oklahoma on Sunday, according to a person at a Big 12 school who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the meeting.
In all likelihood, the Longhorns were working to keep the Sooners around, and away from the Pac-12. Texas, with its Longhorn Network, stands to benefit the most should the Big 12 survive the round of Big 12 expansion and would seem to be spearheading the effort to keep the nine remaining members in-tact. But should one or more teams abandon ship, all bets are off.
Texas A&M will reportedly join the SEC in 2012 and the dominoes are beginning to tilt in the world of college athletics. The Aggies were the first to move in this wave of conference realignment, but likely won't be the last. In fact, the next few weeks may shape the future of college athletics.
Naturally, Big 12 schools are beginning to scramble. Monday's announcement that Texas A&M would become an SEC member triggered digging, made all the more complicated by scheduled Board of Regents meetings.
Missouri has a Board of Regents, or Curators, meeting conveniently scheduled on Monday night, with a mysterious agenda item on the docket.
Here's the Mizzou posting for its BOR meeting. All executive session. Pres search and mystery item. bit.ly/oa3IO3
Oklahoma also has a Board of Regents meeting scheduled for a week from Monday, and it John Hoover added a cryptic note about negotiations.
OU regents will meet in Claremore, OK on Mon. My source on Board was asked not to talk. "Negotiations are sensitive," he said.
As Bryan Fischer notes, the Sooners' moves may have opened the gates for Texas A&M to join the SEC.
Looks like OU deciding to go West is what A&M/SEC needed as a intervening cause to get rid of Baylor's legal threat.
Just two days after saying "thanks, but no thanks" in response to a question about the Pac-12 adding teams, Larry Scott has softened his words. On the heels of the SEC's acceptance of Texas A&M's application for admission, Scott issued another statement, leaving the door open for expansion. But it comes with a qualifier: Scott said the Pac-12 will consider expansion, but only if schools begin to bolt from the Big 12.
Here's Scott's statement, courtesy of Bryan Fischer.
Larry Scott: "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 (expansion)."
Translation: If Oklahoma shows up at our doorstep, we're probably going to listen. At some point, the college landscape will shift, but we just don't know when. Texas A&M could've been the first domino, or the next move -- be it a 14th SEC member or teams parachuting out of the Big 12 Cessna -- will blow up the entire landscape. Either way, it's coming.
And with that, weeks of wrangling and rumors have been put to bed: Texas A&M will become the 13th member of the SEC. The Aggies and SEC have engaged in what began to resemble an odd conference mating ritual, beginning with Texas A&M's decision to notify the Big 12 of its decision to leave. What followed came straight out of a soap opera, with lawsuits threatened, jilted lovers left heartbroken and, finally, a resolution.
The move was announced by Mike Slive, ending all the reports, rumors and innuendo we've watched unfold for the past few weeks (via Bryan Fischer).
The SEC has accepted Texas A&M as a member. Mike Slive: The SEC has "started to look at schedules for 2012-13 involving thirteen teams." Slive: "We remain optimistic that Texas A&M will be a member of the SEC" But then says they've been accepted their application.
This answers two questions, but leaves another open. Yes, Texas A&M is now an SEC member, effective next season. And yes, the SEC may be content to stick with 13 teams. But it's an open-ended answer, and Slive may not be settled just yet.
While it's feasible to operate with 13 teams in the short-term, it's a less than ideal situation in the long-term. Should the SEC decide to continue forth on its expansion quest, it's anyone's guess which team, or teams, could be courted. Some rumors: West Virginia, Missouri and pretty much every team on the East Coast.
We'll be back with more on this move as it becomes available.
Note: This doesn't mean everything is final and written in stone, but Slive is using when, not if, and saying the SEC has accepted A&M. There's still legal framework to tie-up, in all likelihood, but this is about as done as it gets.
The Texas A&M Aggies will head for the SEC once the Baylor Bears can be convinced to not sue anybody in the process. But what about the Oklahoma Sooners, who've reportedly been having California dreams (I'm taking about the Pac-12 via song titles) for at least a year now.
Oklahoma to the Pac-12 could be about to happen, according to Chip Brown, who cites "a source close to OU's administration" that is probably Texas' administration, because the two are indeed likely close. According to Brown, the Sooners will apply for Pac-12 membership by the end of September, several weeks into actual, on-field Big 12 play.
Pretty cool how thanks to realignment there are basically two entire college football seasons going on right now, only one of which is football. No, it is not cool.
Boy, what an exciting college football weekend. Can't wait to look ahead to the next week's schedule and keep reading up on Saturday's games. Or TALKING ABOUT CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT. PERFECT.
Annoyingly, the Oklahoma Sooners are all but set to apply for Pac-12 admission, according to Chip Brown. The Oklahoma St. Cowboys serving as Oklahoma's traveling partner has been a part of the popularly accepted scenario for a while now. Both schools considered the jump last year before the Big 12 cleared the Texas Longhorns to start printing money if they stayed. It's complicated.
Kirk Bohls, Austin-American Statesman columnist, reports University of Texas president William Powers, Jr. and athletic directors DeLoss Dodds and Christine Plonsky traveled to Norman in an effort to convince Oklahoma to stick around again. Bohls also says the Texas Tech Red Raiders weren't notified about the excursion. (In the four-team Pac-12 exodus scenario, the Red Raiders will supposedly accompany Texas west.)
Texas A&M's official move to the SEC could be the domino everyone is waiting for, or maybe subsequent dominos really aren't all that close to each other. And the first domino just kind of falls over without hitting any others. Worst domino trick ever.
Thanks to the events of this past week, Texas A&M is in limbo, ready to run like mad from the Big 12, but without a suitable landing spot at the moment. Right now, it's all but assumed the Aggies will end up in the SEC at some point, but nobody knows when, thanks to the threat of a lawsuit from at least one Big 12 school. And thus, the conference expansion standoff.
Texas A&M is angrily stamping its feet, determined to get away from the Big 12 no matter the cost, even if it means a year in limbo.
A&M official: Only thing clear today is "A&M does not intend to be in the Big 12 next season."
Whether you buy the threat of the Aggies becoming an independent temporarily matters not. In all likelihood, Texas A&M is throwing out threats in an effort to get away from the Big 12, and will somehow be freed before 2012.
But don't expect any news until at least next week. According to Brent Zwerneman, the expansion talk is being put to rest this weekend out of respect.
If nothing shakes out today on alignment front (and not looking likely), things will go quiet over weekend out of respect for 9-11.
The Texas A&M Aggies have burned a few too many bridges to return to the Big 12 for the 2012 season if they aren't able to leave for the SEC. According to beat writer Brent Zwerneman, multiple voices inside A&M are leaning towards conference independence for a year instead of sticking with the Big 12.
Having to slap together an independent schedule for a transitionary season would be a heck of a hassle and lead to a pretty uninspiring slate, but you'd think the Aggies will do whatever it takes to get to the SEC. There's also always the chance that the SEC will eventually just risk a legal spat with Baylor and accept A&M.
And could A&M join a small conference for one season just to cover scheduling for its non-football sports, or would Baylor sue the Sun Belt over Texas A&M equestrian events? These are important questions, and it sounds like we're gonna have a long, long time to spend answering them.
So if Texas A&M is able to escape the mighty gravity of Baylor's extensive legal team and join the SEC ... what would a new SEC schedule look like? Team Speed Kills has its theories, both for the 14-team finished product and the 13-team interim version, while Missouri fans offer an insight of their own, which -- settle down, Mizzou fans.
One popular proposal has Auburn joining the East if two teams are added to the West. But that would mean splitting up the country's most insane sports rivalry, which would require keeping permanent cross-division rivalries. FWIW, Auburn president Jay Gogue is cool with that, and just wants to help out:
"If that's what it took, if you ever went to 14 (SEC members) and needed to make it work, that wouldn't be something I would be upset about," Gogue said. "I don't see any real difference. We already play Georgia, a longtime rival."
You could maybe think of that as one minor hurdle cleared, if you wanted, though some SEC fans might just approve of more hurdles.
So the SEC wants each Big 12 school to agree not to sue the SEC before it will allow Texas A&M to join. Several schools have refused to do so, while ringleader Baylor now reportedly won't waive its legal claim as long as there's Big 12 instability. Which means, like, they'll just keep suing stuff until the Big 12 no longer exists.
Is adding A&M worth a legal battle with Baylor for the SEC? Baylor's endowment is larger than any SEC school's besides Florida's and Vanderbilt's -- BU can afford to drag this thing out while Texas works to appease Oklahoma into staying.
In other news, we've also passed the deadline after which the Big 12 no longer guarantees it won't sue the SEC itself. At this point, it would not be shocking if Mike Slive just told A&M and the Big 12, "Let's just try this again next year /adds West Virginia and whoever."
Getting into two top-10 TV markets would be nice and all, but this here is a hassle.
Is there a pact between six Big 12 schools to block Texas A&M's move to the SEC by forcing Oklahoma to stay*? No, probably not, despite reports. So how about eight Big 12 schools, all of them except Oklahoma, retaining their rights to sue after the Big 12 told the SEC there definitely wouldn't be any legal hangups? Now we're cooking!
Texas Tech is lumped in that group, though it's already said it doesn't plan to join in any lawsuit. Now Oklahoma State has added its name to the no-suit club, which is crazy, because everyone in Oklahoma wears a suit and drives a Cadillac. I've been there once, for an hour.
You'll note those two schools are also the two most likely to be saved if Oklahoma and Texas end up joining the Pac-12. Maybe that doesn't mean anything. Thanks for listening.
* No, that scheme doesn't make any more sense than it did when it was first reported.
Few predicted conference realignment would reach a point at which the Baylor Bears would look like the overlord. From delaying Texas A&M's escape to the SEC -- whether you like the move or not*, that's an association both parties have agreed on -- to planting a story that Baylor isn't alone in trying to hold either A&M or Oklahoma hostage, the Bears are trying every trick in the book to keep the Big 12 together.
(You'll note nobody's planning to sue Baylor, a school that politicked its way into the conference in the first place at the expense of better football programs.)
Other reports have cited Missouri, Kansas and K-State as Big 12 refugees the Big East would onboard, with Iowa State also in the discussion. But Mizzou could end up in the SEC or Big Ten, and Kansas and K-State could legally be split up. Not sure whether Baylor or the Wildcats would be more valuable, but at least there's no danger of Kansas State suing everybody.
* And plenty of SEC fans really don't like it.
Who are you most worried for in the great conference shift of 2011, if you don't have a house on one of the fault lines? The Big 12's lesser lights and the Big East, right? According to the New York Post's Lenn Robbins, the Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas St. Wildcats and Missouri Tigers could have a landing place in the Big East.
Sure, that's one report from the New York Post, but it does echo the plan that Adam Zagoria reported around this time last year. That report also included the Iowa St. Cyclones, but Robbins writes that the Big East's acquisition of the TCU Horned Frogs has made the Clones the odd school out.
Mizzou is also reportedly one of the final contestants for a spot in the SEC, however. That's a hands-down better place to be. According to this pair of scenarios, Iowa State could find a home yet. But we're like four huge moves ahead of reality at this point.
Adding those three would bring the Big East to 12 football teams and empower it to play a championship game. For most conferences, basketball is a distant concern, but the Big East actually cares about that stuff -- and hey, great, these three can play some hoops.
Its membership would actually start to sort of make sense geographically, with teams in Texas, Florida, Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Kansas and Missouri spread across the eastern half of the country. Not that the Big East or any current Big 12 teams are all that concerned about geography right now. I'm just saying it would look nice.
After a Wednesday filled with marvelous insights into what a dorked-up organization the Big 12 is, nothing should really surprise you. So here's this: Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe released a statement saying the promise the conference made to the SEC -- that the SEC wouldn't be sued for admitting Texas A&M -- covered the conference only and not any of its member schools.
A&M president R. Bowen Loftin, with his bow tie whirling at hundreds of rotations per minute, told the Associated Press that none of this quite adds up:
We took this letter very seriously. We asked for such a statement. They gave it to us freely. It says here unanimous vote was taken and yet when we look at Beebe's letter last night it says: `No we didn't really mean that,' and I find that to be rather difficult to digest.
The AP report also cites an email from Beebe to SEC commissioner Mike Slive, which was sent pretty much during the SEC's vote on whether to admit the Aggies. In it, Baylor's name is officially mentioned for the first time as the school doing the most to gum all this up.
Really looking forward to college football season so we can be done with this stuff, am I right?
Update: Let's discount this one. If Oklahoma hasn't been made aware of its own kidnapping, it probably doesn't exist.
The Big 12 is the silliest thing in the world. According to the Waco Tribune-Herald -- which is an actual, long-established newspaper* -- Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Tech**, Iowa State and Missouri have joined Baylor in opposing Texas A&M's move to the SEC. They'll agree to let the Aggies go if Oklahoma promises not to leave the Big 12.
* Albeit one from Baylor's town.
So, um, how does future SEC team Texas A&M convince potential Pac-12 team Oklahoma to swear itself to the Big 12? I don't even know what we're talking about here. Oklahoma should stick around just to have a great big laugh at Texas A&M.
It's at this point you start to realize everybody's full of everything, if you haven't already. Texas Tech is believed to be one of the four schools with a chance to leave for the Pac-eleventy, by virtue of its connection to Texas. Missouri wanted to leave for the Big Ten last year and is reportedly under consideration for the SEC. Kansas' chancellor recently mentioned the Jayhawks and K-State could legally be split up. Iowa State, you're cool except for the Nickelback thing, so carry on.
As of Sept. 7, the biggest effect the Longhorn Network has had: making the Sooners the most powerful program in college sports. Who saw that coming?
So apparently it's not just the Baylor Bears who aren't happy about the Big 12's big boy programs looking to head east or west or wherever. According to Iowa St. Cyclones spokesman John McCarroll, the Clones haven't waived their rights to legal recourse in case the Texas A&M Aggies join the SEC. (Spoiler alert: the Aggies will join the SEC.)
Not only was Iowa State responsible for a Nickelback-powered weather alert that delayed games across the country and forced two to end early, now they're gonna go and delay conferocalypse while we're all just trying to watch football teams play football. Well this is just great.
In other news, the Arkansas Razorbacks confirmed the Big 12 asked for their hand. This proves the Big 12 is completely insane. In fact, in any lawsuit raised over the matter of a team leaving the Big 12, any court in America will simply take one look at the claim that the Big 12 tried to talk Arkansas into leaving the SEC and conclude that the Big 12 could not possibly have ever existed in reality. So everybody do whatever you want.
For more, visit Iowa State blog Clone Chronicles.
Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin, who has many bow ties, had a public word with the Baylor Bears over their sudden change of heart regarding the Aggies' move to the SEC. By all accounts, Baylor's litigious nature is the last obstacle in the way of A&M joining the SEC, which has already accepted the Aggies.
Here are Loftin's remarks:
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.
Baylor, we love you for sharing Robert Griffin III with us, but please get out of the way so this can all be gotten over with.
Pretty weird that a small, Baptist institution in Waco, Texas could be holding up the biggest mass realignment in college sports history. Maybe not all that weird. But once the Baylor Bears eventually work out their issues with Texas A&M joining the SEC, an entire heartland conference could split. And that's just the beginning.
According to a George Schroeder report, the Pac-12 is waiting on the SEC to make its move. At that point, the Pac-16 could be a reality within a week or so. The scenario's usual names are included: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Texas. But about Texas ...
Jon Wilner reports the Longhorns don't want to move west due to cultural differences and perceived academic differences. The Pac-16 could get along just fine even without Texas, but the Horns' next move would help determine how much all this affects the rest of the country.
Texas could fight to keep the Big 12 together or just cash in and go independent. At either of those points, everything happens all at once.
Also, there's a college football season going on right now.
The last critical piece in Texas A&M's relocation has either been resolved or it hasn't, depending on to whom you'd prefer to listen. Have the Baylor Bears agreed not to get litigious if the Aggies switch conferences? (According to a Chip Brown report, more schools besides just Baylor might be keeping their legal options open, but let's focus.)
According to Fox Sports' Matt Mosley, a Baylor alum, every Big 12 school has again agreed not to sue. Last week, the Big 12 sent the SEC a letter promising a lawsuit-free transition. The SEC released that letter today, along with a note that one school had changed its mind. SEC presidents had gathered to vote to accept A&M, but were dismayed to find out about Baylor's involvement.
However, Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News says reports of Baylor agreeing not to sue are inaccurate. Carlton cites a Big 12 source.
If you'd like to read a hunch, here's one: Baylor backed down once the SEC put it on blast. For the good of getting this stuff taken care of so as not to distract from the season itself, let's hope that's the case.
In a statement, the SEC confirmed the news we've been waiting ... well, not really all that long for. The Texas A&M Aggies have been cleared to partake in the conference's expansion once remaining legal issues have been taken care of. The release includes a letter from Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe assuring a clean break with A&M, but notes that as of last night "at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action."
Kind of weird that the Baylor Bears want Texas A&M to stay in the Big 12 so badly. Texas and Oklahoma are the keys to the conference, not A&M. What happens if the two Oklahoma schools, Texas and Texas Tech leave for the Pac-16? Baylor and A&M are going to repopulate the earth together?
Also kind of weird that a religious institution is sort of going back on its word, but that's another story. Hey, A&M! Congratulations.
Here's the statement itself:
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.
According to reports from all over, the SEC has decided to accept the Texas A&M Aggies, who in turn are set to announce the announcement (yes, that's how it works) any minute now. But according to Chuck Carlton, Billy Liucci, Jimmy Burch and Chip Brown, one item remains: making sure the Baylor Bears don't sue.
When the SEC first acknowledged expansion a few weeks ago, Mike Slive made it clear he didn't want any legal snags. The SEC told A&M to handle its business within its conference to ensure a clean break. That's looking like a wise course of action, with Baylor's traditional meddling coming into play.
Some might be surprised to learn Baylor, a smaller school with a subpar football program, holds the last card here. But the university has outsized connections all throughout Texas politics and zero shame in using them.
Ken Starr, longtime legal tormentor of Bill Clinton, is Baylor's president. Former Texas governor Ann Richards is an alum. The school forced its way into the Big 12 in the first place, then forced the thing to stay together last summer. Traditionally, what Baylor wants, Baylor gets. If A&M's move to the SEC is contingent on Baylor not suing, I'll be impressed if it actually happens this week.
We've seen this story before over the course of the last month, but now there appears to be some finality. After weeks of wrangling, back-room dealing and legal vetting, it now appears Texas A&M is headed to the SEC. On Tuesday night, the SEC presidents met, and all signs point to white smoke billowing from the chimney of the venue, indicating a new conference member.
This time around, it's the Fort Worth Star-Telegram calling the deal done, which holds a bit more weight than pay sites and message boards. The formal announcement is expected on Wednesday, though it's unknown when, exactly, the Aggies would begin play as an SEC member.
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.
So this is it for this round of conference expansion. Everyone can pack it up and head home. Once again it all fizzles out in the end, with only one major move.
Or perhaps not. Now that the SEC is at 13 teams, it'll undoubtedly need a 14th at some point in the near future. A 13-team conference is awkward, and Mike Slive probably hates unlucky numbers. Texas A&M was the front of the storm, and the back brings all kinds of excitement, perhaps in the form of a brave new world without the Big 12 and with super-conferences.
It seems that Texas A&M's move from the Big-12 to the SEC is all but official. According to reports from Orangebloods.com writer Chip Brown, the SEC vote held on Tuesday night concluded with a 10-2 tally in the Aggies favor. An announcement from conference officials is expected on Wednesday.
With the ongoing saga soon reaching a conclusion, the onus now falls to the University of Oklahoma. As the Big-12 slowly falls apart, reports indicate that the Sooners -- along with Oklahoma State -- could be the next members to bolt.
SEC didn't want to touch Missouri for fear of collapsing B12. With B12 on verge of collapse now anyway, SEC may not be so cautious with MU.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet ReplyChip Brown
At this point it's beginning to look like nothing is off the table in this abrupt rush for conference realignment. Needless to say, the next few weeks might get a little interesting.
Do you think Texas A&M will join the SEC on Wednesday? Sure, we all do! Here's the latest piece of information indicating a mid-week announcement is highly likely:
The Zone Club at Kyle Field is reserved for both Wednesday and Thursday for the SEC announcement, A&M insider said. I'm thinking Wed. #mysaless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyBrent Zwerneman
Two days to make one announcement, Aggies? That's no way to endear yourselves to Speed Country by any means, unless you're going to spend the whole time talking about the Atlanta Braves or something.
The Texas Longhorns may run the Big 12 like it's their own personal satellite system, but they'll always have traditional rivals Texas A&M and Oklahoma. Well, Texas A&M is going to the SEC. So they'll always have Oklahoma. But Oklahoma wants to go to the Pac-12, it seems. So maybe Texas is all #lonelytweet after all.
Oklahoma Sooners coach Bob Stoops grants that if Texas and Oklahoma end up in different conferences, the Red River Rivalry could effectively be ended. Judge for yourself whether he's talking just to get through questions, but it's feasible. While the two wouldn't split with any particular animosity, other than Oklahoma's concerns about the Longhorn Network, their much more valuable rivalry could conceivably meet a similar fate as the Lone Star Showdown.
All signs -- well, at least a sign or two -- point to Oklahoma taking Oklahoma State out west. If that were to happen, Texas could basically be forced to either follow along, turn independent or be stuck with conference mates like Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas State and whatever minor Texas schools it could collect.
Once Texas A&M and the SEC complete their long-gestating courtship, all attention will turn to the mystery 14th school that will be needed to balance out the divisions in the conference.
Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, not one to throw around rumors carelessly, says that Big East member West Virginia and Big 12 member Missouri have emerged as the front-runners for that highly-valued spot.
If true, it confirms the "gentleman's agreement" thought to be in place among SEC schools. That understanding is said to ensure that a new SEC member doesn't come from within the same state as a current one, ruling out schools like Florida State and Clemson.
For all the coach-burning jokes, West Virginia would bring with them a fantastic football program and tradition. They'd also bring local character Bob Huggins and a solid basketball program. While not "South South," no one is going to challenge West Virginia's southern street cred anytime soon. Their AD, Oliver Luck, has been outspoken about his school in previous realignment discussions and it's not hard to believe that he would be pushing for such a move.
Meanwhile, everyone knows that Missouri has been a free-agent-in-the-making for over a year now. The Tigers practically threw themselves at the Big Ten in the last go-round. A chance to go to the SEC would be critical for them, since they're likely to get left looking for table scraps otherwise once Oklahoma and Texas depart.
Of course, this is all still just based on a tweet, even if it comes from a respected source. Stay tuned...
The Texas A&M Aggies could be announced as the 13th member of the SEC on Wednesday, or so say Andy Staples, Billy Liucci, Chip Brown and others, though it should be noted one of these said something about Texas and the ACC at some point this week. I'm sorry.
According to the popularly accepted timeline, SEC presidents are putting together their votes Tuesday in anticipation of a vote to accept Texas A&M, because nobody ever votes on things like this without first ensuring the vote is only a formality.
It really would be super to go ahead and get this announced as soon as possible. Feel like we're watching a bunch of freshmen try to figure out the add/drop deadline during their first semester. Classes have started? Classes started in spring. There are EXAMS going on right now.
The Pac-12 would accept Oklahoma as a member, but only if it had to according to a report from the San Jose Mercury News. According to unnamed sources, the Pac-12 has everything the want right now including a rich TV contract and a conference championship game. However, if Texas A&M jumped to the SEC forcing the conference to expand to 14 or 16 teams along with the Big Ten, the Pac-12 would quickly follow suit, entertaining membership for the likes Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
"The SEC won't stop at 13, or even 14. And if the SEC is at 14 or 16, the Big Ten will do it," a source said. "At that point, (the Pac-12) would be crazy not to entertain the idea of expansion."
According to the report, Missouri would most likely be the SEC's 14th team should Texas A&M drop. Texas could join the Pac-12 along with Texas Tech, but the Longhorns would have to agree to an equal share in revenue. If not, they may go independent.
For more conference expansion craziness, stay tuned to our storystream.
Another day, another crazy conference realignment story.
Today's big news comes courtesy of Orangebloods, which claim to have sources telling them that Texas, Syracuse, UConn and Rutgers are going to leave their respective conferences and join the ACC.
Several sources said the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big East and Pac-12 are reaching out to schools in the Big 12 in anticipation that the league is about to come apart like an Alka Seltzer tablet in boiling water.
One source close to the situation said the ACC, which is trying to fend off a potential raid by the Southeastern Conference (Virginia Tech continues to be mentioned by sources as an SEC target), would possibly look to add Texas, Syracuse, Connecticut and Rutgers to grow to 16.
ACC commissioner was asked about the report and he, like you, has no idea where it came from.
"I need to read more to see what we’re doing," Swofford said laughing. "That’s news to me."
"I think we see a lot of things that are written, blogged and speculated about right now," Swofford said. "We’re not a point at doing anything from a conference standpoint other than a lot of discussion, analysis and seeing what the landscape may hold moving forward. That’s way beyond any type of discussion we’ve had."
Oh this is going to get so much messier. Buckle up.
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As Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC realignment and expansion rumors swirl, the New York Times Pete Thamel attempts to make sense of it all in his most recent report on the matter. As he puts it, regardless of what everyone else wants to do, it all comes down to Texas. As usual.
Thamel tweeted the gist of his article in a series of tweets.
Nothing happens with the Pac-12 and UT-OU until A&M to the SEC becomes official. (Tue or Wed).
Oklahoma reached out to the Pac-12 more than two weeks ago. This wasn't sudden.
did NOT go zip around Big 12 country and meet with schools while in Dallas area for ORE-LSU.
Texas State Senator Judith Zaffirini told me: "I don’t see that happening at all at this point" in regards to legislative involvement.
The Big East has reached out to multiple Big 12 universities and offered a soft landing in case Big 12 folds.
For Texas to go, they'd need to "fold" TT to their network to fit Pac-12 model. This is feasible, as ESPN and Pac-12 have good rapport.
The Pac-12 presidents haven't discussed UT-OU-TT-OSU. There's a chance -- and I don't know how much of one -- they may have no interest.
The word is that the Pac-12 will not accept the Oklahoma schools with Texas. And since Texas would likely come with Texas Tech, we might be on the verge of the Pac-16.
Or maybe not.
The Oklahoma Sooners are getting closer to a move to the Pac-12, and they'll probably be taking a few of their Big 12 brethren with them. According to NewsOK, Pac-12 officials didn't meet with Oklahoma on their trip to Dallas because they didn't have to. Oklahoma already has their eyes on the move.
Oklahoma State is likely to do whatever Oklahoma does, meaning the Pac-12 sounds pretty close to becoming a Pac-14 without doing any major hard selling to anyone else. Of course, their ultimate goal is not a 14 team league, leaving them to pursue more schools to fill out a potential 16-team conference. Currently, their targets after Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are believed to be Texas and Texas Tech.
If the Big 12 were to die a fiery death as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas departed, the Pac-12 probably wouldn't have to do a whole lot to convince Texas Tech to join their ranks. This leaves Texas, who are going to take some serious selling and compromise to get into the Pac-12.
Thanks to the Longhorn Network, Texas and the Pac-12 will have conflicting media strategies and that just aren't going to work out. However, a dead conference is no use to Texas and Texas is the crowned jewel in this whole conference realignment mess, so if all of this really is going down, it seems likely that the two sides could come to a compromise.
Sit tight, folks. Conference realignment talk is going to be just as prevalent as talk about actual football this Fall.
The Oklahoma St. Cowboys at least waited for everybody to digest the news that the Oklahoma Sooners are exploring their options elsewhere to announce that they're doing the same. You can go ahead and figure they'll attempt to accompany Oklahoma to the Pac-12 (or SEC!) if that ends up being the move,
Keeping Okie State for the sake of keeping Okie State isn't mission critical to the Big 12, but losing both Oklahoma schools would essentially make the conference nothing but Texas and, um, Robert Griffin III, and he really doesn't have all that much eligibility left. Kansas, just keep playing basketball and somebody will come by to collect you.
You'll note it's only the Big 12 schools who could actually tempt another power conference that are putting out statements like this. These comments, along with BYU's, could be very good markers for the next round of realignment.
For more Cowboys, head to Oklahoma State blog Cowboys Ride For Free.
There's no time like the opening Saturday of the college football season to answer the eternal question: "Wait, who's in which conference now?"
It's the day before the first college football Saturday of the year and realignment talk has reappeared again. In a time when the focus should be on football, and the follies of Morgan Newton, it's all about money, the implosion of the Big 12 and superconferences again.
The latest involves Oklahoma and a package that would create the Pac-16. That package, according to Jon Wilner, includes Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. In other words, a similar scenario to last summer.
If Texas is part of the league’s expansion puzzle, the other teams would be Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
If Texas is not part of the puzzle, I was told, the conference would have to be convinced that there’s a combination of four schools, obviously including Oklahoma, that would not cause the per-school revenue to decrease.
It's all guesswork, but this time around Oklahoma is reportedly leading the charge.
Sooners athletic director Joe Castiglione isn't talking, but that sure isn't stopping Oklahoma president David Boren from speaking his mind. Boren is uncertain about the future of the Big 12, but expects something to happen fast, putting a two- to three-week timetable on a conference decision, it seems. He added that Oklahoma tried to fight Texas A&M's decision to leave the conference, but to no avail.
Finally, Boren said "I don't think OU will wind up being a wallflower on this in the end" and that the school is "active" at the moment. So is Oklahoma spearheading a charge to either find a replacement for Texas A&M or find a new home? From his comments, it sure seems likely.
The Big 12 could be saved, with Boren saying the goal is to get back to 12 teams. But reading between the lines, his words sound more like a eulogy than words intended to revive the conference.
As Texas A&M's impending departure from the Big 12 continues to send rumors flying all over college football, Air Force has officially popped up as a trendy one to join the Big 12 as a replacement.
Air Force's athletic director, Hans Mueh, issued a statement shortly after those rumors cropped up and was non-committal on things. While he claimed the academy is satisfied with being a member of the Mountain West, Mueh still used that phrase "will continue to work towards what is best."
The Big 12 would offer a bigger spotlight for Air Force, but there are still far too many variables before anything happens.
BYU, Notre Dame and Arkansas remain the highest-profile choices that would interest the Big 12, however Notre Dame remains highly-unlikely and Arkansas is unlikely to leave the stable SEC for an unstable Big 12.
Keep and eye on SB Nation Denver for Air Force updates, rumor or otherwise.
As the Big 12 disintegrates, it's time to at least consider what could happen to the conference's remaining schools besides Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri, each of whom holds cards ranging from ALL OF THE CARDS to possible SEC interest maybe. What about Kansas and Kansas State?
It's been assumed for a while that the two schools are required to remain in the same conference by state law or some such, but that's actually not the case, as they've been saying for a while now. Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little emphasized that arrangement again Thursday.
If the two did split up, it would likely be better for Kansas. Neither can offer much of a historic football program, but KU at least fields a top basketball program, which could serve as a fine marketing program for some conference's football season! Plus it's closer to major TV market Kansas City.
The Big East and maybe ACC are probably the only major conferences who'd consider Kansas, and that right there is just total speculation on my part. Still, it's worth noting that the two rivals could theoretically split.
With the news emerging that Texas A&M is on their way out of the Big 12 and on their way into the SEC, conference realignment rumors are back in full-force, despite the fact that the football season, featuring actual football games, starts on Thursday night. The BYU Cougars, a football independent and a member of the West Coast Conference for all other sports, have been unsurprisingly linked to a move to the Big 12 due to their independence.
The school responded with a statement about a potential Big 12 move earlier, neither confirming or denying their interest in a conference switch. However, the Salt Lake Tribune is currently reporting that BYU has had discussions with the Big 12 in the last week. It is unclear whether or not the Big 12 has issued an invitation to BYU, but the possibility of the school joining the Big 12 for football while leaving all other sports in the WCC has been discussed.
For more BYU sports, visit BYU blog Vanquish The Foe.
With the impending addition of Texas A&M as their 13th team, the SEC will almost certainly be adding a 14th school at some point in the near or mid-range future. Who will that be?
With Texas A&M bolting for the SEC a year after the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Colorado Buffaloes left, the Big 12 is collapsing -- or so the Big 12 says. The conference really should deploy a plan soon to stop the bleeding and ensure the Missouri Tigers, among others, that it makes more sense to stick around than to jet.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Pittsburgh Panthers have seen their names thrown into the Big 12 rumor mix, with each sending out statements denying interest over the past week. People keep bringing up the Arkansas Razorbacks, which isn't going to happen, and YES WE HEAR YOU SMU.
But the lone interesting statement to come out of all this was released by the BYU Cougars:
There is much speculation right now regarding conference affiliation that seems to change by the hour. Commenting on such conjecture is not productive and creates a distraction for our program. As we enter the 2011-12 athletic season, BYU is focused on the opportunities ahead. We are excited about our relationship with ESPN as a football independent and our affiliation with the West Coast Conference. The university will have no further comment.
That's so not a no. If you think about it, schools like Virginia Tech and Pitt have to issue abrupt, frazzled statements denying realignment rumors, as they have current conferences to appease. But BYU's a football independent. So let's talk.
Why would BYU think about giving up its short-lived independence to join Conference Texas?
There are only a handful of schools in the country with the national or global reach to support their own television networks. Texas is one. Notre Dame would be another. So is BYU. BYU likes their relationship with ESPN? Texas loves theirs. I still really like the idea of those three establishing the country's most casual conference, which would allow each school to get money however it pleases.
BYU could have just about everything it wants out of independence, plus annual marquee games against Texas and Oklahoma and a straightforward path to BCS money.
If the Big 12 has another significant move to make, it's not clear right now, but adding BYU could be what it takes.
For more BYU sports, visit BYU blog Vanquish The Foe.
With Texas A&M announcing its intention to leave the Big 12 conference, SMU is interested in taking the Aggies’ place and helping the conference get back to double-digit membership, Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News reports.
“We’re here to help,” SMU athletic director Steve Orsini said. “The news today provides the opportunity for us to reach our goal.”
Dallas-based SMU is currently in Conference USA, but is open to joining any AQ (automatic qualifying) conference.
"We feel it’s time. We’re ready," Orsini said last week via ESPN Dallas. “The college landscape is shifting. We’re already a top academic institution and with the re-commitment of the university already in place, we can be a top athletics program nationally.”
Texas A&M hosts SMU at Kyle Field on Sunday, September 4, which could give the Mustangs a chance to show the Big 12, or other large conferences, that they’re on the same level.
“This is what our guys want, they want to play against the best,” Orsini said. “We want to do that week in and week out.”
For more on the Aggies, visit Texas A&M blog I Am The 12th Man.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has responded to Texas A&M's promise to leave the conference in 2012 by promising to expand membership, rather than condense. Texas A&M is widely believed to be in the process of trying to join the SEC, where it would be the western-most outpost of the currently 12-team conference. This surely means another round of conference musical chairs awaits us as various schools pine to join the new, watered down Big 12.
"Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin has notified the Conference of his decision to withdraw the university from the Big 12 effective June 30, 2012," Beebe said in a statement. "The presidents and chancellors of the nine remaining member institutions are steadfast in their commitment to the Big 12. As previously stated, the Conference will move forward aggressively exploring its membership options."
The Aggies are widely believed to be attempting to join the SEC and would leave the Big 12 with just nine schools. It's unclear whether the conference will attempt to get back to 12 or settle for 10. Among the schools that have been identified as possible candidates are current SEC team Arkansas and Notre Dame, which is currently an independent. More realistic targets include former Southwestern Conference teams Houston and SMU.
After a short delay and several denials from all over the place, Texas A&M has announced it will leave the Big 12 and seek conference affiliation elsewhere. The Aggies expect to leave the conference on June 30, 2012, and join a new mystery conference shortly thereafter. No, their new conference destination is not a mystery, as they've been yearning to join the SEC for quite some time now.
From the statement:
"After much thought and consideration, and pursuant to the action of the (Texas A&M University System) Board of Regents authorizing me to take action related to Texas A&M University's athletic conference alignment, I have determined it is in the best interest of Texas A&M to make application to join another athletic conference," President R. Bowen Loftin wrote to Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe in the letter dated August 31, 2011.
"We appreciate the Big 12's willingness to engage in a dialogue to end our relationship through a mutually agreeable settlement," Loftin added. "We, too, desire that this process be as amicable and prompt as possible and result in a resolution of all outstanding issues, including mutual waivers by Texas A&M and the conference on behalf of all the remaining members."
So there we have it. Texas A&M has gotten its wish and will leave Texas to rule the increasingly diminishing Big 12 (you can hear Texas' sobbing from here, can't you?), the SEC will soon enter the Lone Star State and presumably look to pick up a complementing 14th team.
The 2011-12 academic year will see the final seasons of Big 12 football, basketball and other sports for A&M, and you can bet this year's Texas-Texas A&M football game is going to be a pretty big deal.
For more, visit Texas A&M blog I Am The 12th Man.
According to Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News, Texas A&M is denying it's warned the Big 12 that a conference exit is coming soon. The New York Times' Pete Thamel had reported Monday night that the Aggies told the conference it would formally withdraw on Tuesday, clearing the way for the school to request membership in the SEC.
So, whatever, this is all happening. People deny things.
Texas A&M will join the SEC, and it will probably begin to officially happen at some point this week. Early this week, Lord willing. Exactly how far along the process is and when the Aggies will announce they've left the Big 12 is up in the air, but we know we're just a few steps away from the announcement of a press conference to announce things that get announced at press conferences.
The Texas A&M Aggies were reportedly expected to announce their departure from the Big 12 on Tuesday, but apparently have given the conference a little bit of a head start on digesting the news. How, oh how, would the Big 12 make it through the day unless it had been given some sort of forewarning that the Aggies are leaving?
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The New York Times' Pete Thamel reports Texas A&M president "R. Bowen Loftin sent a letter to the Big 12 board chairman, the Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton, notifying the league that the Aggies would formally withdraw." Thamel reports the announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday.
Ducks all in a row and so forth. If everything goes according to plan, hopefully the SEC will scoop up the Aggies on Wednesday and we can get down to the business of football teams playing football.
According to Chip Brown of orangebloods.com, Texas A&M will formally withdraw from the Big 12 Conference on Tuesday.
Earlier on Monday, the university received a letter from Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe that outlined "the withdrawal procedures according to the financial provisions of the Big 12 bylaws and mutual waivers of legal claims," Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Texas A&M informed Beebe of their intentions to move to the Southeastern Conference, a situation that was discussed by the conference's board of directors over the weekend. Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin issued the following statement on Monday:
"I certainly appreciate the discussion among the Big 12 presidents/chancellors and the expression for their desire for Texas A&M to remain in the conference," Loftin wrote. "We all agree that Texas A&M is an extremely valuable institution; thus, it is incumbent upon me, as the president of the university, to ensure that we are in a position to enhance our national visibility and future financial opportunity. While this is a complex and long-term decision, it is not our intent to prolong our conference exploration for an extended period of time."
After a weekend teleconference with the Texas A&M Aggies, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has sent the school a letter detailing the separation process the two parties are looking at, the Dallas Morning News' Chuck Carlton reports. The biggest piece of information: the sides have agreed to "waivers of legal claims" from here on out.
In other words, not to sue each other if everything goes according to plan.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive made it clear he wanted the onboarding of the Aggies to come without any legal snags. If the letter from Beebe is any indication, it sounds like that step may have been met.
So when would a move to the SEC be announced? Carlton quotes A&M president R. Bowen Loftin, he of many bow ties, as saying, "it is not our intent to prolong our conference exploration for an extended period of time."
You'd have to hope they'd announce realignment before Thursday so as not to interfere with the regular season. Who else is ready to put this stuff on ice for a few months?