At the time, most assumed Kansas would attempt to get into the Big Ten or the Mountain West, with a few rumors here and there about a geographically confusing move to the Big East. Apparently, those rumors had something to them, as the Big East considered adding Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Missouri if the Big 12 dissolved.
I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one in the paper, but I do know several attorneys and they tell me they don't expect Nebraska and Colorado to have to pay the entire exit fee, or damages, or whatever you want to call it, to the Big 12.
First, there's the word "damages.'' The remaining Big 12 schools must prove that NU and CU damaged the league by leaving. That might be hard to do in light of the (reckless) rhetoric last week, with Big 12 commish Dan Beebe and others talking about how the league was now better without NU and CU, how the remaining schools stood to make more money, how it would be a much better basketball league (Frank Martin and the Missouri governor both weighed in on that), etc. Those statements can and will be used against the Big 12 in proving that the league has been lessened or damaged.
One of the most powerful advocates of a college football playoff system believes the Big 12's brush with death might eventually help doom the BCS.
It's not going to happen right away, said Texas Rep. Joe Barton. But the promise of renewed television riches that persuaded the Big 12's major football members to reject overtures from the Pac-10 has shone the spotlight on the huge financial jackpot awaiting a playoff.
"The reason the Big 12 stayed together is the commissioner was able to put together a deal that enabled Texas and Texas A&M to go from about $8 million-$12 million a year to around $20 million a year" apiece, the Republican said. "I don't really have a dog in the hunt as to how the conferences ought to be aligned. But I do think this moves us toward a playoff because we now know where the money is."
The saying goes that Texans like things bigger. So with this week’s public announcement by Texas A&M’s university president Bowen Loftin that his institution would forego a courtship by the SEC to join the biggest collegiate athletic conference in the country to remain in a smaller Big 12 minus Nebraska and Colorado, needless to say it hasn’t gone over well with the Aggie faithful.
The University of Texas on Monday said it was staying in the Big 12, followed moments later by pledges from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M to remain in a league that had seemed to be falling apart last week when Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-10) decided to leave over the next two years.
The Texas announcement came shortly after Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott confirmed to the Associated Press in an e-mail that Texas had declined an invitation to become the 12th member of his conference. Scott said Texas president William Powers Jr. told him "the 10 remaining schools in the Big 12 Conference intend to stay together."
When you are a major sports conference for that long, you will create a lot of great moments. It’s just natural. And the Big Eight had its share. There was the Game of the Century, the classic football game between Oklahoma and Nebraska in 1971. There was the NCAA basketball championship game in Kansas City — the home of the Big Eight for all those years — between Oklahoma and Kansas. There was the fourth down game between Colorado and Missouri — classic in its own way. Oklahoma football won 47 games in a row. Jim Ryun and his Kansas teammates set world records in track. It’s always hard to say where things were INVENTED, but the NBA’s Triangle Offense was more or less perfected at Kansas State when Tex Winter coached there, and the football option play was more or less perfected at Nebraska and Oklahoma, and big time basketball recruiting was taken to a new level when Kansas recruited Wilt Chamberlain. And so on.
But, sadly, great moments are not why college conferences are put together. Rivalries are not why conferences are put together. Innovation, history, passion, tradition, cohesion, education — none of these are why conferences are put together. Oh, sure, it is nice to have all those things. Everybody wants those things. But in the end, conferences are like most other things. They are about maximizing revenue. It’s expensive to run an athletic department. It’s expensive to run a college. And the pressure to win sends the costs skyward. There’s an intense pressure to keep up, and to keep up you always need money, more money, even more money. For years, that meant teaming up with those schools who could excite the fan base and help draw the biggest crowds to football games (and, to a lesser extent, basketball games). Then, television came along and changed the formula.
The Southeastern Conference, reportedly keen on adding Texas A&M amid the onrush of a Big 12 shakeup, would be just as interested in luring Texas and Oklahoma but doesn't see either as a realistic option, sources with knowledge of the SEC's maneuverings has told ESPN and ESPN.com.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Kansas, Missouri and Kansas State are on the Mountain West's radar amid a continuing shakeup of the Big 12.
But Baylor isn't considered a candidate to join the conference, with TCU standing staunchly in its way, the Fort Worth newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources.