Is Big 12 safe from others' growth plans?
UT among schools said to be coveted by other conferences, but league commissioner confident of unity
By Suzanne Halliburton and John Maher
Updated: 9:43 p.m. Friday, June 4, 2010
Published: 9:41 p.m. Friday, June 4, 2010
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The commissioner of the Big 12 Conference said Friday that he is confident in the league's solidarity, even as rumors continued to swirl that as many as six member schools including the University of Texas are targets of other conferences' expansion plans.
As the league's annual meetings between Commissioner Dan Beebe and university presidents and athletic directors came to a close, members of the Pacific-10 Conference prepared for their own league meetings this weekend.
On the Pac-10's table will be a discussion on expansion. Reports surfaced Thursday that the Texas Longhorns could be the central piece of the creation of a 16-team superconference that could jump-start a major shift in the college sports landscape.
"We did not start this," Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said this week of the expansion chatter. "If we need to finish this, we'll finish this. We'll be a player in whatever happens."
But how will this all finish?
The only definitive thing to come out of Friday's final meeting was the decision not to provide details on what the Big 12 has in mind to keep itself safe from potential raiders to the west (Pac-10) and the north (Big Ten Conference).
"We want to keep that process confidential," Beebe said. "I am comfortable. There's still a process we're going through, but based on the conversations we had, I think we're in a very good position."
Texas, along with Texas A&M, Texas Tech and three other Big 12 schools, have been linked to the potential Pac-10 expansion scenario. Texas also is considered to be high on the expansion wish list of the Big Ten, confirmed Thursday by a Columbus Dispatch report that included an e-mail between the conference commissioner and UT President Bill Powers — obtained through an open records request — detailing the Big Ten's expansion interest in the Longhorns.
Powers, who also is the chairman of the Big 12's board of directors, was scheduled to give a media briefing Friday. But he told reporters as he left a downtown Kansas City hotel that Beebe would instead speak on the Big 12's behalf.
The Big 12 schools that have not been linked to other conferences are Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State. If the Pac-10 scenario — which would create a 16-team superconference placing Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State in one division — is true, it would gut the Big 12 South division.
Longhorns football coach Mack Brown said Friday that there have been no athletic department-wide meetings yet to discuss expansion.
"That's why I know things aren't serious enough yet," Brown said. "The information I have is we want to stay (in the Big 12) and we hope it works out, and we plan on that happening."
Beebe said Friday that there is no immediate timetable for Big 12 schools to decide whether they will stay in the Big 12 or leave. A conference rule requires a school to give a two-year notice for leaving but still forfeit 50 percent of its revenues from the Big 12. That two-year deadline notice was Monday. Leaving with only a one-year notice would result in an 80-percent revenue forfeiture.
Beebe said Friday that the Big 12 would divide $139 million in revenues this year to member schools. A Texas spokesman said the Longhorns' athletic department is expecting to receive between $14 million and $15 million.
That would be a high for Big 12 schools. The conference divides its money based in part on schools' TV appearances. The Southeastern Conference also released revenue data Friday, announcing a record $209 million, with each SEC school receiving $17.3 million.
It's not the first time Texas has been the focus of conference expansion plans.
In April, former SEC Commissioner Harvey Schiller revealed that in the late 1980s, as the SEC looked to expand to 14 schools, Texas and Arkansas were wanted from the former Southwest Conference, but not Texas A&M, and that Dodds "really wanted to join."
Last month, though, Dodds said his discussions with the SEC then were never that firm, and that he told Schiller that because of politics, Texas and A&M were not free to go.
Wash. AD confirms 'full merger' of Pac-10/Big 12 is on the table
Posted by John Taylor on June 4, 2010 9:56 AM ET
And now there are two.
Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn created quite the splash Thursday night by seemingly giving legs to a report that has the Pac-10 at least thinking of plucking six teams from the Big 12.
Now, a fellow athletic director has confirmed that a raid of the Big 12 by the Pac-10 is certainly an 800-pound gorilla jumping up and down on the table.
In a conversation with Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, Washington AD Scott Woodward intimated that anything and everything is up for discussion when it comes to the future of the conference, up to and including "a full merger" with the Big 12.
"There is an enormous amount of speculation about conference expansion right now and I think with the Pac-10 that anything is possible, all the way from remaining with the status quo, where we are today, to a full merger with the Big 12 and anything in between,'' Woodward told the Times. "All possibilities are viable and open for discussion."
The Pac-10's annual spring meetings are set to commence Friday morning and run through Sunday. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe and assorted conference presidents/chancellors are scheduled to conclude their round of spring meetings and meet with the media.
Well, so much for a nice, leisurely summer weekend. Thanks fellas. My golf game -- or lack thereof -- appreciates it.
That leaked e-mail included a remark about a 'tech problem' what people are taking this to mean is in reference to the Texas Tech Raiders. If Texas, Texas A&M, or Texas Tech were ever courted to another conference and all actually left the Texas Legislature WILL make a law that states that the other two teams HAVE to be in the new conference as well. Because it is in Texas' best interest to have our three super football teams to continue to play against each other.
Texas BY FAR makes the most revenue by at least $20 million dollars. Now there is talk about the super conference of a merger between the PAC 10 and Big 12 and that will basically cause a shake-up that will reverberate throughout the other conferences.
I wonder how this will effect the Bowls vs Playoffs fight in college football?