Archive for Friday, June 4, 2010

United they stand? Realignment questions remain unanswered on final day

Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe listens to a reporter’s question during a news conference following the final day of spring meetings on June 4.

Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe listens to a reporter’s question during a news conference following the final day of spring meetings on June 4.

June 4, 2010, 12:04 p.m. Updated June 5, 2010, 12:00 a.m.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Dan Beebe discusses the future of the Big 12 Conference

Big 12 Conference Commissioner Dan Beebe met the media at the conclusion of the conference's meetings in Kansas City. He was upbeat about the future of the Big 12.

Big 12 reportedly to stay intact

After meetings this week, the Big 12 commissioner said he was encouraged with the response to keeping the conference together. Sports writer Matt Tait weighs in on the situation. Enlarge video

— When taking this week’s Big 12 spring meetings on a day-by-day basis, one might have been able to conclude that a lot was getting done on the ballroom level of the InterContinental Hotel on the Plaza.

The reality of it all couldn’t be farther from that view.

Although the annual meetings seemed to unfold like a Broadway play, complete with resounding overture, colorful characters and an action-packed plot, the final scene lacked any kind of climax. In fact, when Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe spoke to reporters late Friday morning, the only thing that was clear was that very little had changed since the beginning of the week.

“We had very productive meetings with a lot of candid discussion, and I’m very encouraged by the process that we’ve set forth to ensure the solidification of this conference,” said Beebe, echoing similar statements from Tuesday’s opening day.

The problem with what Beebe said Friday wasn’t the content but the limitations. Although he emphasized the existence of a plan that would lead to the survival of the Big 12, he stopped short of explaining what that plan included, leading many in the room to question the plan’s strength.

“The process that’s been set is firm,” Beebe said. “But I’m not going to engage in what that is. That’s just where it’s going to sit.”

With that in mind, the Big 12 moves forward with what outsiders perceive as no known path and no visible destination. Throughout the week, Beebe and many university officials expressed a strong desire to keep the conference together. Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione was one of the most vocal supporters of saving the Big 12, as was Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins, who attended Tuesday’s session but missed Wednesday and Thursday because of a prior commitment.

Their goal was to focus on the conference they’re in rather than worry about what else might be out there.

“It doesn’t do any good to speculate on any of these rumors,” said Perkins, who kept in close touch with the meetings throughout the week. “We’re proud members of the Big 12 and we appreciate what the Big 12 does for us and look forward to working with all these schools going forward.

“You’re much better off working together quietly as a group and trying to move forward that way than you are making a public reaction every time somebody comes out with another rumor.”

One bit of speculation Perkins did address Friday afternoon involved KU’s connection to Kansas State.

“This is something that K-State and we have spent considerable time working on,” Perkins said. “And I know we both look forward to being together for a long time.”

Whether that’s in the Big 12 or elsewhere remains to be seen.

Though no one at the meetings said definitively that the Big 12 would survive, the reasons given for why it should sounded viable. For starters, reworked television deals are on the way, with the first round of negotiations coming in April and the next round scheduled for 2015. As Beebe put it, “there is significant discussion about our future television situation, and we are very encouraged that we can be in a long-term arrangement very soon that would put us on the same level as any conference in the country.”

Of course, the future is not now, and if the Pac-10 or the Big Ten were to come to the plate with attractive offers before then, that could render the arrangements Beebe spoke of meaningless.

Beebe remained consistent in his statements that the conference would be willing to consider just about anything should any one of its schools decide to leave. When asked if he had a contingency plan in place that would cover such an occurrence, Beebe was direct. “Absolutely,” he said. What that plan is, however, remains a secret.

In the event that a school did elect to leave the Big 12 to join a different conference, Beebe revealed that the institution would lose 50 percent of its revenue, provided it gave at least two years notice of its departure. If the time frame for departure were less than two years, the penalty could grow to as much as 90 percent.

Speaking of time frames, on Tuesday Beebe emphasized the importance of knowing which schools were on board and which ones weren’t before he entered into television negotiations in April. He said he’d like to have commitments from all 12 schools as soon as today but admitted that might not be realistic. Friday, the deadline mystery continued when Beebe pointed out that he knew of a date but would not share it.

As for the week’s rumors that put a charge into nearly everyone involved with the Big 12 meetings, Beebe left Kansas City confident that no one in the Big 12 was awaiting an offer from either the Pac-10 or the Big Ten.

“No, I don’t think that’s the issue,” he said. “I don’t blame those other conferences for looking at our institutions. They’re valuable institutions with a lot of great history and tradition and could add a lot. But I think we have a compelling case for why the Big 12 should stay together.”

In other news Friday, Beebe announced that the conference had awarded the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments to Kansas City for the next few years.

The men’s tournament is locked in through 2014 and the women’s tourney through 2013. The conference’s championship football game also will remain at Cowboys Stadium, outside of Dallas, through 2013.

Comments

Kash_Encarri 4 years, 10 months ago

Playing his fiddle as the conference burns down around him.

John Hamm 4 years, 10 months ago

One has to wonder why KU isn't mentioned in any realignment schemes. Some have said it doesn't have a "fan base" but actually it has an extensive base. At any away game even football and there's KU fans there. I'm wondering if there isn't something in the current "problems" within the athletic department that's not being discussed locally? Is there something in the wind elsewhere about a hammer about to fall on ALL of KU athletics?

ralphralph 4 years, 10 months ago

Whatever. If you are all about the money, and have any choice, you are not in Kansas anyway (or shouldn't be). This has never been the kind of place that could run with the big dogs, money-wise, and that's part of its appeal to many of us. If you want the really big bucks, you have to head to Texas or one of the Coasts. Been there, came back, glad I did. I'd rather see the Big 12 stay together. It seems a good fit. If the whole thing really is just about the money, though, and maybe it is, then why would Mizzou or Texas stay in the Big 12 if they could double their money or more going elsewhere? I wouldn't blame them if they went, but it wouldn't be the end of the world. Life will go on in the Sunflower State.

ralphralph 4 years, 10 months ago

Whatever. If you are all about the money, and have any choice, you are not in Kansas anyway (or shouldn't be). This has never been the kind of place that could run with the big dogs, money-wise, and that's part of its appeal to many of us. If you want the really big bucks, you have to head to Texas or one of the Coasts. Been there, came back, glad I did. I'd rather see the Big 12 stay together. It seems a good fit. If the whole thing really is just about the money, though, and maybe it is, then why would Mizzou or Texas stay in the Big 12 if they could double their money or more going elsewhere? I wouldn't blame them if they went, but it wouldn't be the end of the world. Life will go on in the Sunflower State.

Bill Lee 4 years, 10 months ago

The media market is too small. That's why Nebraska isn't as attractive to the Big Ten as the other schools that are mentioned. It's all about the benjamins.

Richard Payton 4 years, 10 months ago

Texas leave the Cowboy Stadium if football winner of the Big 12 South for the Pac-10 not likely. Dallas being the Big 12 Headquarters would be a factor in Texas Schools wanting to remain in Texas no matter how much TV money was offered. This Pac-10 offer gets the attention of Mr. Beebe which is motivation to make the Big 12 stronger not weaker.

LogicMan 4 years, 10 months ago

Hopefully the Big 12 schools will be loyal! Texans are very loyal, especially to the State of Texas's interests, so it's not likely that UT will be allowed to jump on its own. And they'd rather have most of the major TX teams in one conference.

But if MU and NU jump, the Big 12 is in deep trouble. If only one, then Wyoming or another Texas school might be a candidate to replace.

If the six teams jump to the PAC-16 first, then the conference is probably doomed. The Big 10 would then be wise to snap up the North Division, less CU, to become the Big 16 with east and west divisions.

Gregory Newman 4 years, 10 months ago

its unbelievable that no one notices the jealousy of the big-12. ESPN and no-count Mark May and Clark Kellogg can't stand Kansas football and Basketball. The AD's shouldn't have a voice any way they could get fired at any time. The Big ten football hasn't proven that they can play with the Big -12 in football. It ain't but 2 teams in basketball. The Pac-10 football can't match the big-12 football facilities and quiet as its kept Texas needs Kansas basketball and Oklahoma football. I live in Cali and the locals care less about college sports unless they make the bowls. The Midwest booms in college sports because that is the only game in town after friday night HS football. They are starving for attention out here because of pro sports. I live a mile from the bay bridge in Oakland and I'm 12 minutes either way to the Giants, A's, 49ers, warriors and raiders so therefore Cal and Stanford are after thoughts. Most teenagers don't attend their high school football games they hit the clubs before 9 to get in free or they leave by half time because parents want them home because of gangs. Pac ten basketball don't fill seats even with good records. UCLA went to the final 4 3 years in a row and had a pitiful attendance record. We got several casinos from 45 minutes to 3 hours away. We got tons of shopping malls that are 3-15 minutes apart where teenagers hangout. LA is 5 hours away you can go snow ski from 2-3 hours away. Now the Pac ten is big only in Oregon. Its jealousy its an amazing conference I love it.

canusayduh 4 years, 10 months ago

Personally, I'd love to see KU out on it's @$$ and without a "real" conference. Just because the sign says The University of Kansas, doesn't mean KU athletics is entitled to absolutely anything and everything.

canusayduh 4 years, 10 months ago

Not bitter at all. Just not a KU fan in the slightest. Believe it or not, people do live in this town that couldn't care less about the university. Nice that you are brilliant enough to think to classify me into other categories though. You should put that brain power to good use and figure out world peace or something.

jamnjohnks 4 years, 10 months ago

Can the last school out of the Big 12 turn out the lights please?

scarletbhound 4 years, 10 months ago

My two schools are KU (undergrad) and Stanford (graduate) so I am especially intrigued by the report that six Big 12 schools might be recruited by the PAC-10. My main point is that the PAC-10 is very insular and quite fixed on itself. It's a "we're too cool West Coast thing." I can assure you that neither Stanford nor its rival, Cal-Berkeley, has any interest whatsoever in playing Okie State, TA&M, or Tech. UT and OU represent all the worse aspects of big-time football, which most PAC-10 fans think has gone way too far. Indeed, Stanford would rather win NCAA championships in the country-club sports like tennis and golf or Olympic sports like volleyball and water polo than be forced to get down and dirty and corrupt the soul of the university by aspiring to UT-OU level football. CU? That's a different story. Bye-bye, Buffs.

LogicMan 4 years, 10 months ago

"CU? That's a different story."

Having to take long, expensive flights over the Rockies to play every sport doesn't seem very attractive, time-effective, or safe. I hope CU decides to stay in the family!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 10 months ago

CU probably flies to most of its games in the Big 12, and those aircraft fly at around 30,000 ft, which would easily clear the Rockies.

John McCoy 4 years, 10 months ago

The Pac 10 would have to hold its nose to take Tech and OState for academic reasons. Neither is a Tier 1 Univ. Same with KState for that matter. KState may turn out to be KU's albatross.

mizzou_jayhawk 4 years, 10 months ago

it's an interesting point because K-State is not a member of the American Association of Universities (The non-AAU members in the Big 12 are: Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech). AAU membership is a criteria for the Big10, and all the Pac10 are also AAU members except Arizona State, Oregon State, and Washington State. Something tells me that Texas Tech not being an AAU member (but essentially required as a package deal due to Texas state legislature members threatening funding cuts to Texas and TA&M should they move with taking Texas Tech with them) is what was meant in the Columbus Dispatch article where Ohio State University President is quoted as saying in context about big 10 expansion, "I did speak with Bill Powers at Texas, who would welcome a call to say they have a 'Tech' problem" (http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2010/06/04/e-mails-hint-eyes-are-upon-texas.html?sid=101).

Unfortunately KU is not quite as lucrative due to television market size and fan base size compared to Texas, and since KU and KSU also would likely have to stick together for political reasons, KU could not make as compelling of a case as Texas could about about admitting their sister institution that lacks AAU membership. Thus this excludes KU from any Big 10 discussions, and geographically they are probably too far east for the Pac10. So that probably only leaves either the Mountain West or Conference USA as likely suitors for the KU-KSU pair, even if they team up with Iowa State.

Ribeye 4 years, 10 months ago

I never thought i'd be defending K-State. They feel like a little brother, most of the time you can's stand them but when push comes to shove you're still right beside them

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 10 months ago

The Big 12 was an illegitimate conference at its beginning. The addition of the Texas schools to the old Big 8 definitely helped Texas schools more than the old Big 8. Texas and A and M were in a downfall in the SWC. Since becoming the Big 12, revenue and attention has flowed to Texas. The Big 12 is the only conference to unevenly split revenues. Texas gets more.

Good riddance, Big 12. Nebraska and MU would fit well into the Big 10, and the Pac 10 is welcome to the Texas and Oklahoma schools as far as I am concerned.

Maybe KU and KSU can join the Mountain West. As for ISU, they might join Conference USA or somesuch. I really do not care what comes of Baylor.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 10 months ago

In my view, loyalty to the Big 8/Big 12 died at its inception, when the Texas schools were added to the Big 8.

anon1958 4 years, 10 months ago

OonlyBonly (anonymous) says…

One has to wonder why KU isn't mentioned in any realignment schemes. Some have said it doesn't have a "fan base" but actually it has an extensive base.

An extensive fan base is not the same as a large media market. The latter trumps the former in todays greed driven college athletic scene.

Every defender of insane salaries and the high handed tactics of Lew Perkins that is also a KU fan will be reaping what they have sown when the Big 12 implodes and KU lands in a second or even third tier conference. The very tactics that Lew's apologist have defended are at the core of the situation here. Its all about the money, but now KU is the one feeling the pain.

I hope the t-shirt vendor that KU went after and ruined his life is enjoying all of this, I know I am.

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