KANSAS, CITY, MO. Absent from the final three days of the Big 12's spring meetings in Kansas City, Mo., Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins on Friday afternoon provided his thoughts on the discussions that took place throughout the week.
Perkins, who has been on record as a supporter of saving the Big 12, said Friday that he was not interested in commenting on the rumors that the Pac-10 is set to invite six Big 12 schools to join its conference, a report that surfaced Thursday via Rivals.com
Perkins, who missed Thursday's session because of a prior commitment, said: “It doesn’t do any good to speculate on any of these rumors. 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.
What's more, he said he appreciated the pace and tone with which Big 12 Conference officials conducted their meetings this week.
“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," he said.
He continued: “I respect the candidness of everyone who attended these meetings. We engaged cooperatively in a positive manner to work toward the goal that I think everyone wants, and I can say that I feel very good about the future of the Big 12. We at Kansas Athletics know that the Big 12 is one of the best conferences in the country, and we are confident about its future. I appreciate all of those at KU who have worked very hard to keep the Big 12 at the forefront of intercollegiate athletics. We all must stay patient and let this process take its course, but at the end of the day I am convinced that the Big 12 will remain, as it is today, a national leader.”
Another bit of speculation Perkins addressed Friday afternoon involved KU’s connection to Kansas State, something many have wondered about considering the fact that both schools could be forced to find a new conference to call home in the near future if the Rivals.com report turns out to be true.
“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.”
KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, who also missed the meetings, said she kept in touch with Perkins throughout the week.
“Lew has kept me informed as these meetings progressed," she said. "I share his optimism about the Big 12 and look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure a strong future for the conference.”
The six schools receiving interest from the Pac-10 were: Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M; and Texas Tech.
Friday, rumors emerged about contact between Texas and the Big Ten. The Big Ten, of course, also has been involved in such speculation previously with Missouri and Nebraska both openly exploring the possibilities that exist in that conference.
Despite the continued emergence of rumors from all corners of the country, Perkins remained positive.
“Based on a considerable amount of work by (Big 12) commissioner Dan Beebe and others, I am very encouraged as these meetings end about the strength and viability of the Big 12 Conference," he said.