Archive for Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gray-Little, Zenger react to Texas A&M departure from Big 12

August 31, 2011


Although most of the action regarding Texas A&M;'s decision to leave the Big 12 Conference has taken place in Texas, Kansas University chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and athletic director Sheahon Zenger have been involved in a variety of ways in ensuring the survival and continued success of the Big 12.

Wednesday afternoon, just a few hours after A&M; announced officially that it would break away from the Big 12 beginning in 2012, Gray-Little and Zenger released statements in a joint release sent out by the university.

Most of what they've said was consistent with KU's stance throughout conference realignment, not only this round, in which A&M; appears to be headed to the SEC, but also last summer's wild round that resulted in Colorado and Nebraska leaving the league for the Pac-12 and Big Ten, respectively.

“Today Texas A&M; notified the Big 12 of its intention to leave the conference at the end of the 2011-12 season. The Big 12 had already started actively examining expansion opportunities and KU fully supports this effort," Gray-Little said. "The high level of competition in the Big 12 provides tremendous value to its member schools and excitement for fans around the country. We’ll aggressively pursue the best interests of the University of Kansas, our student-athletes and fans, and that continues to be for the Big 12 to remain strong and competitive.”

Zenger shared the chancellor's view and stressed that he and the university would do whatever it could to help ensure that the Big 12 remained strong.

“We have known for some time that this was a possibility," Zenger said of A&M;'s departure. "We have nine institutions firmly committed to the Big 12 Conference. Chancellor Gray-Little and I will continue working together with (Big 12) Commissioner (Dan) Beebe, the Big 12 Board of Directors and the other conference members as we take the necessary steps to ensure the continued strength of this conference.”

Earlier in the week, at his regularly scheduled press conference that precedes this weekend's football opener against McNeese State, KU coach Turner Gill expressed extreme confidence in Gray-Little and Zenger.

"The biggest thing for me is I have all the confidence in the world in our chancellor, Bernadette Gray-Little, and our athletic director, Sheahon Zenger, to represent KU well no matter what happens in the Big 12," Gill said.

Asked if all the talk about A&M;'s departure and the future of the conference had been a distraction, Gill was direct with his answer.

"No, not at all," he said. "It doesn't have a direct impact on getting our football team ready to play a football game. You've got speculation running all over the place. I kind of hear the little mumblings and stumblings about it and that's about it."


Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

KU ticket scandal is paying back in a big way. The big 8 is on the horizon. Then the big six. Then like magic up in a puff of smoke = no more...

2GenLtown 6 years, 7 months ago

Tell me, what does the ticket scandal have to do with Nebby, CU, and Texas A&M leaving? The answer is nothing.

John Mueller 6 years, 7 months ago

I don't think there is any question that the best interest of the University of Kansas is to leave, NOW!

We need to either: 1. Go to Pac 16 2. Big 10 (although, i dont think they want us) 3. Big East

The Big 12 is DEAD. And, if we are not proactive, we are gonna end up in a conference with Butler County and Garden City.

I, frankly, don't even understand the public message from BGL. She should be saying something like this: "We are evaluating all possible opportunties and will be pro-active to find the right long term partners for the University of Kansas". period, full stop.

And, we''ll let u know as soon as appropriate what that is, but rest assured, we will stop the death spiral and we will protect the University of Kansas.

Don't like followers, never have, never will.

KU should be a leader.

kcflyer 6 years, 7 months ago

Right on point. The problem with BGL is that she is far from a leader. She is not going to last at KU. She was hired to groom Vitter for the job. She could have taken leadership positions on several issues but punts each time by taking the safe, politically correct route. The ticket issue, dealing with the legislature this year, controlling information with this Huron consulting project all shows weak leadership.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 7 months ago

What I want and what I think will happen are two different things. K.U. will be forever linked to K.S.U., so whatever happens to us, wherever we go, we go together. Not that I think that's good for K.U. and not that I blame K-State. It's just the way it is. So no way do we go to a basketball conference. K-State isn't strong enough. No way do we go to a football conference. We're not strong enough and unless Snyder lives forever, neither is K-State. I'd love to see Notre Dame come to the Big 12. Not gonna happen, but I'd love it. To lesser degrees, I believe the same about Arkansas and B.Y.U. Which leaves what? We have to hang tough and hope. I heard today on ESPN that maybe Pitt. and Louisville might come join us along with maybe S.M.U. and/or T.C.U. If nothing else, raiding other conferences might slow them down from raiding us.
As much as I hate politics with all it's back room deals, K.U. needs to be proactive. If I'm wrong, and K.U. could get an invite to another conference, with or without K-State, we need to be ready to make a move like that. But for now, we have to stick it through with those greedy Longhorns and those ready to stab us in the back Tigers.

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