Archive for Thursday, November 22, 2012

Opinion: Leaving Big 12 doesn’t make sense for KU now

November 22, 2012


So here we are, the conference realignment waters stirring again and fans of Kansas University athletics wondering if any or perhaps every rumor they read should be taken seriously or ignored altogether.

The answer is yes.

With Maryland and Rutgers leaving the ACC and Big East to join the Big Ten earlier this week, administrators, coaches and, yes, even fan bases at schools across the country have tuned their realignment meters to the high-alert setting. With good reason. As we’ve seen before, movement from one conference to another does not always come with a lot of build-up before the bomb drops.

Although this week’s action has taken place on the East Coast and has yet to impact the Big 12 Conference or KU, plenty of advice has been handed out regarding what the Big 12 will — or is it should? — do and what options the Big 12’s members might have if and when the next round of nonsense hits.

One report even went as far as to peg KU as one of the latest Big Ten targets should the now-14-team league look to become the first 16-team superconference.

At this point, it’s much more likely that the Big 12 would expand before one of its members would leave. And even expansion seems like a long shot.

If this kind of KU-to-the-Big-Ten option presented itself five years ago, heck, even two years ago, the decision would have been easy. KU officials would have had to jump on it. It makes geographic sense. It makes financial sense. And, with teams like Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota and Rutgers calling the conference home, it makes football sense, too.

But a lot has changed in the past couple of years. Enough, in fact, to make entertaining an offer next to impossible.

Kansas Athletics is now run by a man whose word means something and KU football, though still in rebuilding mode, appears in better shape than when Turner Gill was the face of the program. Oh yeah, and the basketball program added a Final Four, a title-game appearance and another NBA lottery pick to its list of accomplishments. But we all know where basketball ranks in all of this.

What’s more, after walking away from its own funeral, the Big 12 has repositioned itself as one of the nation’s power conferences. In addition to upgrading its television deals, unity and leadership, the league also has the unanimously approved granting-of-rights agreement that ties the schools together much more tightly than even a $50 million dollar exit penalty ever could. It’s moments such as these that were the reason behind the Big 12’s decision to go the rights route instead of focusing on dollars, which can, and seemingly always will, be negotiated down to a fraction of the original amount when parts get to moving.

With the Big Ten off the table, the focus shifts, at least around here, to what the Big 12 needs to do and can do to stay strong should the Maryland and Rutgers moves be the blocks that send the Jenga tower toppling over.

It’s true that the ACC is now more vulnerable than ever and it seems clear that future of that league is the key to everything. If the ACC survives, the madness could subside. If not, let the recruiting begin.

While picking up could-be ACC castoffs Florida State and, to a lesser degree, Clemson or Virginia Tech, would make some sense, the best move for the Big 12 today is the one that proved to be best during the two previous rounds of realignment — let patience, loyalty and logic carry you. With new television deals, fewer slices being taken out of a suddenly much-sweeter pie and 10 members that genuinely enjoy doing business together, it seems the Big 12 already got it right once.

Leaning on such core values may sound cheesy and like anything but the right course, but, aside from the destruction of a couple of long-standing rivalries, can you really say that those things failed the conference the first two times?


danmoore 1 year, 4 months ago

Pitt is leaving Big East for ACC.

There are more good teams because it's a bigger conference but Big 10 is weaker than Big 12 in football. Basketball wise would make it tougher for KU but we could hold our own. We were 3-0 last year against Big 10.

I think it' very unlikely we'll get an invitation so it's probably a moot point at best.


kuguardgrl13 1 year, 4 months ago

I can't understand why KU would ever think about going to the Big 10. We have very little in common with those schools, even though they are only a few states away. We would be crushed in football by the likes of Ohio State or Michigan. Basketball up there isn't like what we have down here. It doesn't have the fan base. It plays second fiddle to hockey. The Lady Jayhawks would probably enjoy being able to compete against the likes of the Lady Gophers (don't mess with those Minnesota girls. They're big, blonde Britney Griners). There would be no perennial competitors for the KU men. The Big 10 gets one or two decent teams that rotate through. None of them are annually good from what I've seen. We'd be much better off staying in the Big 12 and recruiting Pitt and Louisville if we must. We can't even say that sticking with K-State and Iowa State would be keeping us down (as some said when Nebraska was leaing). Both of those schools beat us in football the last few years and can compete against us in basketball.


Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 4 months ago

1963, you're absolutely right. The Big 10 is by far and away the most powerful conference with the most viewers and the longest academic and athletic tradition. KU would be very negligent and possibly harmed not to make the move.

Just a year ago, OU and UT had a one-night stand with the entire West Coast, and we're sitting here confident that they won't do it again if the money is right? Get real. Get Big, as in Big 10 if the offer comes.


TexAzAg 1 year, 4 months ago

Jayhawk1963: Agree with most of where you are going, however, struggling to understand the "most prestigious " reference in regard to Big 10 & PAC 12. Iff you talking academics, You have an arguable point, if your talking athletics, you are completely off base.

Obvious from my name tag, I'm an Aggie. However, not here to bash the Chickenhawks. Just need to make the point that these conference choices have very little to do with rivalry, academics, or, geography ( although aTm's decision made sense on all three fronts) and everything to do with protecting your future. The school down in Austin has and will continue to promote solely in their own best interest. They have zero loyalty to anyone but themselves. The LHN is a major issue and the conference continues to provide exceptions to the Texas program. Not many are aware that UT has been granted a permanent home date on Thanksgiving night. An annual national platform to promote the program from every year. Are others in the Big 12 offered similar advantage? Nope

Advice from a long time Aggie with 50+ years of experience in dealing with the Texas program ........ If an offer comes ........... Sign and run as fast as can to the promised land.


Jayhawk1963 1 year, 4 months ago

All I can say is, if KU ever DOES get an offer from the Big 10, they would be INSANE to not jump on it !! There are only three "stable" conferences (Big 10, Pac 12 & SEC), and the Big 10 is by far the most prestigious (with the Pac 12 second). The Big 12 will only hold together as long as UT decides that it couldn't do better as an independent with of their Longhorn network. They will always do whatever is in their best interests and your "patience, loyalty and logic" won't count for anything. Furthermore, what makes you think the granting-of-rights agreement can't be "renegotiated" just like exit fees ??

As far as the Big 12 itself is concerned, they had better be proactive this time rather than "patient". Once Louisville and/or Cincinnati are snatched up by the ACC, the possibilities for the Big 12 become even less appealing. And, if UT tries to block expansion to 12 - 16 teams, what does that tell you ? KU has to look out for KU and being part of the Big 10 would be ideal, not just in athletics but academics and research opportunities as well.


jhawkinsf 1 year, 5 months ago

I think it's in the best interests of the conference to get back up to 12 teams. That allows for a conference championship game in football which is a real moneymaker. Which two teams? I think Louisville should be at the top of the list. The second team might surprise, but I think South Florida might be an up and coming school, opens up prime recruiting and adds larger T.V. markets. BYU ought to be given serious consideration with Memphis a little further down the list.


yourworstnightmare 1 year, 5 months ago

The Big 12 should go after Cinncinnati, Louisville, Virginia Tech, and Pitt to become a 14 team conference. The Big Least and ACC are dissolving. The Big 12 needs to move.


JackMcKee 1 year, 5 months ago

Was KU invited to join another conference? You're putting the cart before the horse, Matt.


Brian Chilcoat 1 year, 5 months ago

This madness, and that is what it is, needs to stop. While football is king, everything shifts over time. The constant, 24 hour a day barrage of football on Tv will take a toll on it's popularity someday. Money cannot be the only deciding factor in life. Afterall, aren't these institutions of higher learning? When does geography and common sense come into play?


weeslicket 1 year, 5 months ago

none of these conferences make sense anymore (pac12 makes the most sense). thanks a bunch ncaa.


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