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Realignment Today: 1:51 p.m. - Circus atmosphere surrounds Big 12 once again
1:51 p.m. Update:
With plenty of uncertainty and nearly all of the focus surrounding the Big 12's plans for expansion, Missouri's exit to the SEC has dipped below the radar a little bit.
I'm sure that's just fine with Missouri, which, according to this report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, may be getting some ideas from A&M on how to leave the conference.
While that might not come as a major surprise, it should be cause for concern among the remaining Big 12 institutions. The reason? If these two are putting their heads together and joining forces to negotiate their exit fees, the odds increase that both will broker sweeter deals on their way out the door.
You'd like to think the Big 12 would stay strong in this department and say something along the lines of this: "You're leaving us. Pay up or stick around." But, with the way the league has handled just about everything else conference-realignment related up to this point, you have to wonder.
It's a great opportunity for the league, it's members and interim commissioner Chuck Neinas to shine. We'll see if they're up for it.
One more interesting read that doesn't have a lot to do with this right now but references what may have started this whole mess in the first place comes from the student newspaper at the University of Texas. It asks the question: Just what are the benefits of the Longhorn Network anyway?
12:11 p.m. Update:
It looks as if the involvement from three U.S. senators goes back a little farther than a last-ditch effort by each to make their case for their university to join the Big 12.
Dennis Dodd, of CBSsports.com, reports that West Virginia's Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller and Kentucky's Mitch McConnell all had been involved in talks with Big 12 officials prior to this week's craziness. Why am I not surprised?
8:50 a.m. Update:
So after all that work and all the hours spent on saving face, the Big 12 has become a laughing stock once again.
There’s a quick and easy way to make sure this round doesn’t linger and it’s a solution that makes both West Virginia and Louisville happy — add them both.
Thanks to information compiled from a few different sources, it seems we landed in this mess because Louisville was the team that had the support of the most Big 12 universities and West Virginia, with its higher profile and better brand, had the support of the television networks.
No need to play tug of war. Just add both.
Originally, I didn’t think this was possible, or should I say plausible, because I didn’t think the Big 12 had identified a suitable 12th school. If Missouri leaves, that takes the conference down to nine. Adding WVU and Louisville would bump them back to 11, but many believe that 10 or 12 are the only numbers that work. Not true. Sources said Wednesday night that the league could work with 11 teams so long as it was a temporary fix.
Isn’t it funny how TCU seems like an age-old member of the league by now?
Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that Louisville makes the most sense, particularly geographically. Here’s a look at what else he had to say.
The funny thing in all this — from all the uncertainty and wishy-washy ways to involvement from the U.S. Senate — the Big 12 is actually in this mess because its new leadership, under the direction of interim commissioner Chuck Neinas, simply tried to behave in the opposite way the league functioned before. Rather than being reactive, Neinas has tried to be proactive. It’s admirable, to be sure, but it also serves up a valuable lesson, one that everyone everywhere would do well to retain: Make sure all your ducks are in a row before you act.
As Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel says, this one can’t be blamed on Dan Beebe.
But before we go looking for anyone to blame, let’s just hope it all gets solved once and for all.
If Missouri leaves and the Big 12 wants to add WVU and Louisville there are options. Good ones. They could revisit the idea of adding BYU, though that continues to look like a longshot. They could go full-speed-ahead in the effort to add Notre Dame in some capacity, a scenario that continues to have legs. Or they could take the gamble and go with the less popular options that some Big 12 folks are pushing and go after San Diego State or Tulane. They may not be the most attractive schools right now but both have great potential and are in great markets.
Just think what becoming Big 12/BCS schools could do for them.
Oh, and just because it wouldn’t seem right without being totally dysfunctional, apparently Oklahoma is perturbed by talk earlier this week of a Big 12 Network. It’s just one thing after another with this conference right now.
Despite having two victory parades in our rearview mirrors, there’s still a long way to go in all of this. However, instead of focusing on the big picture, which can be pretty overwhelming, let’s hope the Big 12 tries to win the small battles one at a time.
First up, getting Missouri to make up its mind. After that, sort out the WVU/Louisville mess and decide if you’re looking for one more or picking between the two.