Realignment Today: 3:56 p.m. - Big Day in the Big 12. League unanimously agrees to grant of rights after moving to add TCU as 10th member
3:56 p.m. Update:
KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger followed up Gray-Little's statement with a few comments of his own.
Here's my story with Zenger's quotes:
Intentionally quiet throughout most of the conference realignment chaos that had plagued the Big 12 conference during the past six weeks, Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger was happy to speak up following the positive news that came from the league office on Thursday.
“This is a good day for the Big 12 Conference,” Zenger said. “The news of granting of rights and equal revenue sharing and league expansion bears testament to the hard work of our board of directors and the stability sub-committee within the Big 12 Conference.”
The first happy moment for the league came late Thursday morning, when the Big 12 confirmed its pursuit of Texas Christian University to be the 10th member. With Missouri in limbo, there remains some uncertainty whether TCU would be the 10th or ninth member of the league. Also unclear is where the league goes from here, with or without Missouri in tow.
“We all believe that Texas Christian University is a great addition to the Big 12,” Zenger said. “Their geographic proximity to the rest of the schools, their academic credibility and their athletic achievements make them an obvious fit.”
Zenger said the addition of TCU provided KU with extra reason to celebrate.
“The University of Kansas has a strong alumni base in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and continues to attract students from that area, as well,” he said. “For us as an institution, that’s an additional benefit of this news.”
A couple of hours after expansion news broke, the Big 12 also announced that it had unanimously agreed to a formal grant of television rights for a minimum of six years.
Both votes were unanimously approved and Missouri sat out each time.
KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, who served on the league’s four-member stability committee, released a statement Thursday afternoon. In it, she, too, pointed to Thursday being a great day for the Big 12 and the Jayhawks.
“This is an outcome KU has sought throughout this process,” Gray-Little said. “And it is one that I’ve been seeking as a member of the conference’s stability working group. Stability heightens the appeal of the conference as we look at expansion.”
Sources told the Journal-World that the Big 12 continues to look at all of its options, including staying at 10 or jumping back to 12 members. One source added: “All of the obvious schools are still in the picture, but, at this time, there is no next in line.”
Those “obvious schools” include BYU, as well as Big East members Cincinnati, Louisville and West Virginia, which, because of TCU’s likely departure, are left scrambling to solidify the future of their league. Although TCU was scheduled to join the Big East in 2012, the Horned Frogs will not have to wait the 27 months required by the Big East for a team that leaves. Sources said, however, that TCU will be required to pay Big East exit fees, which some have estimated to be around $5 million.
Gray-Little said she hoped TCU would begin competing in the Big 12 next season.
Should TCU’s exit from the Big East lead to its collapse, Notre Dame, which competes in the Big East in all sports but football, likely would seek a similar arrangement in another conference. A source with ties to the Big 12 said the conference, which has courted the Irish in the past, would be interested in exploring the idea of adding Notre Dame to the Big 12.
Here's the link to our story in case you want to comment over there.
2:48 p.m. Update:
Kansas University chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little released the following statement a few minutes ago:
“The Big 12 board’s approval of equal revenue sharing and the granting of television rights to the conference demonstrate a commitment to the Big 12 by its member universities. This is an outcome KU has sought throughout this process, and it is one that I’ve been seeking as a member of the conference’s stability working group.
“Stability heightens the appeal of the conference as we look at expansion. KU supports the invitation of TCU to join the Big 12, and Jayhawks hope to start competing against the Horned Frogs next season. KU recruits many students from the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, and we have a strong alumni base there, so TCU’s addition to the conference would definitely be a plus for our student-athletes and fans.”
Stay tuned for more reaction from KU...
2:11 p.m. Update:
That "other" announcement that was supposed to come from the Big 12 today? It had nothing to do with Missouri at all. Instead, it relates to the league's formal agreement to a granting of television rights for a minimum of six years.
The vote was unanimously approved and the only way it had anything to do with Mizzou is that the Tigers, as they did when the league voted to pursue TCU, did not participate in the voting.
Here's the language, followed by a link. This is wonderful news for the conference. Biggest positive day for the Big 12 in a while.
The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors agreed to a formal grant of television rights for a minimum of six years during a teleconference today. The approval by the Board was unanimous; however the University of Missouri did not participate in the vote on the advice of legal counsel.
Interim commissioner Chuck Neinas was authorized by the Board to immediately distribute legal documents for institutional execution. An earlier vote related to equal revenue distribution becomes effective upon the formal assignment of rights by all institutions. The Board did not set a deadline but indicated a desire to expedite the approval process.
The grant of rights was included in a joint resolution proposed by both the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas. In addition to the grant of television rights for at least a six-year period, the proposal included agreements related to high school content and access to football games for institutional third-tier telecast packages.
Specifics of the resolution included an agreement that during the term of the grant of rights: there will be no changes related to current or future primary television rights agreements or Conference bylaws, rules or policies related to member institution branded outlet rights; Conference bylaws will reflect that no member institution branded outlet will show high school games or highlights, noting that it is permissible pursuant to NCAA interpretation to use scores, standings and statistics of high school games; and, that additional games beyond the one member institution retained football game for telecast purposes must be approved by both institutions and both Conference telecast partners.
Stay tuned for more reaction to both moves...
1:06 p.m. Update:
A couple of quick thoughts regarding the news that TCU is being pursued officially as the 10th member of the Big 12.
One source told me Tuesday night that, with Missouri still in limbo, interim commissioner Chuck Neinas would be aggressive in moving forward to try to force Missouri's hand a little bit.
I think this news clearly does that. How the Tigers react to it will be up to them, but this is a clear sign from the Big 12 that the league is prepared to move on — and flourish — with or without the Tigers.
As for TCU itself as a good fit, there's no question that this makes the most sense, even more so than adding BYU or Louisville, both of which are still very much in the mix in terms of Big 12 expansion talks.
TCU is the best fit geographically and in football and brings with it continued strength in Texas. That might not be a big deal for the Texas schools but it is for the rest of the league, which depends so much on the Lone Star State to fill its rosters, particularly in football.
That's the other thing Missouri has to think about here. If they go to the SEC, they can kiss their recruiting ties to Texas good bye.
Here's an interesting note from the past about that. Years ago, when Arkansas and UT were in the SWC together, the Razorbacks had an average of 40 players from Texas on their football roster. In the years that followed after Arkansas left for the SEC and Texas joined the Big 12, Arkansas' list of football players from Texas on the roster dropped to below 10 on average.
That said, I've never thought Missouri was leaving and I still don't think they are. They had a chance to take their moment in the spotlight and feel the love and then return to the league in good graces and they blew it. Had they announced Tuesday that they were committed, the league would've smiled and said, 'Welcome back.'
But sources have told me that what MU pulled on Tuesday really angered a lot of the league and now if the Tigers come back, they'll do so with their tails between their legs and having lost a lot of their clout within the league. They'll also be a complete afterthought now that the Big 12 has moved ahead with expansion.
Missouri had a chance to play this thing right and gain a lot of love but they waited just a bit too long and now will be forced to do some serious damage control if and when they do recommit to the Big 12.
Stay tuned for more reaction regarding TCU...
12:59 p.m. Update:
Here's this from Oklahoma president David Boren, which pretty much mirrors what DeLoss Dodds said earlier. Isn't it nice to see these guys getting along!
"TCU is an excellent choice as a new member of the conference. They bring strong athletics and academic credentials and were enthusiastically and unanimously supported by (the Big 12) conference."
12:06 p.m. Update:
Here's this from TCU chancellor Victor Boschini Jr., regarding the news that the Big 12 has entered into negotiations with TCU to add the Horned Frogs as the 10th member.
"These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU. It will allow us to return to old rivalries, something our fans and others have been advocating for many years. As always, we must consider what's best for TCU and our student-athletes in this ever-changing landscape of collegiate athletics. We look forward to continuing these discussions with the Big 12."
11:41 a.m. Update:
Reaction from around the Big 12 about the move to add TCU starting to come in. Hoping to hear something from Kansas soon.
UT athletic director DeLoss Dods:
"Their commitment to academics and success on the field make them an excellent fit. With a solid budget and strong financial support, they have been proactive at improving facilities. Their close proximity to all conference institutions makes for a comfortable travel situation."
More to come. Stay tuned...
11:26 a.m. Update:
The Big 12 has confirmed its move to add TCU as the 10th member of the conference.
Here's a statement from the league, released a little while ago:
Acting upon a unanimous recommendation of its expansion subcommittee, the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors this morning authorized negotiations with Texas Christian University to become the Conference's tenth member, and instructed interim commissioner Chuck Neinas to immediately begin discussions with TCU.
The action of the Board was without dissent. On the advice of legal counsel The University of Missouri did not participate in the vote.
Hoping to hear something from TCU very soon.
10:26 a.m. Update:
Even with all of the Missouri talk still lingering, it appears the rest of the Big 12 Conference is ready to move on with expansion.
Several outlets are reporting this morning that TCU has an invite to join the Big 12 and could accept it as soon as today.
Here's a quick link to the report from Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports. Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com and Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman also have reported the news.
Assuming the news is true and assuming the Horned Frogs accept, a couple of questions come to mind.
How will TCU navigate its way out of its plans to join the Big East? Previous reports have said that TCU would not have to wait the 27 months required by the Big East to leave because they are not yet members of that conference. Others have said the Big East could throw up a roadblock a la Baylor to Texas A&M a few weeks ago. Pete Thamel, of the New York Times, reports that TCU would be required to pay the $5 million exit fee to leave the Big East but would not be bound by the 27-month agreement. A good deal for both.
If TCU is added, will the league stop there and stay at 10 or will it look to add more teams and get to 12 or more? Part of the answer to this question depends on Missouri's decision. The Tigers are still exploring their options and may opt to join the SEC if invited. If that were to happen, the addition of TCU would bring the Big 12 to nine and the league likely would look to add another school to replace the Tigers.
With TCU in the fold, what happens to Louisville, Cincinnati, BYU, Boise State and West Virginia? Again, the answer here all depends upon what the Big 12 decides to do and, to a lesser extent, what Missouri decides to do. Sources have told me that BYU remains a hot commodity and that Louisville is not far behind. McMurphy says that sources have told him that if MU were to leave, the Big 12 would expand to 12. If MU stays, though, it's likely the Big 12 will add TCU and stay at 10.
Speaking of that, here's a link to an article that says Mizzou may not have the votes it needs to get into the SEC anyway. A Wednesday article quoting an unnamed Missouri official as saying the Tigers wanted the Big Ten first but that they'd be interested in the SEC because, "that's what's left," likely won't help garner support for MU in the SEC. If nothing else, the SEC is a group of proud schools who do not like to play second fiddle to anybody.
The Big 12 is expected to announce TCU's addition later this morning. Reports have indicated that the league also will make another announcement at the same time.
What this could be is anyone's guess. Missouri's staying? Missouri's going? More on the equal revenue sharing or the Longhorn Network?