Realignment Today: 10:22 p.m. - Big 12 sources: Pac-12 not expanding; Pac-12 releases statement confirming news
10:22 p.m. Update:
Here's the full statement from the Pac-12:
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — In light of the widespread speculation about potential scenarios for Conference re-alignment, the Pac-12 Presidents and Chancellors have affirmed their decision to remain a 12-team conference. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said, “after careful review we have determined that it is in the best interests of our member institutions, student-athletes and fans to remain a 12-team conference. While we have great respect for all of the institutions that have contacted us, and certain expansion proposals were financially attractive, we have a strong conference structure and culture of equality that we are committed to preserve. With new landmark TV agreements and plans to launch our innovative television networks, we are going to focus solely on these great assets, our strong heritage and the bright future in front of us.”
10:16 p.m. Update:
Just got off the phones and multiple Big 12 officials have confirmed that the Pac-12 has expressed its desire to stay put at 12 teams and not expand at this time.
Pretty logical conclusion based on all of the Oklahoma news today, but interesting to hear it confirmed.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott also just released a statement saying, "We have determined that it is in the best interests of our member institutions ... to remain a 12-team conference."
Tomorrow could be all about putting the pieces back together for the Big 12.
9:58 p.m. Update:
Wild day winding down. Finally able to make sense of all that went down. OK, I'm lying, but it's at least straight in my head... for now.
I'll keep an eye on things for a while longer but in case nothing new pops, I'll leave you with an updated look at the percentage wheel... everyone's favorite!!!
- Big 12 - 44%
- Leftovers - 19%
- Big Ten - 16%
- ACC - 12%
- Other - 5%
- Pac-12 - 4%
9:27 p.m. Update:
Spent the past few hours trying to get a solid read on OU's move here. Are they legitimately trying to help save the conference or simply biding time until they can bolt?
Tough call. And I gotta tell ya, I've talked to plenty of people on both sides of this thing.
Here are the prevailing thoughts:
• OU's in as long as Texas makes some concessions and Beebe's out.
• OU's in but only because they can't get BOTH OU and OSU into the Pac-12.
• OU's doing this as a way to show they tried but hoping that Texas says no to the demands so they can bolt and say it was all UT's fault.
• OU's Pac-12 all the way and is trying to power play Texas into doing something. These two are divorced and it's uglier than ever.
Any of these could be true. I'm still leaning toward OU's interest in saving the Big 12 being legit right now. Why else would they go through all this if they're going to leave anyway?
Meanwhile, Missouri reportedly has lined up a sweet deal with the SEC that says if the Big 12 blows up, they'll head south. At the same time, plenty of Big 12 sources are saying that MU chancellor Brady Deaton is working his butt off to save the Big 12. I'm buying it.
According to those I've talked to, Deaton is a stand-up guy who is fulfilling his obligations to the Big 12 as the chairman of the board of the directors. At the same time, he cannot — and should not be expected to — control what OU or Texas are saying, doing or even thinking. That's when his obligation to Mizzou kicks in.
Right now, he's played this thing about as well as it could be played. If the Big 12 lives, he plays a huge role and is praised for it. If it dies, it's someone else's fault and he's a genius for setting up a nice landing spot for Mizzou. The guy deserves a raise.
Before you go off on how this is exactly what KU's leaders should be doing, you have to remember something.... Missouri had these options and that gave Mizzou this leverage. Kansas has not and does not.
Deaton and OU president David Boren are supposed to meet later this week and OU officials have said they should have their decision by the end of the week.
God willing, that'll be true.
5:36 p.m. Update:
Welcome to Believe It Or Not. Some of you may have been playing the game for a few days now, but we've reached the lightning round. Every report that pops up seems to support or refute one that came before it and it's your job to guess which one is right.
Answer correctly and you win absolutely nothing. But guess wrong and you'll be condemned to a lifetime of ridicule from your buddies.
Here's the latest round, that says plans are in place to have Missouri move to the SEC.
4:01 p.m. Update:
From Orangebloods.com.... A Hail Mary attempt to save the Big 12 is being led by Mizzou chancellor Brady Deaton.
According to the article, a high-placed Big 12 administrator said Deaton, the head of the Big 12's five-member expansion committee, is trying to get everyone back to the table to try to see if the Big 12 can work out its differences.
The article also says: A high-ranking official at a Big 12 school said, "The Big 12 is going to stay intact except for Texas A&M."
Here's the link: http://texas.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1267981
Right now, this is being dubbed as the Big 12's Hail Mary or its last gasp.
3:53 p.m. Update:
Another thought.... The mere fact that OU is even making these demands could mean that the Pac-12 has said thanks but no thanks to expanding. If that's the case, the Big 12 needs to move fast here and bring everybody together before the Pac-12 news is leaked.
Once that's leaked, which, if true, it will be, the power shifts back to Texas, which would likely try to make OU pay for trying to pull a fast one.
At this point, it doesn't matter how we get there but if the Big 12 is going to live and things are going to be better/more equal/less top heavy in the upcoming incarnation, it's key that every school involved swallows its pride and does whatever it takes to get to that end.
If not, we could find ourselves back to square one and the Big 12 may die anyway. The worst part about that? This whole thing would just drag on even longer.
3:39 p.m. Update:
Quick info about OU's request to have Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe removed and replaced with an interim commissioner.
In order for that to happen, Beebe would have to be fired by the Big 12 Board of Directors, which is made up of the presidents/chancellors at each conference institution. Currently, MU's Brady Deaton is the chairman of the board and KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little serves as KU's representative.
No official word on how many votes it would take for such a motion to pass. Most likely 7, though it could be as few as six, provided Texas A&M is not included in the vote.
Still a long way to go before any of this matters. Just thought you'd like to know.
Be aware, though... one source not associated with the Big 12 in any way told me that OU's demands were insane and would never be met because of the message that would send to a league that has complained about Texas getting preferential treatment all along.
Not sure that's entirely true since, once the demands would be met, everything else would go more toward being equal. But the point's still worth considering.
3:13 p.m. Update:
According to Berry Tramel, of The Oklahoman, OU has said publicly that it would consider staying in the Big 12 if and only if the conference removes Dan Beebe as its commissioner.
Here's the link:
My take: No way do the Sooners say this without being willing to stay if it in fact happens. My second take: Beebe will be given his walking papers quickly. It's all about survival right now.
Make sure you read the story... Some incredible stuff in there, not only about this year but also about last year's realignment mess.
I'm not saying the Big 12 should bow down to all of OU's demands, but the ones that are most reasonable — equal revenue sharing, new commissioner, revised Longhorn Network — should be agreed to without hesitation.
Texas has a lot of power and a lot invested in Beebe, but at this point I gotta think UT is more interested in saving the conference than saving Beebe.
2:33 p.m. Update:
According to Tweets from Clay Travis, who covers Tennessee, "SEC now denies it has given Missouri an offer to join SEC. League not happy about this story going public."
Another from Travis: "SEC wants to wait for Big 12 to implode before pursuing Missouri. Not happy with leak."
And another: "Missouri spoke out of turn. With legal issues, SEC likely furious."
Travis' Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/#!/ClayTravisBGID
2:16 p.m. Update:
According to Chuck Carlton, of The Dallas Morning News, a Texas A&M responded to Oklahoma State alum T. Boone Pickens' comments about the Aggies "sobering up" and considering not leaving the Big 12.
The response: "Texas A&M has made our intentions perfectly clear. We do not intend to be a member of the Big 12 past this season"
Can't say it any clearer than that. Good. Now we can get back to the business of sorting out the other 47 schools who hang in the balance here.
1:39 p.m. Update:
Here's the other thing to remember about Mizzou's pause regarding the SEC offer, if it is, in fact, on the table.
If the Tigers go now, they open themselves up to lawsuits and exit penalties. If they wait for the Big 12 to implode, they ride off into the sunset unscathed.
Not saying that's what's going on... Remember, multiple people within the conference that I've talked to have said that MU is all-in on keeping Big 12 alive.
Just trying to show both side here. After all, an actual offer from the SEC changes things quite a bit. Easy to be loyal to Big 12 when you don't have other concrete options. Now, though.... New ballgame.
1:12 p.m. Update:
A couple of potentially major developments here in the last few minutes.
The first, a Tweet from Mike DeArmond of the Kansas City Star, who said he was working on a story about Missouri having an offer from the SEC but that the SEC was wanting to wait until the Big 12 dissolved.
Speaking of that... Berry Tramel, of The Oklahoman, writes that T. Boone Pickens says the Big 12 is not dead and that, believe it or not, Texas A&M may be "sobering up."
It's important to note the language of the Mizzou to the SEC story... It's my belief that the Tigers asked the SEC to wait on the outcome of the Big 12 here, not the other way around. If Mizzou wanted to bolt, they would've jumped at this opportunity and probably announced the move tomorrow.
But, as I've been told all along, the Tigers want the Big 12 to live on, and with reports starting to surface that point toward that end, it's very possible that Mizzou may tell the SEC thanks but no thanks, especially if OU and Texas return to the Big 12.
Long way to go before we get to that point, but multiple sources have told me that they've been impressed by the loyalty and dedication to the Big 12 that both MU AD Mike Alden and MU chancellor Brady Deaton have shown throughout the past couple of months.
Wild turn of events, to be sure. But, when you think about it, it's pretty much par for the course with the Big 12.
12:04 p.m. Update:
Getting back on track, this report indicates that talks of a Big 12/Big East merger are heating up and that, if such a scenario were to unfold, it would take place by way of the Big 12 absorbing the Big East's remaining football schools, not the other way around.
Such a move would keep a major conference in the middle of the country, though there remain questions about how major it would be if it did not include Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Also in question is the potential league's BCS status.
I know this is not the dream scenario for Kansas fans but you can bet they haven't fleshed this thing out yet. If this is the direction they have to go, the powers that be will do everything they can to make it as attractive as possible in both football and basketball.
One thing to consider is that, with this talk ongoing, it simply increases the odds of the Big 12 still looking at expansion even if Texas and Oklahoma decide to say.
Like we've said all along, lots of movement here... Way too tough to pin anything down right this moment. Bottom line still in play: Waiting on a move by OU.
11:49 a.m. Update:
Here's a scenario that hasn't been talked about much... Longshot, to be sure, but, again, I'm being told that everything remains on the table for Kansas.
If OU and OSU leave for the Pac-12 and UConn and Rutgers go to the ACC, don't underestimate the idea of Missouri, Kansas and Texas joining the SEC...
We all know that Missouri has long been targeted by the SEC as a 14th school. With the news surfacing that West Virginia has been denied by the SEC, it's likely that Mizzou now sits at the top of the SEC's list.
If the goal is to get to 16 and the Big 12 loses OU, OSU and Mizzou, the SEC could do much worse than to bring along Kansas (MU's natural rival and the KC market) and Texas from the Big 12, therein saving those two from having to join the Big East/Big 12 leftovers and picking up a couple of major national brands in UT football and Kansas basketball.
I've said all along that I believe that KU will end up where Texas ends up... this falls in line with that and also keeps the KU/MU rivalry alive.
Texas A&M might not like this much. And I'm sure Texas Tech would throw a fit, too. But isn't that going to happen anyway? Besides, what kind of leverage does either one of those schools have at this point?
I think Kansas could do worse. And I'm not sure the SEC could do much better.
11:37 a.m. Update:
Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports is reporting that multiple Big East sources have told him that West Virginia applied for entry into the ACC and SEC and was denied by both.
No word on why just yet. Maybe they don't fit the cultural or academic profile. Maybe those conferences are done with expansion. Maybe those conferences already have deals in place with other schools.
Right now, just about any conclusion seems logical.
Here's what it all means for KU.
My first read is that this could be huge news for the Big 12. With UT and OU wavering, the possibility of expanding the Big 12 with a school like West Virginia has to look more attractive than the idea of adding SMU or even BYU to the fold.
That said, the fact that the SEC denied WVU could mean that they're eyeing and talking with Missouri for their 14th spot. Sources continue to tell me that Missouri is all-in on the idea of the Big 12 surviving, but could you blame them if they were playing both sides of the fence here just to be sure.
One last read I have on this has to do with that whole Texas and Kansas to the ACC thing. While the ACC moved fast in adding Syracuse and Pitt, they've hit the brakes hard since then and are likely lining up to get the best 15th and 16th teams they can. Reports have indicated that UT and Notre Dame would be dream additions for the ACC. But a source told me that if Notre Dame's not interested Kansas has as good a shot as anybody, so long as that's where Texas goes.
If your head wasn't spinning before, it should be now.
One last thing... I posted this link from The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel the other day. Here it is again since the West Virginia to the Big 12 movement could kick back up again.
10:26 a.m. Update:
"rob4lb" posted this link in the comments below and I think it's worth looking at. Nothing directly related to realignment here, but it does show, yet again, just how strong KU's brand is at least in terms of apparel and how they relate to other schools already taken care of in this realignment mess. I'm sure this just makes everything even more confusing for KU fans, but it's worth a look.
Good find, rob4lb...
10:19 a.m. Update:
Minor detail here, but I find it interesting nonetheless.
According to a report from Idaho, the Mountain West conference has contacted TCU — which is set to join the Big East in 2012 — about the idea of staying in the league or possibly rejoining.
There's also some good stuff in here about Boise State, which, according to the report, has not been contacted by any other conference as of yet. No surprise there, but with this thing being all about football, I can see why the question was asked.
I know we're dealing with the big conferences and waiting to see where KU fits into one of those, but all of this movement by the so-called lesser conferences and smaller schools is definitely worth noting. Is it possible that these guys make moves quickly to secure their own futures and, in doing so, make life even more difficult for those schools — think Big East and Big 12 — who get left out of the super conferences?
Scary thought. Definitely possible. That said, I don't think this should worry Kansas.
8:51 a.m. Update:
Chip Brown's latest report from Orangebloods.com indicates that Texas will make a decision within the next two weeks and that the reason the Longhorns will wait has to do with them wanting to see if OU/OSU can get into the Pac-12 without them.
If they can't, Texas would have a lot more leverage to entice the OU schools to return to the Big 12. If they can, Texas could potentially go with them.
There's also talk that Texas and Kansas moving to the ACC is still being kicked around.
8:33 a.m. Update:
This could all change by the time some of you wake up and read it. Then again, it could all be right on the money and I could look like a genius.
We’re at that point with conference realignment, and, although it’s now dragging into it’s third week of DEFCON 3 status, there’s something a little comforting about it all.
Despite what some of my Twitter followers have requested, I’m not the kind of guy who throws stuff out there just to sound like I know something. I’d rather speak from a position of knowledge and lay my head down at night knowing that everything I wrote had a reason to be written and had some truth behind it. Right or wrong.
That’s become difficult with this round of realignment. Not because my beliefs have changed — and not because I haven’t been getting a ton of sleep — but because everything else has changed all of the time.
Consider this. Last Saturday morning, a source told me, before it was widely known, that Pittsburgh and Syracuse were ACC-bound and that the move would be announced Sunday. I posted it on our web site. It turned out to be dead on. And that got the juices flowing.
During the same conversation, the source said the ACC had targeted Texas and Kansas as the 15th and 16th schools. Naturally, by mid-day, since the first part of the equation turned out to be true, I thought I was sitting on the scoop of the century and proceeded accordingly, trying to verify, confirm or at least get another sniff from another source that the Jayhawks and Longhorns were headed off to join the Tar Heels and Blue Devils. Never happened.
By Saturday night, no more than 12-14 hours after the original conversation, the ACC talk had cooled considerably and, the next day, a different source told me not to stick my neck out on that one. Whoa! Bummer.
So what changed? Well... In short, everything. Maybe Texas was bluffing. Maybe the ACC never was interested. Maybe the ACC was interested in Texas but not Kansas. Maybe Kansas and Texas were ready to move together but the ACC wasn’t quite ready to make another major move and, while waiting, one or all of the parties involved got cold feet. Or maybe it just wasn’t true from the beginning. Any or all of those could have been accurate. And, right now, anything short of talking to the Big 12 presidents themselves seems less than likely to yield much information. There are just too many pieces involved in this deal, some that fit and some that don’t.
“If the ACC was talking about those two (KU and Texas) they were talking about five other scenarios also,” a source told me when asked if there was ever anything to the KU and UT to the ACC rumors.
Great. Clear as mud. Yet, somehow, it really was. In this whole convoluted wreck of a power struggle, the only thing that’s clear is that nothing makes sense. At least not for very long.
So maybe that’s how we should start operating. Reports surfaced Monday night that said Notre Dame, everyone’s prized gem, should make a move to the ACC right away. What? That goes against everything we’ve ever known about Notre Dame’s position in all this. The only thing crazier right now would be if someone said Notre Dame was joining the Big 12. Wait a minute...
“The entire landscape of college athletics could change this week,” a source said Monday at the risk of stating the obvious. “Or it could just stay put. It’s that fluid.”
So we’re forced to wait, specifically for OU and Texas and generally for God knows what else. Those of us trying to follow this thing will make calls, fire off emails and at least be comforted by the few answers we do get. I gotta be honest, even a “No way, you’re crazy,” seems like good information these days.
Monday was a big day for Kansas. It started out bleak, stayed that way until the afternoon and then started to turn oh so slightly once OU and UT wrapped up their board of regents meetings without making a devastating announcement that, without question, could’ve buried the Big 12.
From what people are telling me, everything’s back on the table again. The Big 12, Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 all remain options for Kansas, as does the less glamorous idea of the Big 12 and Big East leftovers combining forces to form a decent-but-not-dynamic conference out of the ashes.
Here we go with another day. I’m ready if you are.
Let’s kick today off with an updated percentage wheel and a couple of links from late Monday night.
- Big 12 - 33%
- Leftovers - 23%
- Big Ten - 20%
- ACC - 12%
- Pac-12 - 9%
- Other - 3%
Here are a couple of links that address the Notre Dame to the ACC talk... Oh, you thought I was just kidding about that? Take a look.
And, last but not least for our first post of the day, let’s get back to the good stuff from the SportsBizMiss, Kristi Dosh, whose fun perspective in all of this has been refreshing. There’s some good stuff about Kansas in the intro, toward the bottom. It’s just her opinion on what should and might happen, but, hey, she’s talking to people and, as I’ve pointed out, with this story, you never know who’s going to wind up being right.
I’m sure some news will surface soon, good, bad, real or indifferent. This should get you through until it does.