Big 12 Weekend Updates: Big 12 Unity Plan, Texas A&M, SEC, Pac-16 Invitations
Big 12 (minus 2) to Remain?
Perhaps the most interesting news thus far is Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe making a push to keep the remaining ten Big 12 schools together. With promises of a new TV contract with a $17 million per year payout, along with flexibility for individual schools to create their own networks (Longhorn Network), the plna reportedly has Texas at least listening.
This begs to question: why wasn’t this opportunity presented 3-4 weeks ago when Nebraska was first considering the Big Ten or at least after Texas had conversations with the Pac-10. The answer is that desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the potential departing schools like Texas did not do their own homework prior to the recent Beebe plan.
The Big 12 would also be two schools short of the required number to host a conference championship game. Multiple sources say the Big 12 would petition the the NCAA to allow them to have a championship game. However, there is already a precedent. Upon expanding to 11 schools in 2004, the ACC petitioned the NCAA with a similar request and was rejected. Just a few months ago, the Pac-10 discussed the same option with the NCAA but ultimately felt it would be a lost cause if they made an official request. If the Big 12 were given a waiver on the existing rule, you can bet that it would be met with resistance by conferences like the ACC who expanded to 12 because they were rejected. Other 12 school conferences like the SEC, CUSA, and now Big Ten might do the same.
It’s a busy weekend for the Pac-10 and commissioner Larry Scott, and deputy commissioner Kevin Weiberg. Both flew to Oklahoma today to meet with both Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. and extend the official invitations to join the conference. Oklahoma will hold it’s Board of Regents meetings on Wednesday to make a decision. Oklahoma St. has yet to schedule a Board of Regents meeting at the time of this article, but have “until Monday to give notice, if they also intend to meet Wednesday“.
Scott and Weiberg will be in Texas on Sunday to extend the official invitations to Texas, Texas A&M; and Texas Tech.
The Texas Board of Regents will meet on Tuesday morning to discuss their intentions. Texas Tech regents will meet on Tuesday as well.
Sources have reported that Texas and Texas A&M; are likely to accept the invitations.Oklahoma seems intent on remaining with Texas, whichever path the Longhorns choose. Thus far, reports claim Oklahoma St. will likely remain with Texas and Oklahoma, putting the Pac-10 at 15 schools.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive traveled to College Station, TX to meet with Texas A&M.; A formal invitation was not expected to be delivered at the time of this article.
Texas A&M; reportedly has the regent votes to approve a move to the SEC, if invited. Once a formal invitation arrives, Texas A&M; will need to decide if their future is best suited in the SEC, or if it is with it’s Big 12 rivals Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma St., should all four of those schools depart for the Pac-10.
All signs seem to point to the Big 12 breaking up and these 4 schools moving to the Pac-10. But until that is official, nobody should count out Mike Slive and the SEC to try to pull a major coup. The top schools of interest to the SEC are actually Texas and Oklahoma, not Texas A&M.; If the SEC put together a last ditch effort that was appealing enough to Texas and Oklahoma, the SEC would be a force with Texas, Texas A&M;, Oklahoma and Oklahoma St.
If the SEC did expand with Texas A&M;, there remains a strong chance that the conference remains at thirteen schools. Reports claim that the SEC has no interest in ACC schools such as Florida St., Miami, Clemson and Georgia Tech. The same reports claim that Kansas is not an option and while there is interest in Virginia Tech, that the SEC does not feel that Virginia Tech would leave the ACC and their growing rivalry with Virginia.. When looking back at how much work was put in place by the Virginia government to get Virginia Tech in the ACC in 2003, it’s easy to see why they might choose to remain.
If the SEC opted to formally invite Texas A&M;, a decision is expected some time next week.
Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. will likely have made their decisions as well by the end of next week: join the Pac-10, remain in a ten school Big 12, or pursue membership in the SEC.