You know, I put this together at the end of last week, and didn’t get around to posting it. In part, because it was coming right up against an actual Pitt game. Now little has actually changed, but it feels like stuff is a lot closer to happening. Consider this an update and some good reading material on what is happening. Right now it is nothing. Some speculation. Some talking out the ass. And some smart observations.
The threat of a lawsuit from Baylor and other Big 12 members — Kansas, K-State, Iowa St. and Mizzou — is not a real deterrent for the SEC to take Texas A&M. It is just the excuse for a chance to pause.
The explanation that makes the most sense is that this is simply SEC commissioner Mike Slive taking advantage of the threat to try and get Larry Scott and the Pac-12 to move first. It’s unlikely to work, but Slive has the time to give it a go. And indeed, Slive is now speaking in terms of “when,” not “if” with regards to A&M.
The thing to remember is that there is no lawsuit yet. There very may be one at some point, but it is still merely a threat. The merits may have some validity — though hard to prove. And I don’t think that anyone disputes that if they were in Baylor’s or the Big 12’s shoes they would be looking at this option. But the actual money and compensation, probably won’t amount to much and not nearly that easy to prove true damages. As with the Big East-ACC lawsuit, it took a couple years just to reach a settlement.
In potentially just spinning crap, but interesting is that Texas A&M may simply leave the Big 12 regardless of the SEC invite and go solo for a year until the SEC takes them.
No matter Texas A&M’s direction from here, there’s one place the Aggies won’t be after next summer: the Big 12.
Following this school year, A&M intends to be in the Southeastern Conference, and assurances out of Aggieland on Thursday night are that an announcement on that front is simply a “matter of time.” If the SEC agreement somehow falls through — and chances are great it won’t — the Aggies might go independent for a year.
That’s how bad they don’t want to be in the Big 12. Multiple A&M insiders have said as much — the Aggies have gone too far to turn around now.
That would certainly undercut a lawsuit against the SEC — though not against A&M. Still that would be a last ditch, almost nuclear option. No major TV money for a year, plus paying the Big 12 exit fees. No program exposure except for local media.
Still, everyone knows that Texas A&M will head to the SEC. The question that remains is who will be team number 14. The early talk of Virginia Tech has faded as VT made it very clear it was happy in the ACC. BUT…
“Then we’ve got to look and see. We’ve got to ascertain what’s best for us in the future,” [VT AD Jim] Weaver said Thursday. “We would like to stay in the current ACC…. Our (pro-ACC) comments… are predicated upon our belief that the 12-member ACC is still intact.
“If anybody does (leave), we’ve got to talk.”
So if, say Florida State were to head to the SEC, then things change. If the SEC moves to 16, then things would change. Basically, VT is never saying never. Especially if the move to 16-team conferences happens.
As for Florida State, they appear willing to freak out the ACC.
With recent talk of a possible formation of four super conferences, Andy Haggard, chairman of FSU’s board of trustees, said Tuesday that his school has begun forming a committee that will explore the university’s options. He says FSU should be prepared for any scenario, whether it’s moving to another conference or staying in the ACC and having a say in who else may join the league. That could mean Texas, which will seek to leave the Big 12 if Oklahoma and Oklahoma State jump to the Pac-12, which is expected.
Haggard, FSU President Eric Barron and Athletic Director Randy Spetman have held meetings to determine who the decision-makers will be when it comes to forming FSU’s committee.
“We are going to explore the conferences, what’s going on and make sure if anything does happen at Florida State that we are ready,” Haggard said from his law firm office in Coral Gables.
The issue of the 14th SEC program, for now, remains a back-burner issue. The primary interest these days is what happens to the Big 12 schools — specifically Oklahoma and OK. State?
Someone asked if Scott could guarantee that the Pac-12 wouldn’t be the Pac-14 or Pac-16 a year from now. He couldn’t do it — which tells you everything about the fluidity and frailty of college sports.
“I hope it does [stay the same],” he said. “The ink is still drying on our new logos, the field paint, the uniforms. But it’s our hope that the world stays the way it is and we get to enjoy what we’ve created. But I don’t think anyone this day and age, with how dynamic the situation is, would stick their neck out and say nothing’s going to [happen].”
With Dan Beebe relegated to cheering for the teams that could be left behind, Texas took a semi-public lead in trying to preserve the Big 12. First, by belatedly floating the idea of equal revenue sharing among conference members (Longhorn Network excluded of course) from TV and bowls. And also flying to Oklahoma and awkwardly asking the Sooners to stay.
University of Texas President Bill Powers and athletic directors DeLoss Dodds and Chris Plonsky boarded a plane early Sunday afternoon for a meeting at the University of Oklahoma with one hope: Find a creative solution to save the Big 12.
Their Oklahoma counterparts had a different agenda.
In fact, before the Longhorns party had arrived, OU’s board of regents had instructed school President David L. Boren to prepare a document to formally apply for admission to the Pac-12, a source close to the situation said.
Oklahoma is expected to be joined in exodus by Oklahoma State to become the Pac-12’s 13th and 14th institutions.
“There’s nothing Texas could have offered Oklahoma that would have changed their mind. They were set on leaving the Big 12 before Texas got there,” a well-placed source at a Big 12 school said, adding that Sunday’s meeting had a very friendly and cooperative tone. “The Big 12’s done. Oklahoma wasn’t open to creating Big 12 stability.”
Not exactly a shock, and about the best that could be spun was that Oklahoma and OSU’s departure is not as close as that story made it appear. But it is clear that they are not planning on hanging around in the Big 12.
This bit on how Texas has been forcing itself towards independence despite its statements to the contrary is a solid read.
It’s true they don’t want to be an independent, even if every action they take seems as if they do. Certainly Texas acts like an independent. If it smells like an independent, talks like an independent, acts like an independent, I’m guessing deep down it’s an independent.
I’m hoping I’m wrong on this, because I think going independent would be a colossal mistake as we rocket toward super conferences. Texas, though, may be painting itself into that corner without any other option, because the Big 12 appears too fractured to survive.
If so, the Pac-12 would be the Longhorns’ best bet.
At this point, independence is looking like the end result. Why?
Ego and power.
Texas does not want to concede either. It doesn’t want to give up its precious Longhorn Network, nor does it want its clout diminished by joining another established conference where it won’t have as big a say.
By clinging to their new toy — a valuable one, at that — and flaunting it, and insisting on uneven revenue sharing, the Longhorns have alienated the rest of the conference, created unrest and acrimony, and thrown their weight around so much that schools in their own league see them as a bully.
Naturally Texas doesn’t see it that way, but that does seem to be the situation they are heading towards. Even if, Missouri isn’t pulled into the SEC. It is only short-term. A few years, maybe. Losing Texas A&M is going to be a bigger blow than Texas wants to admit. It is one less voice in the conference that could push back against Texas. More so with Oklahoma. Even in the earliest days of the Big East football conference when Miami dominated there was at least Syracuse or WVU fighting them. Or VT later. The Big 12 doesn’t have much, if any competition.
Heck, even Texas recognizes that. So, their latest trial balloon is that maybe they can find a home in the ACC (along with their Longhorn Network).
It will be a bit of a sales job and will require the help of ESPN, but in all likelihood Texas can keep the Longhorn Network and its revenue ($15 million per year for 20 years) by going to the ACC, something the Pac-12 would be unwilling to consider.
The ACC is in the first year of a new, 12-year deal with ESPN, which controls the Tier 1, 2 and 3 TV rights in the ACC. And with no Big 12 left to spend money on (in all likelihood), ESPN can probably help make the Longhorn Network palatable to the ACC by giving the ACC a break-the-bank television deal with Texas on board that will blow the ACC members away.
Consider it a reward to the ACC for accepting Texas’ unique revenue stream. But there would be incentive for the ACC to take Texas. The Southeastern Conference and Big Ten stand to poach schools out of the ACC if it appears the college arms race is leading to 16-team super conferences.
The ACC could help fortify its walls by adding Texas and a school like Kansas.
There are couple important points here. (I saw it come past in a twitter feed yesterday, and I can’t remember the source, but it goes like this:) In any Chip Brown piece, simply swap out “sources say” with “Texas wants” and the piece is much clearer and understandable.
You can make the case with the academic angle that Texas and the ACC isn’t completely insane. Yet, it is hard not to see this as merely smoke. The whole buzz of Texas to the ACC seems to be an Austin emanating signal. The idea that Texas would get help from ESPN (owner of the Longhorn Network) to effectively bribe the ACC into taking Texas and let them keep the Longhorn Network is a bit funny. And if you note at the end it is suddenly Kansas that Texas would take with them instead of Texas Tech and that Kansas would be able to go without K-State.
These factors suggest to me at least that Texas is trying desperately to find some leverage. Trying to find away to keep their Longhorn Network while getting into a conference of some level of respectability. Without the Big 12, they are screwed. All the other conferences that would happily take them — Pac-12/14/16, SEC, Big 10 would not let them keep their Longhorn Network. Something Texas is apparently unwilling to yield upon.
The Baylor whine to save Texas football has gotten the backlash one would expect, give Baylor’s own part in bailing on the other SWC members. After rehashing the hypocrisy, Baylor gets beaten on for its product.
In the 15 years in which you were a doormat, Texas Tech built all kinds of new facilities and made itself nationally relevant. Oklahoma State built and spent and did great things. OU, Texas and Texas A&M all elevated their programs in terms of facilities and performance.
In the next wave of consolidation, those schools have made themselves attractive products. But Baylor has only recently gotten interesting on the field and begun to seriously plan for a new stadium. Unfortunately, the breakup of the Big 12 is upon us, and Baylor is about to see how they live on the other side of town. At least, Baylor will see some old friends there.
For instance, TCU. Baylor dumped TCU in the ditch, and then something remarkable happened. TCU started over and built a great program one brick at a time. Instead of suing people, TCU went to work. SMU also built a new stadium, and UH will break ground on one early next year. Baylor has some catching up to do no matter what conference it ends up in.
It’ll be fun for Baylor to catch up with Rice, UH and SMU and see how the last 15 years have gone. Don’t worry, Ken. They’ll be totally sympathetic to your plight. You should tell them how important it is to respect history and how awful it would be to tear these wonderful traditions and rivalries apart.
Baylor also was embarrassed by their own fanbase — with a little help from Texas A&M. Since Baylor is primarily responsible for holding up A&M’s move to the SEC, A&M took the unusual step of issuing a press release of how many tickets were returned from opposing visiting teams from their requested allotment. Guess who returned a lot?
Baylor, located less than 100 miles from the Texas A&M campus, sold a rather embarrassing 830 of 3,850 tickets provided according to the release. Texas was the only school to sell out its allotment.
By comparison, SMU sold 1,988 tickets for their game at Kyle Field on Sept. 4. This week’s opponent, Idaho, sold the fewest, with 264.
The full numbers are included in the release.
But what’s really going on here? Paul Myerberg at Pre-Snap Read dug into the issue in a blog post. It’s great stuff.
I give A&M kudos for that move. Left Baylor sputtering and complaining about the messenger.
And of course, Iowa State is still looking for some love. Any love.
Your whining read of the day — should unsurprisingly come from Orlando’s Mike Bianchi. Head cheerleader for UCF getting into a BCS conference. His whining isn’t today isn’t that the Big East is not interested in the Knights and their
rich 30 year history media market, It’s about those bumpkin programs that are in the SEC that should be booted in favor of UCF.
And this is the shame of the disgracefully inequitable BCS cartel: It is based on an affiliation of schools formed nearly a century ago – some of which have no business being in BCS leagues today. Do Mississippi, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt really belong in the SEC — the premier conference in the country? What do they really bring to the table? The same with Wake Forest in the ACC and Iowa State and Baylor in the Big 12.
You put UCF in the SEC and give the Knights all of that SEC money and TV exposure, and their football program would be better than Ole Miss’s and Vanderbilt’s within five years. Actually, their program is already better than Ole Miss’s and Vanderbilt’s.
If there is going to be super conferences, these conferences need to reshuffle the deck entirely, get rid of the old dead wood like Vandy and add new blood like UCF.
If conference expansion is supposed to be about TV markets and potential future revenue then why is Mississippi State in the SEC and UCF isn’t? UCF is the second biggest university in the country and the only Division I football program in the nation’s 19th-ranked TV market.
Keep trolling. Troll hard.
Speaking of trolling… The downside of Twitter is that people just retweet without looking first. There have been some wild, silly ones. A minor BYU fanboard Twitter account put something out there that BYU was ready to join the Big 12 as the 10th team conditioned on Oklahoma giving a written contract that they wouldn’t leave. It got buzzed about until someone realized the source and then came the adamant denials.
Just as bad, was this one:
[Joe] Lull describes himself on Twitter as a weekend sports talker on SportsRadio 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland and a self-proclaimed Ombudsman of Cleveland Sports Media. I’ve never heard of him, and I’m sure he’s never heard of me.
But this tweet set off the day’s events: “Just got tipped off by a source in Big Ten offices. Texan AND Notre Dame are involved in discussions to join the conference by 2014. No joke.”
It was pathetic and it made some rounds. It especially pissed me off, because I live in the area and I’ve never heard of the guy. At best, he’s been a small-timer in the area. But to put it further in context. He has a weekend shift on a station that went to sports talk 2 weeks ago. And yet he claims to have a source in the Big 10 offices that was aware of something that big ahead of everyone else. This is Danny Sheridan-Cam Newton bagman level of crap. Yet it got him the attention he wanted.
My feeling on the Big 10 is that they are sitting back and watching. They don’t need to act. They can wait, comfortable that they are in a position of strength and able to dictate terms. They aren’t going to cut special deals with Texas or Notre Dame because they don’t have to. And just as importantly, they know how the other conference members would react if they did. Besides, Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez says nothing is happening.
“I wouldn’t want to be (Big 12 commissioner) Dan Beebe,” Alvarez said. “He’s been through a living hell the last year or so.”
Many assume that college football is moving toward a cluster of superconferences, each with at least 16 members. How does that impact the Big Ten, which added a 12th member in Nebraska for this season, but then issued a moratorium on expansion? Is commissioner Jim Delany and the Big Ten wise to stand pat?
“I don’t know if they will,” Alvarez said this week. “I don’t know if it’s going to go to 16.
“The last meeting we had, Jim stated that we have a moritorium on expansion. I haven’t heard anything different. No one else has done anything.
“I think our people are very excited about 12 (members) right now with a (football) championship (game) and everything else.”
Alvarez has been great for Big 10 stuff, because while he has never had details he never holds back on whether the conference is planning something. Last year, he was the only man from the Big 10 talking about the expansion by the Big 10. While the rest of the members and the conference itself stayed quiet and vaguely spoke of studying the issue, Alvarez kept popping off about the conference actively looking at teams and that they were going to 12. If he doesn’t know anything, then I am inclined to believe that the Big 10 is just focusing on integrating Nebraska at the moment.
Now you are caught up for at least 4 or 5 more hours.