Sprints Would Also Like to See the Big XII's Fate Decided by Friday // 06.07.10

20(BIG)12: THE END OF THE WORLD

Big XII tries to ensure survival with deadlines
Nebraska and Missouri could have to literally decide whether to leave the Big XII and hope for an invitation or continue with the only sure outcome: Stay in an AQ conference.

"Nebraska has until 5 p.m. on Friday to tell us what they're going to do," one school official said, adding that he has heard that deadline could be extended to June 15. "The same deal for Missouri. They have to tell us they're not going to the Big Ten or … ."

Or Big XII go kablooey!

If true, it seems to be an attempt by the Big XII to actually keep itself together from both the Big Ten raid and the Pac-10 raid.

One Pac-10 athletic director told the Statesman on Saturday, "There's still a lot that has to happen. It's nowhere near done."

This could get really, really interesting if everyone is deciding whether to stay on the ship or head for the lifeboats -- with no guarantee that the lifeboats will be there.

Deadline, schmeadline
Pac-10 boss Larry Scott also hinted that offers might not be there by the deadline.

Scott wouldn't give any timeframe for expansion talks -- other than to reiterate that the deadline is the end of this year -- or discuss specific schools.

That means Mizzou and Nebraska could have an opportunity here to call the other members' bluff. After all, if they don't leave, what is the rest of the Big XII going to do -- kick them out, with no assurances that the Pac-10 will issue an invite in the end. (Seems unlikely, yes, but would you risk your financial future on a near-certainty?)

But that just emphasizes the bizarre nature of the ultimatum: Stay and keep the conference together, or we'll kick you out and disband the conference!

Of course, that could change
The Big Ten might move more quickly, but it's keeping to the plan, says its chairwoman. (More in a moment on why that might be a problem.)

"Our announcement in December has caused institutions to consider their future and conferences to consider their future," said Michigan State president Lou Anna K. Simon, the chair of the Big Ten's council of presidents/chancellors. "That has had an impact on our deliberations. ... We had targeted a timeline that was as long as 18 months. It's possible that the timeline may be altered, but not the process."

"The academics are top on the list," Simon said, "and purposely top on the list because it reflects the values of the presidents. ... This is not an infinite set of institutions [that fit the Big Ten], and it's not as difficult as one might think for presidents to understand some of the implications of various decisions."

Ms. Simon, I have not met you, but you are lying. Texas is not being considered because of its academics, but because of money. Same with Rutgers. Etc. Etc. They might also have to have the academic chops that your conference seems to think belongs only to people willing to live in a region most notable for its economic collapse and rapidly eroding population, but it is not the main qualifier for admission. So don't say it is. Now, onto how the process being the same could be a problem.

Big Ten bylaws require an application for membership and none have been submitted. Bylaws also state that action, such as offering a university to join the conference, can be done in person, electronically or by telephone -- meaning university officials do not need to reconvene in Chicago to vote or make a decision.

How quick can you fill out an application? Is this like the form you fill out when you apply for a fast-food job, or one of those 10,000 page things that usually accompanies any institution of higher education doing anything?

And, as Dr. Saturday points out, there's no reason to think that the Pac-10 might not move earlier as well.

Do people actually talk like this?
Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee -- make sure you use that "E.," it's important -- and Jim Delany obviously didn't learn from Enron and Jack Abramoff: Never ever ever put anything important in an e-mail. Particularly if you are at a public institution and are thus subject to open-records laws.

"I did speak with Bill Powers at Texas, who would welcome a call to say they have a 'Tech' problem," Gee wrote in an e-mail that was among several obtained by The Dispatch through a public-records request for documents and correspondence related to Big Ten expansion proposals. ...

Gee's initial e-mail to Delany on April 19 said that he is "of the mind that we control our destiny at the moment, but the window will soon close on us. Agility and swiftness of foot is our friend."

Agility and swiftness of foot is our friend? Is this guy writing about conference expansion or the Napoleonic Wars? Alas, at least the gentlemen who penned that missive has a command of fine grammar and spelling. Not so for the man who has said several times that SEC schools are full of, basically, stupid people.

"We are fast-tracking it but need to know the $ and observe contracts," Delany wrote. "Also need to make sure we leverage this to increase chances of hr additions. Finally double chess # of moving parts including not harming brand as we executy."

Executy. Nice. As is the use of $ and # and lack of punctuation. Glad we're not in that super-smart conference up there. We can actually write e-mails that are legible down in these parts.

Texas politics get involved, as they almost always are
Meanwhile, the Lege, as the late Molly Ivins used to call them, is looking at this as an opportunity to get all the state's schools -- except TCU, for some reason -- on the gravy train. All aboard -- and that means you, Baylor.

"If you're going to have an exported commodity involved in this, do you think we're going to allow a school from outside the state of Texas to replace one of our schools in the Big 12 South? I don't think so. We're already at work on this," the site quoted a a high-ranking member of the Texas Legislature as saying.

That could send Colorado into the Mountain West, I suppose, or the Pac-10 could decide that they would rather have the Denver market than the T. Boone Pickens Stillwater market, spinning Oklahoma State off. The Cowboys could end up in the SEC, but that deal would have to be made ahead of time, or the Oklahoma Legislature would almost certainly have something to say. More likely: Colorado can look forward to the annual game with Colorado State being a conference match-up.

And the whole thing is just getting more surreal by the minute

That charge also includes new Baylor president Kenneth Starr (yes, the Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky prosecutor), who just took office, and powerful Texas lobbyist Buddy Jones, who has deep BU ties.

Why not? At the end, I almost expect to discover that Kim Jong Il used brainwashing to convince Delany this was a good idea, his goal being to destroy college football.

Key for more than one conference
Much has been made about Nebraska, in particular, being a key to the Big XII's survival. But outsidethesidelines points out that the Huskers and Mizzou could be a critical cog in any Big Ten plans to go to 16 as well.

In the grand scheme of things, getting teams from the East -- like Pitt, Rutgers, and whoever else -- will be a relative breeze compared to snagging Nebraska and Missouri, so if they can get those two then this whole deal is signed, sealed, and delivered.

Which seems solid enough. The Big Ten + Nebraska + Mizzou would be a no-brainer for any Big East program.

outsidethesidelines: Texas and A&M maybe, but only without Baylor and Tech
In other words, annexing the state of Texas should not be in the SEC's plans.

Getting Texas and Texas A&M would be marvelous, but realistically there is probably little chance that the SEC could also successfully integrate both Texas Tech and Baylor. Adding those four would make the SEC a sixteen team league -- all the while adding two new members that the SEC would otherwise never even remotely consider -- and would require two current SEC West members to make the jump to the SEC East.

Aw, y'all just don't want Tommy Tuberville to start counting fingers again.

In all seriousness, it would be hard to see Baylor fitting in the SEC. Though the games between the Bears and Commodores could be epic.

Poseur: Forget Texas, let's get Texas A&M
I'm not sure that I completely agree with him on this, but he's got some great points.

They are a better cultural fit in the SEC than Texas, they already have a historic rivalry with LSU (and let's face it, we could use a conference rival), and they actually, you know, WANT to be in the SEC. They have many of the positives of Texas (loads of money, dedicated fanbase, huge media markets in Texas, tradition) with none of the negatives of Texas.

The question of whom else you add and how you reshuffle the divisions (if you do) is still there, but it's not totally off-base.

Myerberg: The end of tradition
Paul Myerber of the new Pre-Snap Read is right; I'm just not sure that he's not a decade or two too late.

The projected move would signal that college football is no longer about geography. The state of Oklahoma as part of the Pac-10? Why not? The West Coast has surfing, Oklahoma catfish noodling. Perfect match.

It’s no longer about rivalries. Say goodbye to Oklahoma and Nebraska; you can still catch the Game of the Century on ESPN Classic, I suppose. And that annual post-Thanksgiving affair between the Cornhuskers and Colorado? Why that game when you can have Washington State visit Texas Tech? ...

College football is now about television contracts, equipment contracts, revenue sharing and department surpluses. It’s about making as much money as possible, about staying high on the hog at the expense of others. In short, this projected move means college football is more like the N.F.L. than ever.

And a playoff would only make it more so. But I digress.

This is, in some ways, another reason to keep the SEC as is. The league is build on its tradition and history -- and adding two teams didn't really change that tradition much. Adding two more teams would create a league that is nearly a third new. Four more teams and you have a team that is almost 40 percent new. I'm not sure that doesn't change what the SEC is.

'What have we got?' 'A championship game, if you can keep it.'
And because they still have to officially go through the motions of being a conference, the Big XII awards its football and baseball tournaments. Hooray, Oklahoma City and Arlington! You get institutions that will be around for ... well, at least this year.

Sweet brevity
Clone Chronicles, the SBN Iowa State blog, has one of the funniest takes.

SEC SPRING MEETINGS

Counterpoint: We already have the money
If there's an argument to be made against expansion (beyond the practical and traditional ones that we've been over 100 times before), it could actually be financial. Why not stick with the set-up that saw total revenue distribution to members hit $209 million this year, up from $132.5 million in 2009 and more than double the $101.9 million just seven years ago.

Then again, pre-expansion revenues got to $27.7 million in 1992, the year the conference added Arkansas and South Carolina. That jumped to $34.3 million in 1993, dipped slighly the next year and has been on the upswing ever since.

Cowbell rule now not quite as moronic
Fans can bring the bells to the Mississippi State games but must only ring them at certain times, so as to not distract the goldfish-like attention span of the players on the field.

The compromise will last for a year. Slive said that if State appears to be abiding by the rule, it’ll remain in place. If not, it’ll be revisited. Will it work?

"I don’t know," Mississippi State president Mark Keenum said. "We’re going to do our part to educate and make sure our fans know about this."

Slive said the league’s athletic directors will work on determining a penalty structure for violations of the new rule when they meet in August. As for how violations will be determined, "we’ll attempt to police it appropriately," Slive said, "just like we try to police our not-rushing-the-field legislation."

Because ringing a bell is absolutely as serious as something that can kill people. Even though I'm not crazy about the rushing-the-field rule, it makes some degree of sense from a safety perspective. Barring the ringing of bells makes sense from ... I actually can't think of any perspective from which it makes sense.

This has to be a typo
Is it really this cheap to get into the conference?

SEC dues are $50 per year.

I mean, if there are going to be dues, shouldn't they be more than a single-game football ticket?

OTHER NEWS

Moped accident? He doesn't play for Georgia!
Derrick Locke, a (ahem) lock to be the starting running back for Kentucky this year, breaks his arm. Surgery not expected, looks like he could be back for the first game, etc.

That, or the NCAA gets alarmed when 'money' and 'athletes' are used in the same sentence
Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart isn't paranoid -- PEOPLE REALLY ARE OUT TO GET HIM!!!!11!

"The flag always blows really hard at the top," he said Friday on the "3 Hour Lunch" radio show, which airs on Nashville station 104.5 The Zone. "And so it’s blowing hard up there. And if you want to to be at the top of the flagpole, you’ve got to understand how hard it blows."

Yes, that's it. It's all because Kentucky is ... at a level where it didn't even make the Final Four this year. That's a level known as "the top," and Kentucky is there, so that's why one of the department's recruits is getting another look.

Wooden: Last win came in national championship game against Kentucky
Right after he had announced his retirement. That doesn't really seem fair.

Your team should probably go for it more on fourth down
AHHHHH!!! NUMBERS!!!!!!!! (HT: War Blog Eagle)

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