Early Monday evening, reports of loud music and celebratory screams around the intersection of Stadium and Providence Roads. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was Friday night on East Campus.
The cause for celebration? The University of Texas committed to the Big 12 long-term, insuring its survival atleast until the next round of realignment hysteria.
Or as Joe Walljasper of the Columbia Tribune quipped, “Texas decided running a conference in the Midwest was preferable to being a member of a conference on the West Coast.”
The Longhorns decision sent MU athletic officials into party mode as the ‘Horns saved the Big 12 (and possibly Mike Alden’s job). Now, there are just as many questions as what the new-look Big 12 Lite (Thank you, Aaron Seidt) will look like as there were theories that put MU in the SEC, Big Ten and even Outer Space earlier in the week.
Will the conference return to a numerically correct Big 12? How will scheduling work? Will the conference revenues be paid out any differently? Can I get a whiskey, please? What really happened with the Big Ten?
Let’s work in reverse order here:
Big Ten BS
Missouri brass tip-toed around questions aimed at discovering their approach to the Big Ten. This should baffle Tiger fans everywhere. These type of vague, uncommitted responses got MU burned by the Big Ten. Now, MU fans who rightfully deserve an explanation for this whole mess are being given the run-around by Alden & Co. now, similar to how they incompetantly dealt with Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney. It’s amazing that these men earned the degrees and hold the prestigious positions they do.
Communicating with them is like visiting a Sprint store.
This whole process has been long and complicated, and there are a gazillion unknown conversations and meetings that went down that may paint him in a different light. I’m not ragging on Alden for not getting MU to the Big Ten or letting Texas walk all over everyone in the Big 12 Lite. The handling of those two situations is where he will get my venom.
Case in point: When a KC radio station broke a story in April about the B10 extending initial invites to Nebraska, MU and Rutgers, Nebraska officials came out and immediately squashed that. The non-response from MU led some to believe there was some truth to this rumor, undoubtedly ticking off Delaney and the rest of the Big 12. Guess what happened? Nebraska will be rolling in B10 money while MU will be paying concessions to Texas for years to come.
Money, Money Monnnnnnnney
Contrary to many reports, the Little Five (MU, KU, KSU, ISU and Baylor) did not simply give up their portion of Colorado and Nebraska’s exit penalties to the Holy Trinity of the Big 12 Lite to compensate them for any money lost by not joining the Pac-Whatever. The L5 rather came up with a plan, a backstop for the South division schools. It’s very likely that the Holy Trinity will never see that money because of a rumored, yet unconfirmed, yet incredibly lucrative, TV deal will compensate them just fine.
This was more of a good faith deal rather than a financial one. Mike Alden called it a “showing of support.”
I’ll call it what it really is: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T MAKE US HOMELESS!
Regardless, fans of the L5 schools can take comfort in knowing that this wasn’t, afterall, an act of extortion by the Holy Trinity.
The Big 12 Lite also released a statement striking down the idea the new TV deal will feature “tiers” in which schools will be paid largely unequal amounts. Future television revenue will be paid out in the current system: half of all the revenue will be dispensed equally while the other half will be allotted to schools with the most national TV appearances.
The revenue system has been Missouri’s biggest bone to pick with the conference, pushing for equal revenue sharing similar to the Big Ten and SEC. However, Missouri ranked fourth in the league in revenues in 2008-2009 behind OU, UT and KU respectively. The $10.4 million is a $2 million increase, a jump of nearly 24%, over the previous year. Under an equal sharing plan, MU would have received approximately $300,000 less.
Save the Date
With the new 10 team conference, the North/South divisions will be eliminated. In football, MU will play everyone, every year, starting with the 2011-2012 school year. The football title game goes bye-bye, much to the dismay of Jerry Jones.
Hoops wise (amazing to think that schools still play this sport), the 18 game conference schedule will allow for a home-and-home with every school in the conference. Instead of playing schools from the old South division once a year, the Tigers will play them twice.
Well that was relatively painless.
Rebuilding the Big 12
With the departure of CU and NU, the Big 12 conference is now a confusing nomenclature. The all-wise Commissioner Beebe has stated he is not in favor of expanding, especially within the B12’s conference “footprint” (states that have a member school).
What this means is that if the Big 12 did expand, it wont necessarily do so based on on-field product. The University of Houston, who defeated Big 12 members Texas Tech and Oklahoma State in 2009, has been a popular candidate lately, so much so that Texas politicians are at it again. But UH would add little to no value being that UT already brings the Houston television market. Same story with TCU.
A letter delivered to Big 12 officials from Houston lawmakers outline their case. Too bad it doesn’t include millions and millions of dollars.
Good sports. Bad Money. No invite.
So what about schools from outside the footprint?
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has entered the discussion. Rumor has it that he wants his alma matter, the University of Arkansas, to join the Big 12. This is definately more than just school pride. During the Big 12 meetings in KC earlier this month, Jones’s Cowboy Stadium was given the football title game through 2013. As we all know now, there will be no championship game after this season.
Jones has also been rumored in luring Notre Dame out of their independant status and into the Big 12.
Jones has since denied his comments on Notre Dame and to ever talking to the University of Arkansas about moving.
Like there is a need to. Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said UA has “no interest in leaving the SEC.” And it’s pretty unlikely that Notre Dame would join the academic likes of Texas Tech or Oklahoma State, both of whom did not appear on US & World News report of 2010’s best public universities, over Michigan, Illinois or Wisconsin who were all in the top 10 in the same report.
Missouri’s place in conference realignment seems to be settled now with mixed results.
What am I going to do now until football season?