From The Couch – Conference Realignment Stirs The Emotions Of Big 12 Leaders

From The Couch – Conference Realignment Stirs The Emotions Of Big 12 Leaders


Here we go again.  Texas and Oklahoma are leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.  Their intentions would have been kept a secret for a while longer if not for someone at Texas A&M catching wind of it and leaking it to the press.  It’s been a wild week or two and I thought I’d take a look back at some quotes of note from Big 12 leaders.

“Today’s action by the Board of Regents is in the best interests of UT student athletes, the UT Austin athletics program overall, and the university,” University of Texas system chancellor James Milliken said in a statement. “This move ensures a strong future for an outstanding athletics program, providing the opportunity for our student athletes to compete at the highest levels.”…David Cobb and Dennis Dodds,, July 30, 2021

JM:   Translation:  We couldn’t win championships at an intermediate level, so we’re gonna jump up to the “highest levels” and take our chances there.

“After thorough consideration and study, it became obvious that standing pat would mean falling behind,” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said.”…David Cobb and Dennis Dodds,, July 30, 2021

JM:  Translation:  SHOW ME THE MONEY!

“This is an important moment for the long-term future of the Southeastern Conference and our member universities,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in the statement. “Oklahoma and Texas are outstanding academic institutions with two strong athletics programs, which will add to the SEC’s national prominence. Their additions will further enhance the already rich academic, athletic and cultural legacies that have been cultivated throughout the years by our existing 14 members. We look forward to the Sooners and Longhorns competing in our Conference starting in the 2025-26 academic year.”…David Cobb and Dennis Dodds,, July 30, 2021

JM: Funny he used the term “rich.”  Double entendre?  Or does he simply mean “we’re rich?”  Notice there is no regret or apologies from any of the three to the eight other Big 12 institutions?  Reading between the lines just speaks “we’re the best and have the most money and we’re going to get richer.  Screw you all.”

 “In the 130-year history of the University of Oklahoma athletics, this is a significant decision,” Harroz remarked. “In 2012, OU took time and thought about whether or not we should make a conference change at that time. In the end, we decided to stay… in the Big 12 Conference. So what’s changed? And the answer is everything.

The Big 12 [is] the last in line for media negotiations, and being last in line has consequences,” (OU President Joseph) Harroz continued. “We sat back and we asked what’s important to the University of Oklahoma. … The role of athletics plays a critical role in the life of a university. Windows open and opportunities can evaporate in a moment. We believe that joining the SEC will sustain our national caliber and traditions.”…Parker Thune, OU Insider, July 30, 2021

JM:  So this is all about television money?  None of these people give a rip about the fans or traditional rivalries.  Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Texas A&M have faded into irrelevance after leaving the Big 12 and I’m guessing the same thing will happen to OU and Texas.

Earlier today OU delivered a document to the Big 12 Conference office which indicated they will not sign the grant of rights agreement in 2024-25. This action was strategic, deliberate and is the result of months of planning with the SEC.”…Oklahoma State President Kayce Shrum, Twitter, July 26

JM:  It’s safe to say Shrum was NOT happy about this.  Oklahoma and Texas have been planning this with the SEC, and likely ESPN, for a long time.  Behind the backs of the other Big 12 schools and in secret to boot. It’s dirty and underhanded if you ask me, and it appears that Shrum agrees.

We believe these conversations, which developed over a long period of time, are in clear breach of the bylaws of the Big 12 Conference and broke a bond of trust between our universities in existence for decades.”…Oklahoma State President Kayce Shrum

JM:  No more “bond of trust,” that’s for damn sure.

It is difficult to understand how an Oklahoma institution of higher education would follow the University of Texas to the detriment of the State of Oklahoma. Nevertheless we are turning our eyes to the future and looking at what is best for Oklahoma State University.…Oklahoma State President Kayce Shrum

JM:  I don’t think she likes Texas much, either, which makes me like her even more!

“I think it’s really important, though, that all Cyclone fans understand that it’s not a time to panic,” (Iowa State athletic director Jamie) Pollard said. “Our industry is in a complete state of flux. And quite frankly, every institution should be evaluating where they are and how things are going to look as this landscape continues to change — from the Supreme Court ruling to the NIL to the NCAA and to the College Football Playoff. I also encourage our fans, although it’s fun and it’s interesting to get caught up in all the rumors, this is one more time where taking a step back and having patience and understanding that this is not going to be solved any time — the next four years will be a long, bumpy and challenging road for everybody in college athletics, not just Iowa State, not just the Big 12, but the entire industry. I think it’s really important to understand, ‘What does grant of rights mean?’ Grant of rights essentially means that each institution has turned over their media rights, meaning their opportunity to be on television, to their conference office.”…Riley Gates, 247Sports, July 27, 2021

JM:  K-State athletic director Gene Taylor also mentioned the grant of rights issue during an interview.  Basically, OU and Texas signed over their media rights through 2025, meaning the Big 12 divvies up all of the revenue from the games among all the schools.  So say Texas and OU leave after this academic year but the Big 12 stays together.  If Alabama plays Texas in Austin, the Big 12 will be able to broadcast and receive revenue from that game.  This is all fine and dandy until 2025, but what happens after that is anyone’s guess. 

“For the past nine years, West Virginia University has been a loyal member of the Big 12 Conference. We have valued the partnership with the other nine members and have served the league as a prestigious academic institution and a nationally recognized athletics program. “We are disappointed that two of our Big 12 institutions have indicated their intent not to extend their media rights beyond 2025″….West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons

JM:  Shane Lyons wasn’t happy, either….

“West Virginia University’s top priority continues to be our student-athletes. We are focused on ensuring that we provide opportunities to elevate their academic and athletic experiences at WVU. However, in addition to our student-athletes, we also understand the impact this announcement has on our University, our state, and our Mountaineer fans around the world. We will continue to be highly engaged and extremely diligent in finding connections that strengthen our academic mission and allow our student-athletes to thrive in one of the most successful athletics programs in the country.”…West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons

JM:  Does “extremely diligent in finding connections” mean they’re going to begin looking at other conferences to join?  That’s how I interpret it.

“As was stated earlier by the Big 12 Conference, athletics is an ever-changing landscape. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Big 12 and across the country to navigate this new terrain. Together, we will continue to Climb Higher!”…West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons

JM:  Then again, this sounds like solidarity with the remaining Big 12 schools.

“For our state, it is critical to our economy and Texas’ overall reputation to maintain “Power Five” institutions, reinforcing the Lone Star State’s athletic preeminence. Rest assured, we, along with the Board of Regents, members of the Baylor delegation in the Texas legislature and other Baylor leaders, are actively engaged in conversations with our Big 12 colleagues and others to ensure our University is in the strongest position possible now and into the future.  …Baylor President Linda Livingston and AD Mack Rhoades

JM:  Keeping “Power 5” status is the key here and should be the main goal of the remaining eight institutions going forward.  That means no joining the AAC.

“Like many across our state and within the footprint of our league, I’ve been extremely disappointed by the actions and intentions of our friends in Austin and Norman. From day one of the Big 12 Conference’s existence, Texas Tech has been a proud and trustworthy partner. As the landscape of collegiate athletics shifts, I can promise Red Raider Nation that our leadership will diligently pursue all options to best position Texas Tech for long-term success.”  Texas Tech Chancellor Tedd Mitchell, Twitter

JM:  It sounds like Texas Tech is going to take the “every man for himself” attitude in realignment.

The Texas Senate held a hearing on the future of college sports in Texas and during the hearing Texas State Senator Lois Kolkhorst had an awesome exchange with Texas President Jay Hartzel….

“With the recent announcement of two of our institutions electing to depart the conference following the 2024-25 season, Kansas State University and the additional seven members of the Big 12 Conference are eager to collaborate and position ourselves for continued success. We have terrific leadership at the conference, university and state board of regent levels, and our fans should know that every effort is being made to put Kansas State and the Big 12 Conference in the best position moving forward.”…K-State President Richard Myers and athletic director Gene Taylor

JM:  K-State sounds like it’s “Big 12 or bust.”  Unfortunately, at this point I’m guessing “bust” is the most likely outcome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *