Did you know that the University of Texas is responsible for global warming? For breaking up Kim Kardashian's marriage? For hunger and poverty in the third world?
If you didn't know that, you haven't been paying attention to one of the most prevalent memes in college sports since the beginning of the realignment mess -- Texas as the big bully, the evil empire, the cause of everything that is wrong anywhere and everywhere.
In a Pundit Roundup a few weeks ago, txtwstr broke down the fallacies of that basic premise and blaming everything wrong with the Big 12 on the Longhorn Network in an excellent piece, while Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds spoke with the Missourian on Tuesday to once again tell his own side of the story as Missouri prepares to take off for the SEC.
The argument from Dodds was once again that Texas was simply looking out for the best interests of the school, exactly as Texas A&M and Missouri have been doing.
Dodds reiterated that the preference of Texas was never to leave the Big 12 and only pursued other options as realignment looked more and more imminent:
We have stuck our neck out to save the Big 12, and we're not a bully. We didn't cause it. Our goal has been, and continues to be, to keep something together for the Big 12 and that's what we're going to do, good Lord willing.
For those who actually pay attention, that's not exactly a revelation from Dodds. For those same people, the comments from Dodds about the creation of the Longhorn Network broke no new ground either, so one author decided that Dodds was somehow "blaming" ESPN for everything when he related the LHN creation story:
Nobody was interested in it until Fox came up and said, 'We'll give you $3 million a year to do it.' And we were elated with that. We thought, 'Crap, they're going to pay for it. They're going to pay us, the kids get on TV, this is great. Then ESPN walked in and said we'll give you an average of $15 million a year. And then it became a problem.
Interesting, but not surprising, that the author fails to build on his headline of Dodds "blaming" ESPN, but that's most likely because there's little in Dodds' comment to back up that assertion.
While it's easy to also blame Texas for the lack of revenue sharing, Dan Beebe revealed after his ouster that Nebraska was the most outspoken opponent of an equal division of revenue, with Oklahoma and Texas also opposed, though it's almost always Texas singularly vilified for the discrepancy. And when it came down to it, both schools relented when it became absolutely apparent that it was in the best interests of the league to do so, even though both schools are primarily responsible for creating that revenue in the first place.
In any case, Dodds called the previous differences in revenue "miniscule," while noting that the change came about in part because the new television deal would create a much larger inequality:
With the dollars getting so big in the last Fox thing, the numbers - had we kept the same formula - would have been, I don't know the right word, but grotesque is a word I've used before. We made the motions to equal sharing both in the Fox and ABC/ESPN package.
While some not might believe that's much of a concession considering the increased revenue generated by the Longhorn Network, it still takes some logistical gymnastics to cast any more blame upon Texas.
With all that blame being heaped upon the school, Dodds finished the interview quite vehemently:
So are we being a bully? No, we feel like we're probably being good guys. Does somebody think we're being a bully? Well that's up to them to think we're a bully. We want to keep the conference together, we want equal sharing, we want our own network for our kids, we'll give half of it to the university. If somebody can poke a hole in that, poke a hole in it.
I've talked to people like you until I'm blue in the face, and said the same thing, which is true, and out of it we get people in Kansas City writing that we're absolute bullies, and people writing somewhere else that it's our fault A&M's leaving. We just are easy to blame, I guess.
That ease allows for a lot of lazy journalism, but at least Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com was willing to take a measured look at the situation:
I don't see Texas as being a bully. I just see Texas as a school that's doing the exact same thing schools like Missouri and Texas A&M are doing, that Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia are doing, and that Nebraska and Colorado did before them.
It's looking out for its own self-interest. That's it.
In the end, it's pretty simple, but perhaps Dodds summed it up best when he said that personally, "I don't give a flip what you think about me."
Perhaps if Texas fans could take that more completely to heart, it would be easier to ignore the accusations of being the big ol' bully, although Dodds still takes umbrage at assaults on his university. Too bad it's just not fun to be vilified on the basis of what are, at best, shaky grounds.