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The Big Roundup - The week blew up edition

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Mack Brown really has no idea about this whole PAC 10 issue.

"I know very little about what’s going on. I’ve been surprised by some of the reports. I’ve talked to DeLoss and I think his, my and President Powers’ feelings are we want the Big 12 to stay like it is. So we’re hoping it works and it stays. It’s working. It’s a great conference. It’s already got 14 years of history and tradition. Until I hear something different — and I’ve heard nothing to the contrary from President Powers and DeLoss — I plan on coaching in the Big 12."

Sporting News echoes the ongoing theme of it is all up to Texas.

Here's the key moment of this college football expansion dance. Dateline: Austin, Texas, sometime this fall, at a hastily called on-campus press conference at the state's flagship university. There's a table with a microphone and four ball caps, each bearing the logo of a major college sports league – SEC, Big 12, Pac-10 and Big Ten.

Out steps UT president Bill Powers with the smile of a man ready to claim the Powerball jackpot. As ESPN goes live, Powers turns into a recruit on National Signing Day, toying with each cap before donning the one belonging to the Texas Longhorn's new home.

It is good to be the king.

But what Texas really wants is to remain king, which means keeping things in the Big 12 the way they are, dysfunctional revenue sharing and all. Or leveraging the rest of the league enough to create another revenue stream - a new Longhorn television network is on the table - that you don't have to share with anyone else. After all, it's a team effort, right?

Deloss Dodds is a good listener.

The first mistake the Big 12 boss or anyone else could make was to believe Texas no longer listens to other offers. Forget public denials or displays of loyalty. College athletics are big business, first and foremost, and billion-dollar deals are rarely conducted in news conferences.

Texas has what it wants most: leverage. The Big Ten wants Texas. The Pac-10 wants Texas. The SEC would love Texas, too, but that's not happening.


We have a Red Raider problem.

You’re not really living unless you have or have had a "Tech problem". For the Texas Longhorns, it’s all about their less-pedigreed kin in Lubbock and according to emails sent from OSU president E. Gordon Gee to Big Ten commish Jim Delaney, Texas president Bill Powers would welcome a call to discuss said problem.



Following the gravy train of college Realignment really is all about the cash.

It isn't a confirmation, but something is definitely up.

"There is an enormous amount of speculation about conference expansion right now and I think with the Pac-10 that anything is possible, all the way from remaining with the status quo, where we are today, to a full merger with the Big 12 and anything in between,'' Woodward said Thursday afternoon. "All possibilities are viable and open for discussion.''

Notes from the PAC 10 meeting:

Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott laid out a host of expansion scenarios to athletic directors on Friday, the first day of conference meetings here. They range from a full merger with the Big 12; to merging with six current Big 12 schools, including Texas; to adding Colorado and Utah; to the status quo, according to one athletic director.

On Sunday morning, Scott will brief the school presidents and chancellors.

Nobody here expects the conference to expand any time soon, certainly not by Sunday, the final day of the meetings. Still, the possibility of adding schools -- which could lead to a financial windfall for the conference, as well as ratchet up competition -- has several attendees excited by the possibilities.

"Larry and the Pac-10 are being very proactive. That's what I like," said Washington athletic director Scott Woodward. "We're not the bug on the windshield. We're kind of driving the bus."

To hell with tradition.

The Big Ten and Pac-10 Conferences have always clung to their traditional roots with white-knuckle fervor. They have gone to great lengths — at the expense of a college football playoff system — to make sure that their champions play in the Rose Bowl.

The Big Ten and the Pac-10 appear to be, however. And the two conferences that have always clung to tradition appear to be tilting the axis of the college sports world.

The Iowa State president and AD sent out a cryptic letter to Cyclone fans.

Where is I-70? The trouble started south of I-70? Everyone loves a good conspiracy.

If you're into conspiracy theories, you can craft an interesting one based on Thursday's reports regarding the Pac-10. A few facts:

-- Tuesday, the first day of the Big 12 meetings, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said this: "We didn't start this. But if we need to finish it, we'll finish it."

-- Thursday, the critical day of the Big 12 meetings, the report broke from the UT Rivals site -- written by respected Texas beat writer Chip Brown -- saying the Pac-10 was targeting six Big 12 schools. Nebraska wasn't among them.

-- Here's the really interesting excerpt from the Rivals story, regarding Nebraska and Missouri as candidates for the Big Ten: "The Tigers already have one foot in the Big Ten. But Nebraska has no assurance it will be invited to the Big Ten and could be left completely out of the power conference structure if it's not careful."

So who planted that seed? Not sure, but I'm guessing it came from somewhere south of I-70.

Bob Stoops and Lane Kiffin in one conference. Think of the fun. (There's more. And more.) Kiffin probably won't be around very long anyway.

This guy gets it. It is all about the money.

With its pageantry, tradition, competition, rivalries and loyalties, there is nothing quite like college sports. Still, the business of college sports is not all that different than any other business enterprise. Just like any business, concerns about market share, competitive pressures and revenues drive most decisions. Not surprisingly, these concerns indicate that now is a precarious time for Oklahoma State University.

The Big 12 was formed for only one purpose.

These schools came together not as conferences once did – to bind universities in close proximity that agreed on playing and eligibility rules – but for one real purpose.

The Big 12 formed to maximize its schools' collective television contract negotiating power, a pure business arrangement.

Negotiating media contracts is the primary function of all conferences today, but the Big 12 was the first to become established for that purpose.



Unless the conference reorganizes, the Big 12 is dead.

Unless the Big 12 reorganizes in a way that is acceptable to all (highly doubtful at this moment), it’s probably going to cease to exist. Texas wants their own television network and, although having 11 other teams around to mow their grass might be preferable, they aren’t going to compromise much to make it happen.

Shhhh. Big 12 Commish Dan Beebe says it is all confidential.

The Big 12 Conference’s quest for self preservation has turned into a family car trip — and Dad just instituted the quiet game: First one to talk loses.

As Commissioner Dan Beebe explained yesterday at the conclusion of the Big 12 meetings in Kansas City, the conference is entering the summer in stealth mode. With conference realignment continuing to threaten the Big 12’s future, whatever game plan the league’s board of directors drew up during its final gathering yesterday will stay confidential, Beebe said.

The board has decided on a process to manage the alignment issue, but it will be handled privately, as will the undisclosed timetable established by the board, which does not meet again until October.

"The process that’s been set is firm," Beebe said at the InterContinental hotel. "I’m not going to engage in what that is."

Dan Beebe thought the PAC 10 wanted to be friends, but now?

The Big 12 canceled a scheduled Thursday news conference with Beebe and chairman of the board William Powers, the Texas president.

"We're not going to have any comments until we conclude tomorrow," Beebe said. "You're not going to get any more out of me."

The silence from the Big 12 invited all kinds of speculation to fill the void.

Expect Beebe, Powers and the other school presidents and CEOs to do their best damage control today.


What a surprise. It is all about Nebraska.

"Nebraska has a deadline.
"When Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe emerged from a presidents meeting Friday and talked about a "process" by which the league will decide how to sort the alliances of some schools with the Big Ten, what he meant was, Nebraska has been called out.

"I don't know for sure. I wasn't in the room. But I've talked to people who know what they're talking about. And this is about Nebraska."

No one reads Orangebloods.

"You actually believe I read" Byrne said about the Rivals site of the University of Texas.

I'm in Byrne's band. Never read So I can't comment on the credibility of the Rivals website. But I can comment on what should happen if it's true.


If Kirk Bohls says it will happen, then you know it will. And Stewart Mandel says so, too.

In talking with various parties across the sport Thursday and Friday, it's sounding more and more like the proposed plan first reported by Texas fan site (whose reporter, Chip Brown, was a longtime beat writer for the Dallas Morning News) is more than mere gossip. While the process isn't nearly as far along as some would like to believe (Scott was presumably being truthful Thursday when he said "we have not developed any definitive plans"), a number of signs point to the "Pac-16" being an eventual possibility.

The No. 1 reason: It makes too much sense.

There may be few options for Baylor if the Big 12 breaks up.

It's not personal. No one seems to want Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State.

The four schools aren't football powers and don't come from highly populated areas, making them less-than-exciting programs for conferences looking to expand.

They may be the only remnants of a once-powerful conference, on the outside of BCS bubble looking in and wondering what to do next.

"I'd like to think Kansas will land somewhere, but I'm kind of biased," said Kevin Glatt, a Kansas junior-to-be. "But with the way things are going now, who knows what's going to happen?"

He's got that right.

Some common sense on the revenue imbalance in the conference?

Call me Dan Beebe, but I’m OK with the current setup in the Big 12. The split is weighted toward teams that are on network television more. A bit of research showed that since the Big 12 started, Texas football has been on network TV 70 times (not counting bowl or Big 12 title games.) Nebraska has been on 63. Oklahoma didn’t list its numbers but are probably in that range. Missouri was at 24. But if you look closer at it, Nebraska was the TV favorite in the first years of the Big 12 while Texas’ share has grown in the last five years or so. Nebraska can’t cry foul over it now because they were the ones benefiting early. If Texas were to somehow fall into a repeat of the John Mackovic era, the Longhorns would certainly fall off the TV radar. That’s just how it works.

The Mountain West Conference could benefit if six teams leave.

TCU is a little nervous.

Of the four schools participating in the NCAA baseball regional this weekend at Lupton Stadium, two are directly involved in the talk -- Baylor and Arizona -- while TCU waits to see what pieces begin to move.

What exists is a fear from Ames, Iowa to Lawrence, Kan., to Fort Worth to Waco that when the major college brokers carve who goes where, the end result will leave schools such as Baylor, Iowa State or even Kansas without a spot. Or in TCU's case, being left out again.

The best reason to join the PAC 10?

One of my first thoughts was I know two guys who hate the idea: The Stoops brothers, Oklahoma's Bob and Arizona's Mike, who would suddenly be playing not only in the same conference but also in the same division, which means playing every year. Mike Stoops has repeatedly told me he has no interest in playing a game against brother Bob.

Life is good when we can annoy the Stoops' family.


Crimes and misdemeanors

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson is not happy.

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson said he was "disturbed" by allegations of ticket thefts at the University of Kansas Athletic Department and said he's asked KU's chancellor for quick action.

"I expect an aggressive investigation and serious consequences," said the Democrat.



The SEC is cleaning up with that tv contract.

The SEC completed its four-day spring meetings by announcing that it will distribute a record $209 million to its 12 members this year, $17.4 million per school –- up 58 percent from last year’s distribution of $11 million per school.

The increased payout, which is slightly higher than most projections, stems largely from the SEC’s new television contracts with ESPN and CBS. The payout also includes funds generated by the league’s football championship game and bowl games, as well as its men’s basketball tournament and its cut from NCAA championship events.

Some great quotes from the the SEC meetings:

You gotta love LSU coach Les Miles’ response when asked if he considered cowbells an artificial noisemaker. "Maybe not in a pasture," Miles said.

Alabama coach Nick Saban had the word of the week, referring to stuff he doesn’t want to deal with as "mouse manure."

No one cares about basketball.

The issue no one seems to be commenting on here is how little anyone regards basketball in this decision. [...] I'm not mad about it. I get it. Basketball is always going to play second fiddle to football, no matter the level of the game. That's just how it is. Forget baseball, these days football is america's past time. I love it too.

Its just depressing to realize that something that I -- and countless others around the country -- care about so passionately is actually nothing more than an afterthought to the people that make decisions.


And finally...

Rest in peace. John Wooden died this weekend. Condolences to his family, players and UCLA.

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