We open up the first Saturday of college football with this Earth-shattering news:
The Big 12 is on the fritz. Like, in a major way.
Yesterday, Oklahoma’s president, David Boren, revealed that the school has received interest from multiple conferences about possible membership and that the Sooners were essentially considering all options when it came to their athletic future.
Similarly, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel hinted Friday that the source of the Big 12’s current instability lies somewhere between, but definitely involving, the cities of Austin and Irving, Texas.
Not exactly votes of confidence.
As we’ve stated before, the Big 12 can still survive so long as Texas and Oklahoma are happy; the strength of the conference would be another story.
But commissioner Dan Beebe may have turned his back on the two programs who could keep him employed.
Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com reports that Beebe called “a conference call late Friday afternoon with a handful of his conference’s presidents to discuss the increasing possibility that Oklahoma wants to bolt the Big 12 for the Pac-12″, according to a source.
Boren, Texas president Bill Powers, Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin were reportedly not on the call — the point of which, according to Brown’s sources, was to “work on Texas” to keep the Longhorns put.
“Sources said the Longhorns have been actively working to hold the Big 12 together*. Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds and OU athletic director Joe Castiglione are on the five-member Big 12 expansion committee charged with looking for new members to join the Big 12. But if Oklahoma bolts, Texas would consider the Big 12 dead and probably follow the Sooners to the Pac-12.”
(*note: of course they are; they’re getting two revenue streams from Big 12 membership and carry a ton of power)
If Texas does leave the Big 12 for dead, the Longhorn Network would likely turn into a “Pac-12 Networks — Texas” type of deal, but there obviously are significant legal details associated with that adjustment.
The rest of the Big 12 should be concerned about the feelings of Texas and Oklahoma, but it’s becoming evident that the two power members should be equally concerned about each other.
A feeling of discontent by one or both of them would more than certainly result in the Big 12’s demise.