Shortly after the Pac-12 decided that it would not expand any further, Associated Press reports came in that Texas and Oklahoma, the two schools which ultimately hold the decision-making power for the Big 12’s future, were planning a pow-wow to discuss a possible five-year contract of sorts to stay in the conference.
It appears that idea has spread to include the remaining seven members of the Big 12, as a teleconference over Big 12 stability has been scheduled for Thursday, the Tulsa World reports.
Among the ideas that will reportedly be discussed to ensure long-terms stability in the conference will be the replacement of current commissioner Dan Beebe, high-ranking Big 12 sources tell the TW. Additionally, former Big 8 commissioner Chuck Neinas has had his name thrown around as a possible replacement.
The report states Big 12 CEO’s will also attempt to make one final push to keep Texas A&M in the conference. That, however, appears to be a sailed ship. The Aggies made it clear yesterday that, despite what happened in the Big 12, there were no plans to stay beyond this season.
As a nine-member league, the Big 12 seems to, once again, be on the hunt for replacements. BYU’s name continues to trend, along with TCU and Air Force. All three have been reportedly mentioned as favorites by Oklahoma president David Boren.
(Writer’s note: The desire to maintain a 10-or-12-team Big-12 is understandable; the conference must be at least 10 members to avoid financial penalties with their TV deal that goes into effect next year . However, this was a conference that, not 24 hours ago, looked to be on the verge of extinction. Equal revenue sharing and addressing the Longhorn Network seem like bigger issues that should be addressed first — see below.)
TCU was reportedly in New York last night in a meeting with Big East officials about its own conference future. As far as we can tell — which isn’t far at all — the Horned Frogs are a committed member of the Big East. Air Force has been mentioned by the Big East as a possible football-only member.
It’s also no guarantee that BYU would join the Big 12, given it’s very, very recent question marks. As a football independent, the Cougars can control every aspect of their destiny.
But the Big 12’s destiny may not be signed and sealed on Thursday during the teleconference. Texas AD DeLoss Dodds told Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News that Big 12 AD’s plan to meet next Tuesday and Wednesday in Dallas in what will surely be another meeting over the details of conference stability.
How the LHN will fit into that discussion, and the one tomorrow, is yet to be seen. Dodds added that UT still has no plans to share any third tier TV rights (i.e., the LHN) with any other members of the Big 12.
But equal revenue sharing for first and second-tier TV rights is still apparently on the ballot. The TW indicates that Oklahoma has submitted an equal revenue proposal for Thursday’s meeting. The Sooners, as you’ll recall, were still publicly undecided on such a proposal several weeks ago.
As I stated (very) early this morning, the Big 12 can survive, but it will take more than band-aid medicine. There are deep bruises that cannot be fixed without major reform by all parties.
Otherwise, expect to see the same conference drama a year from now.
UPDATED 9:22 p.m. ET: Dennis Dodd of CBSSports reports that the Big 12 is indeed looking to oust Beebe as soon as Thursday and that former Big Eight commissioner Chuck Neinas would take over.