It started as a rumor, as most of these things do, earlier today when the Tulsa World reported there was a general consensus among Big 12 leaders that commissioner Dan Beebe needed to go. With conference CEO’s set to meet via teleconference tomorrow (Thursday) to cover conference stability, it was thought that the subject would be brought up at that time.
Then, Dennis Dodd of CBSSports added a layer to the story earlier this evening, stating that the Big 12 would take it a step further by officially ousting Beebe during such meeting in favor of old Big 8 commissioner Chuck Neinas.
According to Big 12 sources, the conference won’t even have to wait.
The Kansas City Star is reporting that Beebe spent Wednesday working on an agreement to leave his position as commissioner.
“He’s working on his exit package right now,” one source who has reportedly spoken to Beebe directly said about the process. “A couple of weeks ago he told me privately that if the conference stayed together and he had to go it would be like lifting up a huge weight off his heart.”
That’s not surprising considering the scrutiny Beebe was facing for being perceived as “Texas’ puppet”, let alone the fact that for consecutive years, his conference appeared on the verge of extinction.
Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton, who also is chairman of the Big 12’s Board of Directors, was reportedly against Beebe’s decision to step down in what Beebe apparently felt was in the best interest of the conference.
Missouri has been rumored to have received a back channel offer from the SEC if the Big 12 fell apart. That likely would have been determined by the departures of Oklahoma and Texas.
The SEC has denied such allegations.
In the final hours before the Pac-12 decided against further expansion, Oklahoma reportedly laid out two demands for their continued membership with the Big 12: a modification of the Longhorn Network and Beebe’s resignation.
Turns out, the Sooners got half their wish, even if a high-ranking university source is trying (and failing) to backpedal out of the situation with the school’s infinite “leverage”.
In any case, and if the report is accurate, Beebe appears to be gone. He joined the conference as associate commissioner in 2003 after serving terms as the commissioner for the Ohio Valley conference and in NCAA enforcement.
Coincidentally enough, Beebe received a three-year extension last November.
“They need a fresh start in the conference,” the source said, “and not to go back to Groundhog Day where they were having this same conversation next year.”