Oklahoma, your wish has been granted.
Following up on reports that began earlier this week and have since risen to a resounding crescendo, Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News is reporting that Dan Beebe (not pictured) has tendered his resignation as the Big 12′s commissioner, effective immediately. Subsequent to Carlton’s report, the Big 12 officially confirmed that they had reached a mutual agreement with Beebe and he will abdicate the commissioner’s post immediately.
“The Big 12 Board of Directors has reached a mutual agreement with Commissioner Dan Beebe that he will leave his position effective today,” Big 12 board chairman Brady Deaton said in a statement. “We sincerely thank Dan who has always demonstrated a total commitment to what is in the best interest of the Big 12 Conference. His energy, devotion and skill in negotiating on our behalf have been tremendous assets that have benefited our member institutions, our student-athletes, our athletic programs and all our fans.”
Former Big 8 commissioner Chuck Neinas has been named the interim commissioner, confirmed by Oklahoma president David Borne following a Big 12 board of directors meeting.
“I have been honored to serve the Big 12 Conference for the past eight and one-half years, including the last four-plus as its commissioner,” Beebe said in his statement. “I thank all those with whom I have worked over the years. I am especially grateful for the outstanding staff at the conference office who have dedicated so much for the sake of the Big 12. I care deeply for these fine institutions and the citizens they represent. It is satisfying to know the Big 12 Conference will survive, and I congratulate the members for taking strong action to ensure a bright future as a premier intercollegiate athletics conference. As I have stated many times, it is in the best interest of intercollegiate athletics and higher education to maintain the regional connection that is so important for the student-athletes, their parents and the fans. I put all my effort into doing what was best for the Big 12. With great fondness, I wish the Big 12 Conference a long and prosperous future.”
On Tuesday, as rumors were still swirling that the Sooners would make a move to the Pac-12, reports began to surface that OU would consider remaining in the Big 12 if several conditions were met, including the removal of Beebe as commissioner. OU, as well as others in the Big 12, viewed Beebe as merely a puppet whose strings were pulled by Texas and Texas alone.
While Beebe was widely applauded for keeping the Big 12 together last year, he was nothing more than a handcuffed onlooker as it was UT’s Longhorn Network that, for the first time, put the kibosh on a mass migration of Big 12 schools to the then-Pac-10. To Beebe’s credit, he was able to land a lucrative new television deal for the wobbly, splintered conference, although again that may have had more to do with the market for live televised sports than any negotiating magic on Beebe’s part.
Also on Beebe’s watch, which began in 2007, three schools have left the Big 12 — Nebraska and Colorado this year, Texas A&M in 2012 (probably)
It’s unclear which direction the Big 12 will go for a permanent replacement for Beebe.