We may very soon learn the fate of the Big 12.
Citing "two highly-placed officials of two Big 12 schools," Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls reported Saturday evening that Nebraska and Missouri have each been given a deadline of June 11 to decide whether to remain part of the conference or take the chance of receiving an invite from the Big 10.
According to the report, one official said that the deadline, which Bohls writes was set by conference presidents during Big 12 spring meetings this week, could possibly be extended to June 15.
Speaking to the Statesman, one of the aforementioned Big 12 officials said that, "Nebraska has until 5 p.m. on Friday to tell us what they're going to do."
The unnamed official continued. “The same deal for Missouri. They have to tell us they’re not going to the Big 10 or...”
Or what? Well, you can pretty much guess what would happen.
The Cornhuskers and Tigers would take what could ultimately prove to be a calculated risk of the Big 10 actually not approaching them with an invite.
Meanwhile, half of the league would happily prance westward to join the ranks of the Pac-10—and do so while extending a collective middle finger to their ex-comrades as they look to the states of Missouri and Nebraska one last time—to effectively render the Big 12 non-existent.
And the mass exodus could be immediate. One of the Big 12 officials who spoke to Bohls, whom he identified as a school administrator, said the rumored Pac-10 invitations do exist and when they come, they'll "come fast," possibly within the next two weeks.
Tempering those words are those belonging to an unidentified Pac-10 athletics director who told the paper that the deal is "nowhere near done" and that he had not yet been "presented any definite plans."
This latest development seems a tad odd, if for no other reason that the fact Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe seemed subdued yet quietly confident that his league's week-long meetings in Kansas City had somewhat extinguished some of the rumors that things were on the verge of collapse.
In fact, he seemed quite sure that implosion was the last thing in store for the nation's youngest major conference.
Upon wrapping up a meeting with the Big 12's Board of Directors in Kansas City yesterday, Beebe said at a press conference that he was inspired by the meetings and that a "process" had been firmly put in place by he and the board that would enable the league to manage the issue of conference realignment and remain not only viable but increasingly profitable .
"I am optimistic by nature," Beebe said. "And I’m encouraged by the discussions and the course of action. [...] I think there’s more clarity, but I’m not going to go further."
Ironically, in this particular instance, the word "clarity" could not be more vague. But Beebe doesn't seem to carry the demeanor of a man who's prepared to take his front-row for the seemingly imminent suicide of perhaps the nation's most segregated conference.
Either that, or he's secretively pulling the strings behind the scenes, using the ultimatum given to Nebraska and Missouri as a jumping off point en route to a quiet euthanasia of a league he pretends to care about.
Stay tuned. God willing, I'm sure it will only be a few days before the next bit of "breaking" news comes out.