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Pac-10 Expansion: Baylor Emails Released; Mountain West Eyes Colorado

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Pac-10 Expansion: Baylor Emails Released; Mountain West Eyes Colorado

Baylor and Colorado have seldom found reasons to play dirty. But now that each is at the epicenter of rumored conference realignment in college football, the gloves have been taken off.

No, make that ripped off and tossed to the farthest corner of the ring. The thing is, though, it seems to be a fight in which only one party is interested.

That would be Baylor, a tiny-sized private institution that is willing to taint its hands with a little political mudslinging on behalf of an angry mob of Texas lobbyists. The goal: Ensure that the Bears do what is needed to avoid being left out in the cold should the Pac-10 confirm the rumors and expand with six teams from the Big 12.

And do so at the expense of Colorado, a school some within the Lone Star State's crowded and boisterous political arena assert is not exactly worthy of such green pastures.

The Dallas Morning News reported Monday that it has obtained a series of emails recently exchanged between Baylor regent and lobbyist Buddy Jones (perfect name for a Texas "politicker," if you ask me) and school alumni and supporters within the state's legislature.

The rallying cry: We must uphold the unification of the four Texas schools. Even if that means skinning the life out of the Buffalo in the room, which, by the way, cannot and will not stand in our way of receiving an invigorating Pac-10 payday.

Here is the first of Jones' emails, in which he describes Baylor's academics and athletic facilities as being "superior" to those of Colorado:

From: Buddy Jones

Date: June 4, 2010 10:49:12 AM CDT

To: ADDRESSES REDACTED

Subject: Baylor Alert

To: Baylor grads in the 81st Legislature:

 

I have a critical issue that directly affects Baylor and it is very time sensitive. The Big XII and PAC 10 are both meeting separately today. According to a recent newspaper report, the PAC 10 may well issue an invite to all the Big XII South schools to join the PAC 10 – WITH THE EXCEPTION OF BAYLOR. In our stead, the PAC 10 is rumored to substitute Colorado. In this scenario, Baylor gets left out and this would be a major, major setback for our University. Perhaps a setback of immense proportion. The mere rumor of Baylor being left behind is harmful.

We cannot let the other schools in Texas (A&M, U.T., Tech) leave the Big XII WITHOUT BAYLOR BEING INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE. Long and short – if U.T., A&M and Tech demand that any move to any other conference include ALL TEXAS BASED TEAMS from the Big XII, we are golden. We need to be in a PACKAGE DEAL!

Here’s what I am asking you to do today.

 

Please call the following:

 

1. Bill Jones – Former Chairman, A&M Board of Regents

2. Bill Powers – President, University of Texas at Austin (If unavailable ask for Nancy Brazzil, his E.A.);

3. Morris E. Foster – Chairman A&M Board of Regents of Salado, TX

4. Larry Anders – Chairman, Texas Tech Board of Regents

5. Kent Hance – Chancellor, Texas Tech

6. Dr. Mike McKinney , Chancellor, Texas A&M and

7. Colleen McHugh – Chairman, U.T. Board of Regents.

 

Here is the message to deliver:

 

• The four Texas schools in the Big XII conference have decades (if not a century) of history as being a family. The continuation of this almost sacred relationship is important to our State and to higher education in Texas.

• As the Big 10 , PAC 10 and Big XII discuss re-alignment, the best possible scenario for these four schools (U.T., A&M, Tech and Baylor) is to stay in the Big XII Conference as it currently exists. That is the absolute BEST THING FOR ALL OF US – KEEP THE BIG XII INTACT.

• However, if some schools in the Big XII North feel compelled to go elsewhere (we hear rumors of Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska looking toward the Big 10), the next best scenario is to KEEP ALL SIX SCHOOLS FROM THE BIG XII SOUTH AS A PACKAGE DEAL. Do not leave Baylor out.

• There was a report today that the PAC 10 might extend an offer to invite five of the South schools to join the PAC 10 (Texas, A&M, Tech, Oklahoma and OSU). The report said Baylor would be replaced with Colorado. This is Armageddon for our University.

 

This would be devastating to Baylor and to the state of Texas. WE MUST STICK TOGETHER.

 

• Baylor is superior to Colorado academically. Baylor has athletic facilities superior to Colorado. Colorado doesn’t participate in the number of sports that Baylor does. Baylor’s overall record in all collegiate sports dwarfs that of Colorado. Our football, basketball (women’s and men’s), baseball, softball, track, tennis, golf programs are vastly superior to Colorado’s. The Baptist church base extends across the country and certainly trumps the University of Colorado’s local base limited to a small town in Colorado.

• I am asking you to commit to me to keeping all six schools from the Big XII South together if we can’t keep the whole Big XII intact. BAYLOR MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE. Make it clear that when it comes to our four Texas schools, IT IS ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL!!

 

Please DO NOT BREAK UP the history and working relationship we have nurtured over the decades.

 

Will you commit to including all Texas schools in any scenario that arises? Will you commit to include Baylor in any package you consider?

 

Please put these calls in today if at all possible. We need to stop any bleeding that this PAC 10 offer might have caused for Baylor quickly.

 

Many, many thanks for your assistance. This could be a pivotal moment in Baylor’s history.

 

Warmest regards,

Neal T. “ Buddy” Jones

 

(For what it's worth, according to the latest rankings from U.S. News and World Report , Colorado checked in at No. 77 among national universities, public or private. Baylor, meanwhile, ranked at No. 80. On the flip side, Baylor boasts more Big 12 championships by any school not named Nebraska or Texas.)

In all, seven messages were sent between Jones and his cohorts, which include Baylor president—and Whitewater prosecutor—Kenneth Starr (pictured). The content consists mainly off all the familiar speculation, from what tactic(s) Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott might choose to an unfounded claim that Nebraska is beginning to wonder its way back to the Big 12 table—thus ignoring the possible advances of the Big Ten, leaving Missouri to fend for itself, and all but guaranteeing the solidarity of the endangered conference.

Yes, Jones clearly sees Nebraska as the key to all this—the difference between his beloved Waco Cubbies continuing to take up residence in the Big 12 South cellar or receiving significantly more compensation to languish at the bottom of the Pac-16 West.

Behold: "It's hard enough get the home teams to stick tight," Jones said in one of the emails. "But harder still to influence a bunch of corn shuckers."

Hmmm...OK. Well, what say you, Colorado. Your blood must be boiling over the fact a Baptist university with Little Man Syndrome is puffing out its chest while its three older brothers stand ominously behind with their arms folded, like a trio of Texas-sized bodyguards.

Actually, the Buffaloes have entered stealth mode, either because they don't have the energy to engage Baylor in a political battle of "I know you are, but what am I?" or are already aware that the Pac-10 will extend an invitation.

When asked about Baylor's recent bullish tactics by the Denver Post, Colorado athletics director Mike Bohn declined comment.

Or could the Buffs' silence indicate something else, possibly that they'd rather forfeit the spot to Baylor than ultimately join a conference some contend they have no business being in?

Besides the obvious travel implications , Colorado, which has experienced only moderate football success, would get buried under an avalanche of tradition created by Texas, Oklahoma, and USC if it were to join a souped-up Pac-10.

And, in reality, what would be the chances of the Buffaloes realistically sustaining success in a division with the Longhorns and Sooners? To find the answer, they need look no further than Baylor, which consistently spends time looking up at no less than three teams in the Big 12 South.

What about the Mountain West Conference? Like everywhere else, expansion has been a topic of discussion in the conference, and, geographically, it makes sense for Colorado. As does the fact that it is already teeming with natural rivals for the Buffs, including Colorado State and neighboring Utah.

And although the MWC has considerably less caché than, say, a top-heavy Pac-16, or whatever they would call it, Colorado would stand at least a fighting chance of making some noise well into November. The alternative is exchanging home games against USC and Oklahoma for road dates at Texas and Oregon, and getting buried before mid-October.

Clearly, the Mountain West is soaking everything in right now, which is why commissioner Craig Thompson announced Monday the conference had decided to table any talk pertaining to expansion, therefore shooting down reports that it was prepared to offer membership to WAC affiliate Boise State.

"We reviewed what other conferences are doing and any new information coming out of the other conferences," Thompson told the Denver Post . "Boise State was one of the institutions discussed, along with others."

When asked if Colorado was among those additional schools being considered, Thompson replied, "Yes." He added that expansion talks could be re-opened as early as next month.

In the meantime, Colorado sits and waits while Baylor advances it's politically-charged agenda and case for Pac-10 inclusion. With deadlines and ultimatums saturating the college football landscape, it's only a matter of time before the chain reaction is excited.

And when it is triggered, the pieces will begin to descend upon their rightful places.

For Baylor, that may be a bloated Pac-10; for Colorado, it could deny Baylor its wish or side with the more-streamlined Mountain West.

 

In other news: According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which cites a source "familiar with the matter," the deadline for Missouri to pledge its allegiance to the Big 12 has been set for June 17. Earlier reports indicated that MU and Nebraska both had until 5 p.m. CT on Friday to decide, with the possibility that the deadline could be extended to June 15.

 

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