The End of the Big XII: What To Do With The Kansas Jayhawks
The Big XII is on borrowed time. Nebraska and Colorado have already bailed, and Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, and Missouri will soon follow suit.
This dissolution and expansion are clearly driven to make more football revenue, and the place that invented basketball is being left behind like roadkill. Kansas doesn’t have a storied football tradition.
Kansas men's basketball head coach Bill Self can’t sleep right now, and with good reason. With no Big XII and no major conferences clamoring for the Jayhawks, Rock Chalk Jayhawk could fall on deaf ears.
Times of apparent crisis always present opportunities, and the Jayhawks basketball program could either wallow in self pity or see the giant cash cow that’s just landed in their lap.
Kansas, along with Kansas State, Baylor, and the rest of the Big XII outcasts, need to get together with the Mountain West to create a major conference worthy of an automatic bid. In this scenario, Kansas football is better suited to be an annual BCS bowl contender then what they had to go through in the Big XII.
Joining the Mountain West would work well enough for Kansas, for its football program, and their ancillary sports.
In basketball, the grand tradition of Kansas is too great to be withered away in the developing Mountain West. For the Jayhawks to continue its success, and to raise its revenue, they need to take a page out of the Notre Dame playbook.
They need to take Rock Chalk Jayhawk solo and go independent.
Kansas is easily one of the top basketball draws in the country. There’s no reason why they can’t stand on their own as an institution.
If the Irish, who haven’t won anything in the last two decades, can rake in major cash, why can’t the Jayhawks?
There’s no reason why Kansas basketball can’t position itself for a major television deal.
Turner Sports has just signed up to broadcast March Madness and showcasing Kansas basketball would be mutually beneficial for a network with no college basketball programming. Fox and NBC both have national network affiliates (MNT and CW respectively) with plenty of airspace available if they don’t want to tie up prime time programming on their primary network.
Also, having no conference frees up the Jayhawks to schedule teams from all over the country. With a national television deal they could grow and expand the program consistently to audiences all over the country.
They could schedule home-and-home deals with all their major rivals to maintain tradition while making deals to play other powerhouse schools on a annual or semi-annual basis.
Not being in a conference also works for Kansas, in that they would get to rest up before March Madness every year, while having a schedule which still allows them to be contenders for a No. 1 seed.
Having this type of exposure and power would give Kansas great influence in recruiting. Pitching a top tradition with every game nationally televised while being a perennial title contender should allow Kansas to get just about every major recruit they need, once their brand of basketball is truly ingrained in national audiences all over the country.
Not having to share the massive television revenue would allow Kansas to boost its school and program. This would create a reciprocal effect where Kansas continues to improve in both sports and academia with the financial boost.
Expansion seems to be inevitable and will change the college landscape as we know it. There’s no reason the Jayhawks need to fall to the wayside.
They just need to take a stand.
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