Conference Realignment: What the Heck Just Happened With Big XII Debacle?

Kyle LukeContributor IJune 13, 2010

With the departure of Nebraska and Colorado earlier this week, the Big 12 is all but dead.  It's on full life support and it's now up to Mack Brown to pull the plug.

Members of the Big 12 South such as Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State are expected to announce their defection to the Pac 10 as soon as Tuesday. A&M may also follow them but reportedly is being courted by the SEC as well.  

Some media outlets are reporting that administrators from the remaining schools in the Big 12 North are pleading with the remaining teams in the conference to stay.  This would result in the Big 12 becoming the "new" Big 10.

This will not happen.

You can understand why schools like Kansas, Mizzou, and Kansas State have pressed the panic button.

On Saturday, reported the Mountain West is most interested in acquiring the three aforementioned programs.

As a Mizzou alum (and this article will be biased for full disclosure, like way biased)I  can't say I'm really all that excited for a potential Mizzou vs. Utah showdown.  

I can also say with almost certainty that KU basketball fans are standing on the edge right now.

So whose to blame for this whole conference disaster?

Living in Columbia, MO, I don't have to go very far to find who.  In fact, I'm typing this article about 200 yards away from Jesse Hall where the Mizzou administration works.

If you remember back in December, Mizzou president Gary Forsee, chancellor Brady Deaton and AD Mike Aldon all went on record of saying they would listen to what the Big 10 had to offer.

They were the first to express this interest publicly; before Nebraska, before Colorado, and before the South.

Aldon was unsatisfied with the unequal revenue coming in between the two conferences and governor Jay Nixon mentioned how the Big 10 was academically superior to the Big 12.  (In doing so, Nixon took a on-the-recrod shot at OSU and Texas Tech. Won't argue those schools are not the same academically but absolutley no reason to call them out publicly.)

Now Mizzou is on the cusp of being left out with no conference to go to.

They dropped the ball on this one.

They went out of their way to make it known they were interested in going to the Big 10 sparking a reaction in Lincoln, Nebraska.  The Cornhuskers then also became interested in fleeing which raised some red flags down in the South.

Here's where it all goes wrong for Mizzou.

Once the Big 10 found out that Nebraska was open to moving, they were no longer interested in Mizzou.  They preferred having one of the more storied football programs in college sports over the potential TV markets that Mizzou could bring to the table.

They invited Nebraska to join the conference and now seem content with the 12 teams they have. (This could change if the Pac 10 goes to 16.)

As a result, Colorado then jumped ship to the Pac 10 and now it looks the entire South is going to leave as well.

After the Big 10 rescinded whatever "interest" they had in Mizzou, the leadership began claiming how "committed" they were to the Big 12.

Oh really? Because three months ago you were ready to throw the whole conference under the bus and jump ship as well.

To say how you have always in the Big 12's corner, is just blatant hypocrisy.  The higher ups at Mizzou realized they just messed up big time.

Once the rest of the Big 12 gained word that Mizzou might leave, they quickly began making back-up plans as to what they would do.

How else can you explain Colorado defecting to the Pac 10 immediately when the story broke Nebraska was going to leave?

How else can you explain the whole Big 12 South having plans in order to also leave for the Pac 10?

At lunch yesterday one of my friends compared it to Mizzou cheating on the rest of the Big 12.

Big 12: "Um Mizzou, we know you've been sneaking around our back with the Big 10."

Mizzou: "Umm, no I haven't."

Big 12: "Well how do you explain these picture of you making out with the Big 10."

Mizzou: "I've never seen those before."

Big 12: Hm, well we are now all leaving you for the something better in the Pac 10, good luck."

Yup, unless the possiblity of mega-conferences comes true, Mizzou can look forward to duking it out with the likes of BYU, Wyoming, and Air Force in the coming years.

Mizzou set of a chain reaction that has completely changed the landscape of college sports as we know it.

Now I'm not saying they are totally responsible for this mess, but for them to deny any wrongdoing or lie about how they never were interested in leaving the Big 12 is embarrassingly awful.

As a result of all this, the Big 12 essentially will die.  We are talking about one of the strongest conferences in college sports.

In football, year-in year-out, their programs are consistently in the top 10 playing for national championships.  Texas and OU are perennial powerhouses of the sport.

In basketball, the Big 12 was arguably the strongest conference last year give the 7 teams that made it to the tournament last year.

I don't even think it's a question the Big 12 is superior to the Big 10 in athletics. Given the Big 10's yearly disappointment in bowl games and the NCAA tournament, I would say it's not even an argument.

I've heard some people claim how the this is also about academics, how the Big 10 and Pac 10 will only take schools that are consistent with their academic standards.

Yeah, right.

I nearly threw someone across a table yesterday when they tried to claim this is why the Big 10 took Nebraska over us. (according to the USA Today, Nebraska is the 7th ranked Big 12 school academically, Mizzou is 8th.  Gimme a break.)

This is about one thing and that's money. Anyone who says different is buying into the political nonsense these administrators are trying to push.

While the Big 10 may be inferior in athletics, they bring home the bacon like no one else.  

The success of the Big 10 network is the real catalyst for why everyone wants to go there. Jim Delaney, president of the "Conference who gets their ass kicked every year in bowl games and has the most boring basketball to watch," should be hailed as a genius for making the Big 10 network happen.

Now all these schools are getting even more money with these TV contracts.  

No, Mizzou may not be totally responsible for the Big 12 debacle but this is the ultimate "grass is always greener" statement. 

The Big 12 was a powerhouse conference that by the end of the week will probably no longer exist.  

When you think about how successful the Big 12 has been as a conference over the past years, I think this is an unfortunate circumstance.

While they may try to run from this criticism, Mizzou can definitely sleep at night knowing they played a role in its downfall.

They made their bed to sleep in and know they have to lie in it.




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