When -- actually, I should say if -- Colorado and Nebraska pay an exit penalty for leaving the Big 12, it will put roughly $20 million in the conference kitty. But Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Iowa State and Missouri reportedly have agreed to give up their share of that money in order to fatten the pockets of the schools that were also threatening to leave. It`s a simple business practice, as American as apple pie. Want some protection? Give us your lunch money. We`ll make sure you are safe. My guess is that Beebe will be in line for a nice little bonus for this plan -- and of course, KU, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State will probably have to pay it.
The University of Colorado could save itself approximately $1.8 million by leaving the Big 12 Conference for the Pac-10 in 2011 instead of 2012, according to the formula governing such moves in the Big 12 bylaws.
And in the case of the Pac-10’s commendable but failed pursuit of Texas, I can’t help but wonder if the Longhorns manipulated the whole thing from the start … if athletic director DeLoss Dodds played everyone like a fiddle.
Gary Barnett, pictured above during happy times at Northwestern, has less than flattering things to say about... the school he left Evanston for. Talking about Colorado's departure for the Pac-10 on the Tony Bruno Show: "Truthfully, Colorado doesn't bring much to the table except probably the Denver TV market. When you look at football and basketball over the last four years, they've really been inept. They only have 16 sports. So the only thing it looks like to me, at this point in time, that you could really say Colorado and Utah bring is the fact you'll have 12 teams and probably have a conference championship game. But until Colorado turns around and is able to compete and contribute in that conference, that's about what you have is an even number that allows you to play a conference championship, I think."
Had CU remained in the Big 12, it would have been the same old story — a conference dominated by the Texas- Oklahoma axis in which the entire North Division played the role of the Washington Generals. Tom Osborne, running the best Big 12 North football program at Nebraska, recognized this and evacuated right after the Buffs did. It is as if CU woke up one morning and realized it was adopted. It looked around at its siblings in the Big 12 North and noticed it didn't look anything like them. No knock on small-town America, but if you were a ballplayer in a league consisting of Lawrence, Kan.; Manhattan, Kan.; Columbia, Mo.; Ames, Iowa; and Lincoln, Neb.; and you moved to a league consisting of two teams in Los Angeles and one each in Tempe, Ariz.; Tucson and Salt Lake City, you would probably figure you'd been called up to the big leagues.
The real winner of the expansion wars was Big Ten-bound Nebraska, not only athletically but academically. The losers were those who missed an opportunity to escape Texas' shadow. The Pac-10 isn't a loser. It still has some cards to play, doesn't it? Shouldn't it? It's difficult to fathom this great change in Pac-10 culture resulting only in the addition of Colorado and maybe Utah.
Larry Scott's vision of a 16-team Pac-10 may not have played out (yet), but by swinging for the fences, he made a statement the other conferences couldn't ignore.
We sometimes forget that football teams exist to bolster the mission of universities, not the other way around. And the Pac-16 offered stability, which the Big 12 cannot. The Big 12 did not go from dysfunctional league to hunky dory just by exorcising Nebraska and Colorado. Happy face could become happy trails. "I'm worried about the future," said a Big 12 administrator in a rare moment of truthfulness from a decision-maker.
Colorado could make its Pac-10 entrance sooner than later now that the Big 12's survival is ensured with 10 schools who want to be together.
Here's the way the story goes.Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe went into a war room and over a weekend convinced television networks to pony up hundreds of millions of dollars more than anyone believed possible, for a weakened football conference.And the University of Texas, which knows where every available dollar in collegiate athletics is stashed, suddenly said, "Wow"?Sorry. Don't buy it. The Pac-10 exodus of Big 12 South schools was derailed by Texas politics.Not network television money. Not a desire to revive a league on life support. Not even Texas' desire to squeeze even more concessions out of schools desperate to keep the Big 12 afloat.Texas politics. Governor Rick Perry and Austin legislators flexed their muscles.
ESPN is having the public rank the schools in the Big 12 and Pac 10 based on presige. Colorado ranks 18 out of 21 behind the likes of Kansas State, Oregon State, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech...go vote.
It should be worrisome to them that little more than a gentleman's agreement is holding this thing together, especially when it might be tough to get a show of hands for the number of gentlemen in the room, considering some of the barbs that have flown around the Big 12. Texas feels it is clearly in its best interests to follow this course and pursue its own Longhorn Network that could be worth millions, once the school gets past some staggering startup costs that could stretch as high as $30 million.