On September 22nd, KU released a statement reading in part: "Tonight, nine members of the Big 12 Conference affirmed their solidarity and agreed to measures that will ensure the stability of the conference moving forward.”
So… this is official? Finally, officially official?
Because to be honest, I tuned out awhile ago. And I know that’s not something that an ‘in-touch‘ sports writer should say, but let’s be honest… this whole situation has been insufferable.
A month or so ago, midwestern collegiate sports fans, radio and television sports reporters and probably even your neighbor’s landscaper’s nephew started the world’s biggest game of ‘telephone‘ that anyone has ever seen.
Oh, you remember ‘telephone,’ right? You take a group of people– usually kids, because this game is meant to teach them the perils of miscommunication– and you give the first kid a sentence with a little bit of length to it.
“My father Stephen enjoys eating grapes on Tuesdays with some guys he knows in a KISS cover band.”
The first kid tells the second– whispering and giggling into the other kid’s ear, of course– and the second tells the third and so on.
By the time it gets to Johnny at the end of the circle, he’s got something like: “Al Qaeda operatives have taken the port city of Corpus Christi and they’re stealing everyone’s Clint Black cassettes.”
And that’s kinda how this whole mess has felt.
At various points throughout talk of the breakup, I’ve heard the following:
- Missouri was/is heading to the SEC
- Texas A & M was/is heading to the SEC
- BYU was/is joining the Big 12
- TCU was/is joining the Big 12
- KU, K-State and/or _____ were headed to the PAC 12
- Texas is/was begging for ACC acceptance
- Texas A & M and Texas are going to physically consume Baylor, turn it into one giant Super-School called Taylor A & M, and start their own conference, where their only opponent is… wait for it… Taylor A & M!
With various social media outlets bursting at the seams with millions of crackpots, conspiracy theorists and outright liars, the landscape of media has become a frightening one where anyone with a Mac and $15 to waste on an internet connection can become an expert. What’s even scarier is that all of the misinformation being bandied about wasn’t just from nut-jobs sounding off on message boards. It was being reported as ‘absolute truths’ by local KC sports hacks on Twitter and Facebook. ESPN has even gotten into the act, reporting rumors and ‘maybes.’ The lack of accountability has become epically bad.
But shockingly, in a move that wasn’t a move at all, nothing has happened.
Oh sure, Colorado and Nebraska are still gone (old news), Texas is still greedy (duh) and Dan Beebe is out (and I’m still calling him ‘Don’ in casual conversations, thereby sullying the good name of the 1990’s Buffalo Bills special teams standout).
THIS JUST IN: It appears that A&M maybe/might/could officially join the SEC. Per Kevin Kietzman’s Twitter page (@kkwb) “It will be sooo much better for A M in Southeastern Conference!!! Bye bye.”
This was posted at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning. I hope he’s right. Doesn’t it get old being wrong?
Do yourself a favor– google ‘Texas A&M joins SEC?’ and be prepared for your head to explode. From what I can tell, some message board for Mexican soap operas first posted the news on September 9th. It was picked up as fact and spread around like a particularly nasty case of herpes. By September 13th, ESPN was confirming an invite, but stating that lawsuits from other members of the conference were pumping the brakes on the deal. Now, it appears that maybe/possibly/kind of, the deal is back on.
In the end, it’s truly hard to believe that all is well in Whoville, however, and that this just isn’t something along the lines of last year’s shakeup. It’s not quite “Band-Aid on a hatchet wound” bad, but I have a hard time believing that I’ll be able to take my son to a Big 12 basketball tournament someday down the road (note to self: make son first). As long as the athletic departments of the Texas’ of the world continue to be these monsters of capital, viciously consuming television contracts and leaving Baylor’s and K-State’s in their wake, nothing feels safe in such a ‘watch-your-back’ kind of conference.
(EDIT: As of press time, it appears that Texas A&M HAS officially accepted an offer to join the SEC, effective next July. It finally appears one of the million rumors has come to fruition. Way to go, guys!)