Leftridge: Despite What the Internet Told You, Big 12 is Still a Thing

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!)

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11 Responses to Leftridge: Despite What the Internet Told You, Big 12 is Still a Thing

  1. Bubba says:

    Can anyone explain EXACTLY why are all these schools are jumping conferences? I understand it has to do with money, but how much more money? what else? WHY? Will it turn into one super big nationwide conference with every school in it? WHY NOT? Why is bigger better? Has anyone read any good arilce that explain these mergers?

    Shouldnt the NCAA itself step in and make sure the whole thing doesnt explode? Should the NCAA be in charge of the whol thing, decide who and where conferences lines should be drawn like MLB decides who is in the AL central or NL west ? WHY NOT?

  2. Hearne Christopher says:

    This is maybe the best question / comment I’ve read (and wondered about as well) on the subject. And nobody’s really answered it yet.

    So MU, Texas or Oklahoma join the Pac 12 or SEC. Doesn’t that dilute the pot for the teams already in?

    OK, the answer I was given by the Illustrious Will Gregory was that bringing St. Louis and KC into the other conference TV-wise, they’d get a sweeter deal. But when? When their current deal is up in however many years or right away?

    And would that be sweeter than the money the teams already will get by being in the Big 12?

    Guess I just don’t quite fully get it

  3. harley says:

    mu wants the millions in research and grant money they would get with the big 10. Thats worth millions.
    MU wants to get away from the big 12 in a big way…they are a superior university than kansas/k state and
    Iowa state. MU is just a more intellectual system than the other in the big 12. They are investing millions to
    upgrade their universities and their ability to attract millions/billions in reasearch and developement money.
    Bascially they have decided to upgrade their brand. Just like texas a and m did. TAMU had no national brand
    to speak of. Felt they would be better served in the sec. Thats their opinion.
    MU realizes that athletics only take you so far. That to be a world class university that it takes other revenue sources
    from other areas outside of athletics. Moving to the big 10 would make that happen. Watch for the huge upgrade
    going to happen for nebraska…they’ll be in line for money outside athletics…and as states cut edu cation budgets
    money from other sources is badly needed by the universities.
    MU will evnetually head to the big 10. I predicted it would happen and it will when hell breaks loose.
    MU wants to step up from the ku/kstate/i state/big 12 schools and will do it soon.
    As I said a year ago…its not a matter of where….its a matter of when they leave. They are ready to
    And once the big 9/10/11/12 or whatever loses 2 huge tv markets….its basically over.
    As far as mu leaving the big 12 and the bball tournament being held in kc…you can forget that..
    the big texas schools will kill having a tournament in a state that isnt part of the league.
    Its like the big 12 tournament being held in omaha…won’t happen~
    Once the dust settles this will all work out for mu…maybe not so good for ku and kstate…but now
    it’s each school for themselves.

  4. Hearne Christopher says:

    Some very interesting takes and perspective, thank you.

    Hoiwever, I would like to hear it reported out in more specific form. With experts explaining why somehow there is more grant and/or research money available to individual schools in one conference versus another.

    In the TV deals for sports, it’s easy to see that adding a school to a present contract might dilute the other school’s shares. But when the contracts are renegotiated they’d be increased to reflect say adding KC and St. Louis viewers because of MU. But wouldn’t MU benefit from that in whatever conference they are in?

    And how is it exactly – again without diluting its resources – that the Big 10 can add significantly to MU’s educational coffers where the Big 12 can’t. I’d like to see that explained.

    I do see that playing a sexier array of larger schools in conference play could make for larger paydays. MU playing Michigan and certain other school in the Big 10, for example, is sexier than playing Iowa State, K-State or Baylor, I suppose.

  5. Yankee says:

    Follow the money man
    “why somehow there is more grant and/or research money available to individual schools in one conference versus another.”

    🙂 I am glad hearne is on the case here, we will get our answer. Thank hearne for you interest, I would really like to know and listening to a frothing at the mouth MU nut job, or the same crazed type from KU is not going get the answer.

    There is ALWAYS a “producer”, just like in the movies, there is ALWAYS a money man/woman behind the scenes pushing for this type of change, and if we could find them we could find the answer, and I betting it not “grants” which are impossible to get in the BIG 12.

    Ws Don Beebbe really a pro Teaxas shill? Will things be better now that he is leaving? What really happened there? Should he be waterboarded?

    I do think that Texas is poisening the well with thier greedy TV network thing, although I have heard it is not exactly taking off big time. When one is part of a family conference one shares with family, and Texas being the typical Texas greedy fuckwads does not make for good family.


    Fuck Texas, FUCK EVERYONE FROM TEXAS, FUCK AUSTIN, FUCK DALLAS ,FUCK THE STAELINE, FUCK ARMADILLOS, FUCK TEXAS nonBBQ, FUCK EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS,,,…… JUST IN CASE I DIDNT SAY IT…FUCK TEXAS….and I felt that way Loooooooonnnngg before they fucked up my Big 8 conference, and long before they started being assholes with the TV network thing came along…. F U C K T E X A S … I HATE THAT STATE, FOR ALL I CARE TEXAS SHOULD BECOME PART OF MEXICO

    /frothing at the mouth


  6. Hot Carl says:

    That Dan Beebe is one ugly motherfucker. What’s with the giant cocoa puff on his cheek?

  7. Super Dave says:

    Ok Hearne what if
    Hearne we will never be told the truth you can bet on that. Some how it’s all about the money but they never explain it so we understand it and one has to wonder.

    But if NCAA was to really get into it I agree with Bubba they will split the contry into zones and that is the end of that and maybe not a bad idea either.

    Interesting point to me in all this is how if you are going to sell a licensed NCAA item you have to go through this huge ass approval process to be able to sell it. Now it does not make any difference what conference the team is in but in the end NCAA has final say so.

    So to me why does the NCAA not do the same TV deal for all the schools and put an end to the conference jumping based on the better TV deal crap.

  8. Bubba says:

    tell me too
    “”So to me why does the NCAA not do the same TV deal for all the schools and put an end to the conference jumping based on the better TV deal crap.””

    GREAT QUESTION…. Please tell me too… I wonder why?

  9. Rainbow Man says:

    Greatest Blunders
    15 years ago…. No one ever thought Network News and Newspapers would fail…. As they bloated arrogantly out of control.

    While the rest of America is in a state of economic nervousness, AD’s and Coaches across the land are spoiled crybabies who are taking their ball and bailing on century old relationships. Yes… where is the loyalty? They are no different than a short term CEO who sells out to jack up a stock price and walks away from a destroyed company with millions. Geographic rivalries, and driveable game venues are crucial.

    What we can expect more of if this conference consolidation keeps going…

    1. More talent shifting to the Mid Majors. Kids want to play near home.. Always did. Schools like Tulsa, Ohio, Bowling Green will flourish. You will start seeing more NFL top round picks from these schools.

    2. More boring mandatory matchups with no local fan interest. Colorado versus Oregon State anyone? Texas A&M vs Kentucky? Nebraska vs. Purdue?

    3. NCAA soccer attendance will start eclipsing football in some schools in the next 15 years.

    4. The MU KU thing is not hatred. It is good natured and a lot of fun. Yes there are some freaks, but the rivalry is very good for KC. If that rivalry goes away, it may kill part of the KC sports radio market.

    5. Payroll will go down for ADs and coaches because the Televisionization of D1 will homogenize behaviors nationwide. No more local influence. Boosters will lose importance. Hell… the mega conferences may start governing coaches salaries.

    6. Notre Dame Football will not join a conference. Notre Dame understands two things. A. Protecting prestige. B.The Notre Dame Degree matters more than football. Yes… they do feel that way.

    7. The increased travel obligations will totally strain the smaller sports programs at the universities.

  10. Brandon Leftridge says:

    Very nice points, Rainbow Man, et al. You guys posed a lot of good questions and provided some awesome insight. A pleasant respite from the typical juvenilia that haunts these boards.

    Now queue the ass-hat with the matriarchal anal-rape comments in: three, two…

  11. Rick says:

    I agree Brandon
    I tuned out some time ago with all this Big 12 junk. wake me up when something happens.

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