According to a story filed late last night by the Kansas City Star’s Mike DeArmond, Missouri isn’t ready to commit to the Big 12 and still considers a move to the SEC as an option.
At issue is a proposal to have the nine remaining Big 12 schools agree to a deal in which all first- and second-tier media revenues would be committed to the league for equal distribution. This would include all revenues from the league’s television contracts with ABC/ESPN (first tier) and Fox Sports (second tier). Texas’ Longhorn Network is a third tier and would not be included. The deal would last for six years, whether the institutions are members of the Big 12, or not.
That means your TV revenues belong to the conference even after you decide that Texas’ behavior is simply too toxic and you decide to abandon ship for a better conference.
The last two years have been a bloodbath for the Big 12, with Nebraska bolting to the Big 10 and Colorado joining the Pac-12 last year, Texas A&M leaving for the Southeastern Conference for next season, and Commissioner Dan Beebe losing his job over the instability and uncertainty regarding the future of the conference.
Reports of an agreement having been reached yesterday led to many observers believing that the conference realignment carousel had finally stopped spinning and that the Mizzou move to the SEC was dead. Not so fast, says the Voorhesian Tiger program. There are several quotes in DeArmond’s report that should raise some eye brows:
“We either stick in the Big 12 because everything came about the way it needs to, the right way, with all the differences being settled in Missouri’s favor,” a university administrator who asked not to be identified told The Star on Thursday night. “But what are the odds of that happening?
“The other option is to join another conference and I believe that is something that we’re very open to.”
When asked about the SEC, Deaton said that was another hypothetical and he wouldn’t elaborate further.
Asked if the SEC was still in play, the administrator, who contacted The Star, said: “You will not look stupid by insinuating that.”
Asked again if Deaton was prepared to make a statement that Missouri would remain in the Big 12 for the foreseeable future, Deaton said:
“The University of Missouri is going to continue to work for what is best for the University of Missouri.
“We have seen that aligned with the Big 12 Conference.”
The Missouri administrator who asked not to be identified told The Star that Deaton’s statement should be construed as less than an unconditional commitment to the Big 12 at this time.
A lot of people are taking heat over their reporting in the conference realignment shuffle. It’s a lot like a national coaching search at a top-tier university, where many big-name candidates are in play, each with varying and shifting degrees of interest in the program and vice versa. What is true at the time it’s reported may not be true less than one rotation of the earth later, and things no one had on their radar screens are suddenly on your six and getting a weapons lock.
In this blogger’s opinion, the only two ways this all comes to an end is if the Big 12 completely disintegrates and its former members drift off into new alliances, or Texas comes to its “good of the whole” senses and agrees to share a significant portion of the LHN revenues with the league and agrees to restrictions on how it uses it for recruiting.
Until one of those two things take place, Jason lives.