Monday, June 14, 2010

Conference Expansion Insanity 101

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07: Fireworks explode prior to the Citi BCS National Championship game between the Texas Longhorns and the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
When money is the deciding factor for all major decisions…you get utter chaos.

If you would like a proper example of this “evil ailment,” look no further than conference expansion at the highest level of the college ranks.

When you build a house of cards and pull a single card from the middle, the entire house crumbles. When the PAC-10 decided to barge in and invite half of the Big 12 conference to join the PAC-10…all the cards began to fall.

The chaos that is conference expansion is obviously a developing story that changes faster than a diaper on a newborn baby.

What I hope to provide are the facts (VERY FEW), and some of the more credible rumors that have surfaced and continue to surface concerning this ever-changing situation.

The next 24-48 hours are considered vital due to several meetings that have been scheduled. One can only hope some sort of resolution and concrete decision will be reached by the middle portion of the week.

When money overrides tradition, and is the driving force behind vital decisions, chaos is the result. In my opinion those in favor of such radical change (PAC-10 trying to steal half of another conference) should be utterly ashamed.

True college athletics (especially college football) was based on tradition....not greed which sends “farm schools” to play on the California coast.

I'm not a geographical scholar, but Austin, Texas...Norman, Oklahoma...and Stillwater, Oklahoma (to name a few), have nothing to do with the ocean, and certainly should have nothing to do with the PAC-10.

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Here are the latest facts and the laundry list of scuttlebutt which now “plagues” this important issue.

-Colorado has joined the PAC-10.

-Nebraska has joined the Big Ten.

-Boise State has departed the WAC…and joined the Mountain West.

-The SEC has RULED OUT a “raid” of the ACC. The conference has said any additions to the league will not include any ACC schools…as once rumored.

-In a meeting on Sunday, Texas A&M turned down an invite to join the PAC-10. School officials are aggressively exploring all options.

-The PAC-10 is still making a strong push for Oklahoma and Texas. The league seems determined to gain “some” of the schools they were originally after when the expansion proposal was announced.

-Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe is making a push for all remaining Big 12 schools (10) to remain intact. Officials from five schools held a conference on Saturday to discuss the issue of reformatting the league with the remaining schools. Commissioner Beebe has been notified the league would only suffer an 8-10 percent decline in television with the departure of Colorado and Nebraska.

-The board of regents from Texas Tech and Texas plan to meet on Tuesday, and Oklahoma will have a board meeting on Wednesday, to discuss all options. As mentioned earlier, these meetings will “hopefully” provide major resolution by the middle portion of the week.

-The Mountain West Conference is taking a strong look at Kansas, Missouri, and Kansas State.

-Utah is a likely candidate to “fill out” the newly structured PAC-10 depending on what earlier “invites” decide. If "various" schools decline the PAC-10 offer, Utah would appear to be on the move.

-To expound on the above, the PAC-10 invited six specific schools, but expansion seems evident. The league will take other schools if not all the Big 12 “invites” accept.

-Texas A&M joining the SEC seems like a very “real” possibility. As mentioned earlier, the Aggies have declined the PAC-10, yet are not confident in respect to remaining a member of the Big 12. If the SEC adds a school (which is still very uncertain for many reasons) Texas A&M would be the prime choice at the moment.

-BREAKING NEWS: Late word (as of Monday afternoon) has Texas on the verge of making a solid commitment to REMAIN in the Big 12. In my opinion this is the BIGGEST news of all to this point. If Texas stays in the Big 12 (10)...the conference could remain a "solid" league.

Greed should NEVER be the main reason for change…yet here we are. The entire landscape of college football is being reshaped courtesy of a bunch of bad gardeners!

I say remember the great conference rivalries and the better days of college athletics. However, you may want to close your eyes while you remember, because the current view…is a muddy picture clouded in dollar signs.

Once again, this is an ever-changing story and I will do my best to keep a pulse on the situation. Stay close for updates and “hopefully”…concrete facts!

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