Football

Big 12 Realignment Roundup: Showdown with Oklahoma?

We round up some of the recent stories about a possible Big 12 expansion, including is Oklahoma headed to a showdown with the Big 12.

I had a few of these items pile up over the course of a few days and I wanted to link them all in one spot, for the discussion more than anything else.

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Up first is NewsOK’s Berry Tramel who looks at each Big 12 sport to determine if the “no-Sunday” policy for BYU is really that big of a deal. The result was that the revenue producing sports wouldn’t be affected, but it would affect the following:

The sports in which the Big 12 stages championships on Sundays are women’s basketball, baseball, men’s and women’s golf, outdoor track and field, women’s soccer and men’s and women’s tennis. That’s a healthy number of affected events.

The sports in which the Big 12 routinely schedules conference competition on Sundays are baseball, softball and women’s soccer.

Could the Big 12 adjust away from Sunday championships for BYU? Yes. Would it be a hassle? Yes. Would it be worth it? Well, I’d say yes, but that’s a conference decision that includes all kinds of things I don’t think about.

The baseball and softball as well as women’s basketball is a pretty big problem and I also would get how golf would be a problem as well, a three or four day tournament is problematic.

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ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Heather Dinich and Jake Trotter get their Q&A on in regards to what’s next for the Big 12 this summer. They look at pretty much everything, from possible candidates for expansion, like BYU, Cincinnati, Memphis and even Florida State as well as Oklahoma being the lead in all of the expansion discussin, thanks to David Boren being so vocal about expansion. Here’s a bit:

Dinich: Ah yes, and that all boils down to TV, the heart of the issue we can’t ignore. The Longhorn Network is a question mark and was at the crux of this conversation the last go-round. ESPN obviously has an interest in it, and what has changed from Texas’ perspective on it? The Big 12 needs to figure out, from a TV revenue standpoint, what is best for the league, period.

Rittenberg: But that strikes at the fundamental problem with the Big 12 — uneven revenue sharing. How many Big 12 schools really care what’s best for the league as a whole? Texas is going to look out for itself because the Big 12 has enabled it for years to do so.

Trotter: Which is why, as powerful as Boren’s voice seems, this really is about Texas. With a new president and new athletic director, would Texas be open to folding the Longhorn Network into a Big 12 television package?

Rittenberg: Jake is preparing a new career in comedy, I see.

Trotter: Ha. It might seem like a joke. But my guess is that Oklahoma will eventually look elsewhere if Texas sticks to its guns. The Big 12 will be mired in the status quo without a different Tier 3 TV system.

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And Tulsa World’s John E. Hoover writes that Boren and the Big 12 are headed for a showdown in the summer when the decision needs to be made regarding expansion:

Boren told The Oklahoman this week he had grown “frustrated” because the league was “spinning our wheels.”

“We cannot indefinitely postpone decisions,” he said, adding that he thinks “a consensus is forming around these three reforms.”

Time will tell. Boren also showed up in the news this week when the Cincinnati Enquirer published excerpts from emails between Boren and UC president Santa Ono.

“You are truly an outstanding leader and knowing that you are at the helm in Cincinnati makes me even more inclined to support your cause,” Boren said in a February 2015 email to Ono, adding that proponents of Big 12 expansion “still face an uphill battle with several of our other colleagues.”

Later in Monday’s report, in an exchange between Ono and former Kansas State president Jon Wefald, Ono was told by Wefald that “David is impressed with Cincinnati. … He knows that UC is a big-time school.”

All indications are that Boren’s other choice for expansion is BYU, though he won’t say, and he said he won’t let his personal choice logjam league-wide consensus.

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A few takeaways here:

  • I tend to side with Jake Trotter in that the likelihood is that the Big 12 will eventually do nothing, which will push Oklahoma to make a decision. I tend to see the Big 12 as bein g reactionary rather than progressive and they seem stuck on arguing over who to add.
  • I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone state exactly what Boren’s preferences are, but they appear to be Cincinnati and BYU, although from reading Hoover, he can be swayed one way or another.
  • The idea of poaching someone form the ACC sounds good in theory, but I don’t think it’s likely.
  • I think the likely scenarios are all ones that we’ve considered, which are Cincinnati, Memphis, BYU and you can throw in the Florida schools, South Florida and Central Florida.
  • We talk all the time about adding demographics and eyeballs, but someone brought up that Rutgers and Maryland don’t exactly scream eyeballs, which I agree. And Rutgers is one of the worst Power Five programs around. And I don’t really believe that Rutgers is adding the New York or New Jersey market. I don’t know that anyone watches Rutgers.
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