The Big 12 is a mess

On Thursday of last week, the Tulsa World’s John E. Hoover spoke with Oklahoma president David Boren. It’s a lengthy Q&A and Boren says, that the Big 12 isn’t viable and that he’s all for expansion and that the Big 12 needs a Big 12 Network. That’s the summary and it is the most strongly worded statement from a president that all but says yes, the Big 12 should expand:

“So I think coupled with the playoff (championship) game, we really, really need to seriously get focused on getting expansion accomplished at the same time—at least two more schools—and we need to get the Big 12 network stood up, and that means dealing with the Longhorn Network. We have a Sooner Network, but of course we were very willing, for the good of the conference, to make sure that can be folded in in a way that’s not disadvantageous to us financially. We’re certainly willing for Texas to have some compensation. But we need to be willing to get all three of those things done, and I think trying to do them separately is not wise. I think we really ought to push for a comprehensive solution right now when the board gets together in February.”

Boren doesn’t address which programs he thinks would be willing to add, but fellow Oklahoma columnist Dave Sittler provided what he thought was the list:

That’s right, it’s the same programs that we’ve all discussed here and other places. There’s nothing new or even even remotely original about the list. I think it’s interesting as heck that BYU is last on the list and would like to see Houston moved further down the list. Here’s Sitler’s thoughts on BYU, they are a prima donna:

And in the realm of things that I don’t think would ever happen:

I think those last two tweets are Sittler spit-balling more than anything else and the question about why Houston is that high is because of politics. I’m not a fan, but the Cougars very well could force their way into the Big 12 politically, which I’m of the opinion that Houston doesn’t add any value to the Big 12, has problems filling up their stadium and just aren’t on par with what I somewhat expect from a Big 12 program. And this has nothing to do with the Cougars having a heck of a year on the gridiron this year. They were fantastic. Seriously, but this isn’t about football, it’s about markets.

And it’s clear that Boren has dead-set in his sights the Longhorns and their network. It’s the same problem that this conference has always had, a conference member unwilling to get along with others. I really don’t know that Boren’s long-play here is for the Big 12 to really add anyone, but it’s to move themselves in the long run. There are apparently standing invites for both Kansas and Oklahoma to the Big Ten. I know, you’re probably yelling at me about Kansas, but they make a ton of money in basketball and that’s the draw. Yes, they don’t have a terrific market, but they are a regional follow and a national name in basketball. People pay attention to them.

One way or another, I think this eventually gets into a situation where Oklahoma bolts if the Sooners can’t get the Big 12 to expand, basically arguing that the rest of the Big 12 wasn’t acting in good faith and then we’re all scrambling for the best possible landing spot. This conference has imploded. UT doesn’t care because they’ll always be okay and it’s the other institutions that would be scrambling for spots. This isn’t to say that I think Texas Tech is in danger of being in the Southland conference, but I’m never confident about situations like this.

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