By Tyler Alley
With the Pac-12’s decision to not expand, the Big 12 is once again stable and looking to remain that way.
“We are pleased that the Presidents of the Big 12 institutions have come together this evening to re-commit themselves to our heartland conference,” president Ken Starr said in his statement. “Our efforts are now focused on working together to make the Big 12, for the long-term, one of the strongest athletic conferences in the nation.”
The Big 12’s stability comes with a casualty, as commissioner Dan Beebe has agreed with the conference board of directors to step down.
“The Big 12 Board of Directors has reached a mutual agreement with [Beebe] that he will leave his position effective today,” Big 12 Board of Directors chair Brady J. Deaton said in a statement. “We sincerely thank Dan who has always demonstrated a total commitment to what is in the best interest of the Big 12 Conference.”
“I have been honored to serve the Big 12 Conference for the past eight and one-half years, including the last four-plus as its commissioner,” Beebe said in a statement. “I care deeply for these fine institutions and the citizens they represent. It is satisfying to know the Big 12 Conference will survive…I wish the Big 12 a long and prosperous future.”
Former Big Eight commissioner Chuck Neinas will serve as interim commissioner.
Now that it seems the chaos is nearing an end, it’s time to clear up some misconceptions surrounding Baylor’s role in everything.
“To be clear, Baylor’s position is that we reserve our rights,” vice president of marketing John Barry said. “That’s it. Baylor never sued anyone. Baylor never threatened to sue anyone.”
Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin has said that he was not happy with the commitment of certain Big 12 schools following an agreement between the Big 12 and the SEC saying the former conference would not sue the latter.
However, the agreement said nothing about individual schools suing the SEC. Baylor’s decision to not waive their legal rights had nothing to do with that agreement.
Also, there has been a misconception surrounding the Aggie’s exit. It is widely believed that the Aggies could simply pay their exit fee and leave.
To simplify this, imagine a stack of 10 cups. The popular belief is that Texas A&M could simply pay their fee and take their cup right off the top of the stack. However, if Texas A&M’s cup is at the bottom, then the whole stack falls apart.
That is essentially the problem the Big 12 ran into when the Aggies decided to leave. After A&M’s decision, Oklahoma and Texas both had meetings discussing a move to the Pac-12, with Oklahoma State and Texas Tech accompanying them. Missouri was also rumored to head to the SEC.
There were a number of “doomsday scenarios” for the remaining Big 12 schools, the most prominent being a merger with the remaining Big East schools, as their conference is also having issues with schools leaving.
The Pac-12 decided Tuesday to not invite those four schools, citing geographic reasons along with satisfaction of their current television deal.
With the schools reestablishing their commitment to the Big 12, Baylor nation can breathe a deep sigh of relief.
“We are greatly encourages by the excellent work being done to stabilize and strengthen the Big 12,” athletic director Ian McCaw said.
“The actions taken this evening, pay tribute to the needs of student-athletes and their families, and preserve the storied historic rivalries so valued by our alumni and the citizens of our states,” Starr said.
The Big 12 is now looking at possible expansion, whether to just replace Texas A&M or reach 12 schools again. Some of the speculated schools include BYU, TCU, Louisville, West Virginia and Cincinnati.