The Elephant in the Big 12 Room

A&M made it official today that they will be leaving the Big 12 which is actually only 10 teams and only a couple of them are really big but all of that is really beside the point. As I’m listening to sports radio and the local hub-bub, it’s fascinating to me some of the responses and questions I’m hearing. It’s almost as if these people are sharing a brain with Big 12 Dan Beebe.

Here is some of the ridiculousness I’ve heard today…

“Why would A&M leave the Big 12 to go get beat up in the SEC every year?”
I’ve got about 8 to 10 million reasons why. That’s how much more money a year they will make in the revenue sharing SEC than in the non-revenue sharing Big 12. Plus, a good year in the Big 12 means maybe the Cotton Bowl or Capital One Bowl. A good year in the SEC is the Sugar Bowl or potentially the BCS Championship Game.

“They will lose all of their recruits in Texas if they leave the Big 12.”
Are you serious? Your top-shelf athletes are going to stay and play in the Big 12 versus the SEC where they will play against NFL talent every week? They will choose the Big 12 – whose national champion contenders get manhandled every year – over the SEC where the last 5 national champions have come from? Don’t think so.

“It’s A&M fault that we are going through this whole re-alignment thing again.”
Are you sure about that? The “Texas” Network and the Texas greed in the Big 12 is what is killing the Big 12. Move the championship game to Dallas, move the headquarters to Texas, give Texas their own network, don’t share revenue because that would mean less money for Texas. Are you seeing a pattern? Who will stay for that?

One would think that after Nebraska and Colorado left, the lesson would be learned. It obviously hasn’t. Texas released a statement today saying they are behind the Big 12 all the way and are full supporters of the conference. Of course they are – no other conference would let them have their own network or let them be the one to stop revenue sharing.

“It’s okay, we will just get SMU, TCU, BYU, Notre Dame, Arkansas, or whoever else to take their place.

First, let’s get this straight. Notre Dame and Arkansas are NOT coming to the Big 12. That would be a dramatic pay cut as well as a dramatic step down in prestige. Neither is TCU who just joined the Big East or some other insignificant conference like that. BYU just committed to stay in Mountain West and you can pretty much count on that school keeping its word.

That leaves really only SMU and Houston in the mix. Does anyone really believe that SMU and Houston will be better for the Big 12 than Colorado, Nebraska, and Texas A&M? Accepting those teams would basically saying to the world – we are going to be the Big 2 + the Flat 10.

Bottom line – the Big 12 is in serious trouble and Don Beebe has yet to show he can lead in the complicated world of NCAA realignment.

Personally, I’m happy for A&M. They are going to fit in great in the tradition rich SEC if they end up finding themselves there. That makes the SEC West the murder’s row in football – Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Mississippi, and Texas A&M.

It will make our personal holidays a bit more tense as Amy is from a long line of Aggies. Her brother, her father, her uncle, her grandfather, and probably a few more generations after that as well are all from Aggieland.

Looks like our family will be a bastion of War Eagle, Gig ‘Em, and Roll Tide.

The best conference in football is about to get even better.


9 thoughts on “The Elephant in the Big 12 Room

  1. BYU is currently independent in football, but is keeping all of its options open (including going to the Big 12). It did not just commit to stay in the Mountain West Conference as you stated in this article, but, in fact, it left the MWC earlier this year. Many publications speculate that BYU is the most likely candidate to replace TAMU in the Big 12.


    1. So in football they are an independent but in basketball they are in the West Coast Conference. Interesting…

      Either way – BYU would be better than SMU or Houston.

      Wonder if all the religious schools should form their own conference – Notre Dame, BYU, TCU, SMU, Baylor, Wake Forest…who else?


  2. I see your wife or girlfriend is from aTm, so maybe that is coloring your opinion, but allow me to throw some fact your way: aTm was an okay team for a few years in the pre-WWII era. Since then, the only era they’ve been successful in was the mid-80’s through the mid-90’s, and then only because Jackie Sherrill was cheating and then got caught. Since then aTm has been a middle-of-the-road team until last year, when LSU pasted them in the Cotton Bowl. What about their record makes you think that you’re inheriting a powerhouse? Or a rival?
    Did you know Texas has beat them 2 out of 3 times? The way SEC fans think of Texas, how do you think they’ll do against the best in your conference?
    Also, you may not know that the Big 12 tied into the Fiesta Bowl. The Cotton Bowl is our #3 bowl, after the Holiday. Of course, with the BCS, Big 12 teams have been to the Orange, Sugar, and Rose as well. You may here want to cite our record in those games, and let me say that OU and Nebraska suck. Texas, however, is 1-1 in championship games, and the loss to Bama makes the all time record between Texas and them 1-7-1.
    Now you mention revenue sharing. In the Big 12, more $ goes to teams that win or make a lot of tv appearances (aka earn money). Now do you suppose that Nebraska, fresh of a MMC, or aTm, after running the SWC for a decade had a problem with that when they voted unanimously to join? It was only when Texas – and OU which actually made more $ than UT – began to return to dominance that it became a problem for them.
    Now, about the network. Did you know that the Big 12 allowed networks? That Texas has had this in the works for more than 4 years and have done it publicly, even inviting aTm into a joint network? Did you know that OU and KState are making their own networks? You call Texas greedy, but if ESPN offered Bama a chance at a $200 million network, what do you think that the university would say? No, I’m sure.

    Anyway, enjoy aTm. And their all male cheerleaders dressed like ice cream men. And their dog cult. And not walking on grass. And the corps. And the bats and crickets. And not blocking the scoreboard. And all the 10 million other stupid things the gaggies do. I know you will.


    1. Did you read the post at all?

      A&M is leaving because it can make more money in a more stable conference. The Big 12 non-revenue sharing system is just like the MLB. Long-term that is a recipe for disaster.

      Besides, if the system is so great why is OU and OSU now looking to leave? It appears that the only people that who don’t realize the system is broken are Texas fans.


  3. And aTm was one of the primary beneficiaries of that system. In 1995, when the league was formed, neither aTm nor Nebraska had an issue with it, because they were the dominant teams. Even after OU and Texas eclipsed them, they were still benefiting from it, along with Mizzou and Kansas. The income disparity was about $2 million, between the top team and the bottom team. Even Baylor said that that was an insignificant sum.

    Besides that, the revenue sharing rule could have been changed by a 75% vote, or 9-3, but the only time it was brought up it was never floored because they didn’t believe that they had close to 9 votes to change it. That alone destroys the argument that Texas was the problem. This year, they decided to increase the % shared among schools from 57% to 76% of earnings. This unequal revenue sharing may have been a problem for aTm and Nebraska, but if it was it was a recent one, and it was also popular with around half of the conference.

    The only gripe I ever heard from aTm about anything was last year they began shouting about a Big 12 network and how great that would be. This was after Texas announced the LHN and OU announced that they were starting a network, so the timing was a little off. Doubtless, aTm finally realized that they could not compete in the face of that and decided that they ought to leave. How a move to the SEC will help them achieve parity or financial equality with their conference schools is beyond me. Last year Bama made $120 million to Ole Miss’s $40 mil. Good luck to aTm on that one!

    Anyway, to me the big bad ‘unequal revenue sharing’ is a red herring. Nebraska and aTm benefited from it and couldn’t rally enough schools to overturn it, if they even wanted to, which they never really tried in the first place. I believe that the big problem is that the Big 12 had a money problem against the other conferences, aside from the Big East, and they’re making up PR excuses to escape a sinking ship. You mentioned Oklahoma and Okie State? Well first, Dodds at Texas and Joe Castiglione at OU have been in constant contact. Their plan is to go together wherever they go. But if aTm bolts, the Big 12 will collapse and teams will leave to save themselves. Since Texas may not be ready to give up the LHN, OU may go to the Pac-12 alone out of necessity. Texas and OU would like to keep the Big 12 around for at least another couple of years.

    And besides, the news today is that Baylor and some other schools are ‘holding aTm hostage’ to the Big 12, in the same way that many of us are held hostage by our marriage, or mortgage, payment plans, etc. That is to say, our contractual obligations.


    1. If all of that is true and it is such a huge benefit to stay in the Big 12, why has Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State all have either left or are looking to leave the Big 12? The burden of proof that the Big 12 system is viable is on themselves and they have failed at every point to prove that to the people it really matters to – the members of the Big 12 itself. That alone is proof that something isn’t right.


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