Pac-10 Commish Denies Wednesday Utah Presser

CSNBayArea.com reported Tuesday evening:

Pac-10 Commissioner Denies Wednesday Utah Announcement

The Pacific-10 Conference will extend an invitation to the University of Utah to become the league’s 12th team, Comcast SportsNet has learned exclusively from sources close to the situation.

A press conference is expected to formalize the announcement on Wednesday.

Following the CSNBayArea.com report, Lya Wodraska of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE reported that Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott denied that a Wednesday announcement was forthcoming: Read more…

June 1: Big 12 Commish Trashed Big 10, Pac-10

A confidential white paper obtained by Andy Staples of the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED via the Freedom of Information Act shows that Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe foresaw - as early as June 1 - that the Big Ten and Pac-10 could attempt to raid his conference.

Dan Beebe trashed Big 10, Pac-10 In Defense Of Big 12 conference

In a document dated June 1 and sent by the commissioner to top officials at each Big 12 school, Beebe outlined why it was in the best interest of those schools to remain in Beebe’s conference.

The paper reveals that part of Beebe’s plea to Big 12 membership involved disparaging the Big Ten and Pac-10.

Read more…

Big 12 To Pac-10 On CU: You Invite It, You Own It

Here’s some Tweets I posted Sunday morning about the prospect of the Pac-16:

Utah to the Pac-10

If you asked the man who runs the Big 12, Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds, if he’d take back Colorado at this point - without Nebraska - wonder what he’d say?

For the uninformed, that’s a rhetorical question.

Now, what’s my basis for Utah joining the Pac-10?

Read more…

Two Secret Weapons Blowing Apart The Big 12

With the Big 12’s demise now seemingly imminent, what caused such a powerful college sports player to collapse almost overnight?

Kevin Weiberg Chris Bevilacqua

(Kevin Weiberg and Chris Bevilacqua)

It wasn’t just the defection of the Nebraska. In fact, it probably has more to do with two guys you never heard of than anything that’s been reported in the past week.

The prospect of an increased annual television payout from Fox is what first led Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds to meet with Pac-10 officials three weeks ago in Austin to discuss a possible exodus of Big 12 schools to the Pac-10.

So where did that new television plan come from? Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott certainly had something to do with it, but the magnet that is the Pac-10 for Texas is more about two Scott hires than the commissioner himself. Read more…

NFLer, Son Of Texas A&M Chancellor: Opinionated

Appears we’re hitting the home stretch this week on conference realignment involving the Big 12, SEC and Pac-10.

Son of A&M Chancellor Seth McKinney is rather opinionated

Lots of conjecture in the press today about how politics is playing a role in what Texas and Texas A&M will do in that regard. But the biggest political mover and shaker, Texas Governor and A&M alumnus Rick Perry, is most likely not directly involved in the discussions.

Why? He’s in China.

From the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN:

China has invited the world to the Shanghai Expo, hoping it will be the largest world fair ever. Texas is responding by paying $425,000 to sponsor ‘Texas Week’ at the USA Pavilion. As tourists are exposed to Texas-style entertainment, Perry and a delegation of business leaders want to expose Chinese companies and officials to the benefits of buying from or building in Texas. Two members of Austin-area chambers of commerce also will make the trip.

That isn’t to say that Perry won’t have influence on what the Aggies and Longhorns end up doing, but you would think his location could minimize his impact on the discussion. Ironic considering Perry appointed each and every member of the Texas A&M and Texas Board of Regents.

One such appointment was Dr. Michael McKinney, the Chairman of the A&M Board of Regents and Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. McKinney, who once served as Perry’s Chief of Staff, has a son named Seth who played football at A&M and currently is with the Buffalo Bills.

Turns out can be rather opinionated on the subject of A&M’s conference affiliation.

Read more…

Texas A&M: No SEC Invite, No 72-Hour Deadline

Chuck Carlton of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS has this Saturday:

Texas A&M fan

Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott was en route from Colorado to the states of Texas and Oklahoma with invitations in hand, a source familiar with the process confirmed.

If the Aggies cannot commit, the Pac-10 is prepared to invite Kansas with its great basketball tradition. While the Jayhawks are desperate to find a landing spot, they would have to leave in-state rival Kansas State, a political problem.

Meanwhile Kirk Bohls of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN reports that Texas A&M does not have an official invitation to join the SEC but does have a “firm” invite from the Pac-10.

Texas A&M does not have a firm invitation to join the Southeastern Conference and may not receive one at all, a very highly-placed school official at one of the Big 12 schools expected to leave for the Pac-10 Conference no later than Tuesday told the Statesman on Saturday afternoon.

“They don’t have an offer,” said the high-profile figure, who is heavily involved in these conference realignment negotiations. “They do not have an offer. They can’t.”

The school official said, “I don’t think they are risking anything (by A&M’s indecisiveness), not if they’re looking (at the SEC).”

He confirmed that is because A&M knows it has a solid invitation to join the Pac-10 along with Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott is in the process of visiting those Big 12 schools between now and Tuesday when the board of regents for Texas and Texas Tech meet in separate meetings.

“He’s trying to hit everybody,” the source said of Scott. “He’s among some of the schools now. He won’t be here on Tuesday.”

If A&M were to try to secure an invitation to the SEC, the source said the Pac-10 would seriously consider Kansas.

When asked today by the ASSOCIATED PRESS if the Pac-10’s Scott was indeed en route to Austin, Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds said, “could be.

How much time will the Pac-10 give A&M to make an affiliation decision? Read more…

Out In The Cold? Panic Officially Sets In At Kansas

Lee Barfknecht of the OMAHA WORLD-HERALD reported yesterday, “two Big 12 sources confirmed to The World-Herald that last week Nebraska and Missouri were given a drop-dead date — this Friday afternoon — to commit to the Big 12. Nebraska, with a Board of Regents meeting this weekend, asked for a delay into the week of June 14-18.

Lew Perkins as Luca Brasi

(Lew/KU’s Conference To Sleep With The Fishes?)

Nebraska’s decision on conference affiliation reportedly could trigger six schools bolting from the Big 12 to the Pac-10. Those half-dozen schools reportedly don’t include Kansas.

If you want to take the temperature of Kansans on that matter, Topeka Capital-Journal columnist Kevin Haskin provides a significant sample today:

Calling all politicians.

Pat Roberts, Sam Brownback, Kathleen Sebelius, Mark Parkinson … anyone with any connections whatsoever. Be it a regent, congressman, mayor, board chairman, entertainer or evangelist.

The time is now to get involved on behalf of Kansas and Kansas State.

Find a phone number or address for Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman and rehearse a persuasive plea.

PLEEEESE! Do not abandon longtime partners you’ve competed against, and cajoled with, since helmets were made of leather.

While the dynamics of conference realignment are all about football, the shaky future of the Big 12 is more than just an athletics matter for KU and K-State.

If the Wildcats and Jayhawks are no longer competing in the big-time — repeat, rinse, repeat: B-C-S — virtually anything at K-State and KU could be affected. Adversely.

Both would still strive to be exemplary universities, retain great faculty, conduct breakthrough research and graduate sharp, promising professionals.

But enrollment could decline, perhaps significantly. Without as much sports exposure — be it daily on ESPN updates or over the course of a team schedule through television opportunities — the universities lose invaluable branding.

Embattled Kansas Athletic Director Lew Perkins strikes a similar tone on the subject:

“The most important thing for the University of Kansas and for college athletics is expansion. That’s it.

“If I said I wasn’t worried, I’d be a fool. I am worried every day — not only about Kansas and the Big 12, but for the Pac-10, the Big Ten. … This is serious, serious, serious stuff. I am concerned.”

Then there’s the most powerful man in Kansas, Jayhawks basketball coach Bill Self: Read more…

Report: Pac-10 Offers Invites To 6 Big 12 Schools

Chip Brown of Yahoo Sports site Orangebloods.com reports Thursday afternoon:

Texas Cheerleaders at the Rose Bowl

(Many happy returns?)

… it appears the Pac-10, which has its meetings in San Francisco starting this weekend, is prepared to make a bold move and invite Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado to join its league, according to multiple sources close to the situation.

Left out would be Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska and Missouri.

Brown reports the Pac-10 would then split the conference into two divisions:

The six teams from the Big 12 would be in an eight-team division with Arizona and Arizona State. The other eight-team division would consist of USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State.

With the newly-expanded conference, Brown reports the 16-team league would assemble a television network that could potentially mean $20 million per school in annual revenue. That number would more than double the annual net income accrued by current Big 12 and Pac-10 schools.

Also noted is Fox Sports TV’s prime position to partner with the possible 16-team league.

Brown:

An invitation from the Pac-10 will be hard for the six Big 12 schools being targeted not to consider. Why? Because Fox Cable Networks (a division of News Corporation), which serves as the chief operating partner of the successful Big Ten Network, appears ready to make the Big 16 Network happen.

Fox is the chief television partner of the Pac-10 currently, and its subsidiary Fox Sports Net currently holds the rights to the Big 12 cable package, which comes up for bid in the spring of 2011. The Pac-10 also has television deals with Fox up for re-bid at the same time.

This is so cool! (At least for those of us in L.A.)

Though there’s one not-so-small catch to the whole darned thing: The University of Texas.

Orangebloods.com is a site dedicated to Texas athletics and it isn’t a coincidence, in my opinion, that Brown buries the lede of his Pac-10 expansion story as it pertains to the Longhorns: Read more…

With 12-Pac, Cougars Should Be Attractive Enough

There’s nothing to wonder about Pac-10 expansion. If it happens, it’ll be BYU and Utah. Perhaps the conference could interest another school of similar stature to join the league, but unless that school is Texas, it won’t unseat BYU.

Cougar

(Or a mere 40 of OE in this case)

From a competitive, financial and logistical perspective, there’s not enough financial upside a non-BYU school could provide to not go Cougs and Utes. Especially considering the state of Utah’s ultimate trump card - as noted today by SALT LAKE DESERET NEWS columnist Dick Harmon.

Harmon observed today that if the Pac-10 tries to claim Utah but not BYU for its league, the Utah Governor Gary Herbert has legal precedent that could block the move.

Read more…