Com­mis­sioner, in jovial mood, puts fo­cus on league’s fu­ture

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - KIRK BOHLS

IRV­ING — Dan Beebe had news, which is a good thing con­sid­er­ing he works for an or­ga­ni­za­tion that as re­cently as a month ago came close to not even ex­ist­ing.

Not only did the Big 12 com­mis­sioner have mild break­ing news for a league that was al­most com­pletely bro­ken into bits in June by raid­ing con­fer­ences like the Big Ten and the Pac-10, he also was in such good spir­its that he was all but au­di­tion­ing for a job on Com­edy Cen­tral.

For in­stance, he took a ques­tion about a pos­si­ble name change for the slimmed-down, 10- team league and cracked, “Yeah, I’m in com­mu­ni­ca­tion with (12team Big Ten) com­mis­sioner Jim De­lany now about a swap.”

It’s easy to un­der­stand why he was in such good hu­mor. He’s still got his job, the Big 12 still has 10 vi­able mem­bers, ne­go­ti­a­tions with the league’s Fox net­work fig­ure to be­gin next spring, the ad­di­tion of other pos­si­ble tele­vi­sion part­ners (like Turner and NBC/Com­cast) could drive up the price, and ev­ery­one’s happy.

OK, ev­ery­one’s re­lieved. It’s a start.

Which is why Beebe spent much of Tues­day’s ses­sion at Big 12 foot­ball me­dia days with house­keep­ing items.

He an­nounced the league will prob­a­bly play “at least one game and maybe more” in De­cem­ber as soon as 2011, in lieu of a con-

Con­tin­ued from C fer­ence cham­pi­onship game and to re­tain much-needed ex­po­sure for the Big 12. Thank­fully, Texas-Ok­la­homa will al­most cer­tainly not be one of those shifted games, be­cause a de­sire to pre­serve its tra­di­tional set­ting dur­ing a State Fair week­end in early Oc­to­ber.

De­tails of Colorado’s exit in fa­vor of the Pac-10 will likely be re­solved soon. Ex­pect the Buf­faloes to move on af­ter this sea­son, the same time frame as Ne­braska heads out the door for the Big Ten.

The Big 12 has no plans to ex­pand be­yond its 10-school mem­ber­ship. The havenots will have to be con­tent with Texas and Ok­la­homa earn­ing a dis­pro­por­tion­ate amount of money, al­though Beebe re­minded that noth­ing was changed in the by­laws to en­hance their fi­nan­cial ar­range­ments be­yond what’s al­ready in place.

Now it’s a mat­ter of curb­ing some wide­spread doubts about the league’s long-term sur­vival. That, too, hit a nerve with Beebe.

“I can say this over and over and over again, and I still see many of you writ­ing state­ments about not be­liev­ing that and this isn’t re­ally go­ing to hold to­gether,” Beebe said. “You’re go­ing to have to see it hap­pen over time. These de­ci­sions were made for the long term. I’m not sure what else we need to do. I guess we could get all the ath­letic di­rec­tors and board mem­bers up here and sing ‘Kum­baya’.”

We’re good.

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