NO DOUBTS ABOUT BIG 12'S FUTURE
Commissioner, in jovial mood, puts focus on league’s future
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’.”