Colorado Starts The Chain ReactionPosted by jstevrtc on June 11th, 2010
Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-10 and Mountain West conferences and an occasional contributor.
Following yesterday’s whirlwind of activity surrounding the Big Ten, Pac-10 and Big 12, today was a relatively mild day. All that happened, was, you know, the first actual confirmed move of a school from a conference to another, as Colorado and the Pac-10 announced their agreement to have the Buffaloes begin play in the Pac-10 conference beginning in the 2012 academic calendar. While rumors continue to fly that five additional Big 12 teams will be invited to join the Pac-10 (at least that’s still the name of the conference right now) and that Nebraska and the Big Ten will formally announce their union tomorrow, the Colorado move is still the only move that is signed, sealed, delivered and announced.
Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott also mentioned on Thursday that his conference will not necessarily add any more teams after Colorado, a comment that is seen as little more than a smokescreen before further announcements come.
Beyond Colorado, the biggest news on the Big 12/Pac-10 front on Thursday was the news that the SEC (whom we referred to yesterday as “refreshingly silent”) is in very serious talks with Texas A&M as a second option for the Aggies, who aren’t enthralled about heading west. A&M athletic director Bill Byrne and regent Gene Stallings are leading the charge for the move to the SEC instead of the Pac-10, and the SEC seems ready to play ball as well, with the conference potentially interested in Virginia Tech as a 14th team. The SEC has also talked with Oklahoma about potentially moving to the conference, but OU AD Joe Castiglione confirmed that they would follow Texas, and Texas is simply not interested in the SEC.
The only news on the Missouri front is that university officials are being reminded to confirm that the university is a “proud member of the Big 12 Conference,” despite Missouri’s clear desire to become a proud member of the Big Ten Conference and leave the Big 12 behind. At this point, however, it is more likely that the Big 12 will leave Missouri behind than the other way around.
And, while we watch as the Big 12 slowly fades from existence, former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer envisions the same thing happening to the Big East. A lot of what he says makes sense, but more importantly, it is just further proof that absolutely no one in this process is paying a lick of attention to basketball. While it is very possible that the Big East as a football conference is headed toward extinction, it is still very unlikely — bordering on impossible — that there would not be at minimum a very strong Big East basketball-only conference going forward.
What’s Coming Next?
It is expected that tomorrow the Big Ten and Nebraska get hitched. Once that happens, the Pac-10 snatching up the best of the Big 12 is the next big move. It is unlikely that such an announcement will happen on Friday, although the writing will clearly be on the wall. The formal announcement could come early next week. However, before that happens, the Pac-10 will probably want to know exactly who the five additional Big 12 teams will be, so a deadline for Texas A&M to come to a decision could be put in place. If A&M opts for the SEC, suddenly it is possible that Kansas gets an invitation from the Pac-10, although breaking up Kansas and Kansas State would be borderline criminal. The other option, perhaps more likely than snagging the Jayhawks, is that rather than make any Big 12 team the 16th team in the Pac-10, the conference would reach out to Utah of the Mountain West and pull them in. These are the handful of question marks that remain in the Big 12/Pac-10 saga, and it is likely that they will be sorted out early next week.