Finally Official: Missouri to Depart Big 12 For SEC

Posted by dnspewak on November 7th, 2011

As thousands of fans chanted “M-I-Z, S-E-C” during the SEC’s official welcoming reception at the University of Missouri on Sunday afternoon, it was apparent that the MU crowd had no qualms with leaving the Big 12 behind. The Tigers are off to the SEC — league commissioner Mike Slive certainly sounded happy about it, as did MU chancellor Brady Deaton. But what about the Big 12 offices? We’re guessing the reaction isn’t quite as celebratory there.

Missouri Fans Were Excited to Leave the Big 12 Today

Yes, the league has moved on. Despite its legal situation with the Big East, West Virginia looks like a good bet to replace Missouri at some point, and the Mountaineers’ athletics are more than comparable to MU’s. However, losing Missouri is still a blow to the league both geographically and academically. Columbia, Missouri, is in the heart of Big 12 country; Morgantown, West Virginia, not so much. It’s a long plane ride out there, that’s for sure. You could even use the term “misfit.” Academically, MU is ranked significantly higher than West Virginia in various college publications. MU is an AAU member; West Virginia is not.

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Big 12 Morning Five: 10.19.11 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on October 19th, 2011

  1. Looks like Missouri‘s “inevitable” move to the SEC may not materialize after all. Just two days after an MU official told the New York Times the school would certainly apply for membership, chancellor Brady Deaton denied the report, saying the topic might not even be on the table during this week’s Board of Curators meetings in Kansas City. If there’s one thing we can take away from this, it’s that our brain hurts. One day, an official says MU’s gone; the next day, the top dog in charge says they’re not making a decision anytime soon. Within 48 hours, the tone has entirely changed, which begs the question: who is this anonymous official that spoke to the Times?
  2. Realignment will probably be the heavy topic at Big 12 Media Days, which begins today and runs through Thursday. It’ll be interesting to hear how the coaches and players respond to all the talk, and perhaps we’ll even hear a few passionate sound bites about just how sick everybody is of the discussion. As far as basketball goes, though, expect a lot of questions fired at Kansas coach Bill Self about how to defend his Big 12 title after losing the bulk of his team. Scott Drew of Baylor could also hear the tough questions about how to avoid a collapse like last season. With four new coaches in the league, that angle should also get hit hard by the writers over the next few days.
  3. A little news from a former Big 12 guy: shockingly, Bob Knight appears to have committed a recruiting violation by making illegal calls on behalf of his son Pat Knight at Lamar. This is independent of the Big 12 conference right now, of course, but the Knight family never had one ounce of accusations against them during their era at Texas Tech. Apparently, non-university officials cannot make contacts with recruits unless they’re listed as a special exemption, but Knight spoke to a few players “illegally.” If the Knight name weren’t attached to this story, it would have never hit print. But Pat and Bob Knight have star power, so they’ll have to deal with the minor but embarrassing consequences of this violation.
  4. Oklahoma better have gotten its money’s worth. The Associated Press reported that an internal investigation cost $50,000, which marked the second investigation at the school during the last five years. The school was looking into the allegations about illegal payments surrounding former coach Jeff Capel‘s program, and the situation is murky because Kelvin Sampson had already put the school on probation. This investigation isn’t as pricey as Ohio State‘s once was — that one cost a bit shy of a million dollars — bit it could result in major NCAA violations. Oklahoma has offered to take away a scholarship, vacate wins and add probation, but that might not be enough for the NCAA. After all, it wants to vacate a 13-win season in 2009-10. The humanity!
  5. Let’s give some well wishes to Oklahoma State freshman Cezar Guerrero. He suffered an injury in practice Monday, which landed him in the hospital. He’s out though, now, having been released Tuesday after a spinal cord scare. The Oklahoman says team officials would not disclose the injury at first, but it now looks like Guerrero suffered a pretty serious-looking injury. A helicopter was needed to transport him to the hospital, which is always a scary sign. The team expects him to make a full recovery, although nobody’s got any idea when he’ll see the basketball court again.
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Big 12 Morning Five: 10.14.11 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on October 14th, 2011

  1. The league released its annual preseason coaches poll Thursday afternoon, and in its final year as a Big 12 member, Texas A&M made history. For the first and last time ever, the coaches selected the Aggies to win the conference. They earned 73 points to share the honors with Kansas, who received the most first-place votes with five. Baylor and Missouri also received first-place votes, while Oklahoma and Texas Tech finished tied for last. The poll, of course, means absolutely nothing, but it’s decent fodder for us fans as we wait a few more hours for Midnight Madness to tip off.
  2. It’s also decent fodder for coaches and players: coach Bill Self and guard Tyshawn Taylor both told ESPN.com they were “surprised” at the first-place selection. The Jayhawks’ tone during the pre season has been unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Self even expressed some public concerns this summer to CBS Sports about how his roster is shaping up, and he’s admitted that his team has more question marks in 2011-12 than any he’s ever coached. Still, with seven straight Big 12 titles to his name, you’ve got to think Self will figure something out with this team– especially since most of the “unproven” talent consists of former blue-chip recruits.
  3. The day we’ve been waiting for since last April is finally here — the first day of practice. Unfortunately, less than half of the Big 12 teams are holding public Midnight Madness events. If you’re wondering who is having festivities, though, take a look at this CBS Sports schedule: it appears only Kansas, Texas A&M and Baylor will have public practices tonight (Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will have events later this month). Kudos to A&M, though, for being the only program to truly hold a practice at midnight.
  4. Rick Barnes has sent numerous forwards to the NBA during his head coaching career, and Class of 2012 big man Prince Ibeh is hoping to become the next star in the Texas frontcourt. The 6’10″ center verbally pledged to the Longhorns on Thursday, giving Barnes three forwards in this particular recruiting class. Considered one of the top recruits in the nation at his position, Ibeh checks in at #54 in the Rivals.com rankings. He’s primarily known for his shot-blocking ability, so watch out for this guy in the paint during the next four years.
  5. Finally, your obligatory realignment news: Kansas City mayor Sly James wrote a letter to Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton, expressing his desire for the university to stay in the Big 12. James appears most worried about his city losing the Big 12 Tournament, and who can blame him? If MU bolts for another league, it’d be pretty difficult to keep the league tournament in a state where no team competes, despite the proximity of Kansas and Kansas State. James estimates the Big 12 tourney generates about $14 million a year for Kansas City.
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Did the Big 12 Save Itself Thursday? Depends on Whom You Ask…

Posted by rtmsf on September 23rd, 2011

There’s reason to believe that the Big 12 will survive for at least another year with the news Thursday that two of the conditions most desired by several of its remaining member institutions will come to fruition.  Well, they hope, at least.  The first condition, reportedly required by Oklahoma (but presumably other schools as well), was that Commissioner Dan Beebe be ousted from his position as a result of what is widely viewed as executive incompetence in the face of serious and repeated threats to the existence of the league.  His mutually agreed-upon ‘resignation’ was accepted by the remaining schools Thursday night.

The conference’s board of directors conducted a wide-ranging teleconference Thursday on the future of the league as Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe negotiated a “mutual agreement” with the league to leave his job immediately. Beebe will be replaced on an interim basis by former Big Eight commissioner Chuck Neinas, 79, one of the most widely respected insiders in college football.

Facing the destruction of his conference for the second time in 16 months, Beebe was the easy scapegoat here, but the bitter irony he must taste in retirement is that some of the very measures he attempted to institute — namely, better revenue sharing and stronger disincentives to leave — are now getting pushed by several remaining schools as absolute necessities to safeguard the future of the league.  One of those remedial measures (and the second condition) involves locking schools into a long-term commitment to the conference by collectively agreeing to give up their ‘first-tier’ and ‘second-tier’ rights to televised broadcasts of their games for the next six years, otherwise known as a “grant of rights.”  From the NYT:

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