Saturday, September 3, 2011
Concern across Big 12 for league's future
By ESPN.com staff
Oklahoma president David Boren made waves with his admission on Friday that Oklahoma was working toward a decision regarding its future conference affiliation.
On Saturday, Missouri athletic director Mike Alden expressed concern about Boren's comments.
"A comment comes out like that, it is a concern," Mike Alden said Saturday.
Alden said Missouri remains focused on keeping the conference intact while continuing to strengthen the school's profile. Though Missouri is more concerned than a few days ago, he said the school will do well whatever happens.
"I think Mizzou's on solid ground," Alden said. "I think we don't have to necessarily land on our feet, we are on our feet. I think our leadership has done a good job."
While committed to the Big 12, Alden said Missouri would do everything possible to raise its profile.
"We're keeping improving Mizzou's brand every day, that's what we do," Alden said, speaking before No. 21 Missouri's opener against Miami of Ohio. "We've done that aggressively."
Alden admitted that Boren's comments surprised him. Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton is also chairman of the league's board of directors.
"It's somewhat surprising that comment came out because I know everybody's been working together," Alden said. "You put something like that out there and it just reinforces that image of being unstable.
"How do you recover from that? I don't know."
Alden wouldn't say whether Missouri had been in contact with other conferences, adding he's consistently had no comment on such matters.
Additionally, Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis released a statement on Saturday.
"We want to be clear that we worked actively to encourage Texas A&M to remain in the Big 12 Conference and regret they decided to leave. We are moving ahead," Hargis said. "Oklahoma State University's athletic program has never been stronger from top to bottom, putting us in a position to explore and pursue options, including the possible expansion of our current conference. We are in close communications with our colleagues at the University of Oklahoma and expect a decision soon that will be in the best interest of our institutions and the state of Oklahoma."