Monday, September 5, 2011
So, where does the Big 12 stand today?
By ESPN.com staff
Lots of news on the realignment front over the weekend, especially when things heated up on Sunday with this news from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Multiple league sources confirmed Sunday that Texas lawmakers, including Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, are preparing to take a more active role in determining whether Texas A&M should head to the Southeastern Conference and whether Texas should join Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech as part of a four-school move to an expanded Pac-12.
One league source said Sunday that the anticipated interest from lawmakers probably "has more to do with Texas" than A&M because a Longhorns move to the Pac-12 -- if finalized -- could kill the Big 12. A&M announced plans Wednesday to withdraw from the Big 12, pending an invitation to the SEC.
Dewhurst's office said he is following the situation.
"Lt. Gov. Dewhurst's primary focus is to ensure the best possible outcome for all Texas universities," said Dewhurst spokesperson Mike Walz in an e-mail response to questions from the Star-Telegram.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry's office said only, "The governor believes these decisions are up to each school," according to spokesperson Lucy Nashed in an e-mail.
That could make things messy, with Oklahoma indicating over the weekend to the Tulsa World that it was "leaning" toward leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-12 and planning on bringing Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech with it.
So, who's in control now?
The New York Times says Texas.
Commissioner Larry Scott acknowledged Saturday night that the Pacific-12 Conference had been approached by multiple universities. And while Oklahoma made the first public statements about the Pac-12 over the weekend, and also called more than two weeks ago to gauge the conference’s interest, everything seems to revolve around Texas. Again.
The Oklahoman says Oklahoma.
Now, the schools again are contemplating a move to what would be a Pacific-16 Conference. Only this time, the roles are reversed. The Sooners are driving the train. Texas is the follower.
“Oklahoma's taking the lead role,” said OU president David Boren.
Part of the switch is because of circumstances. Part is because of politics. But part is because Sooner leaders did not like how their school was perceived last summer. That OU was just one of the nine followers of Texas.
“That is so overblown,” said a high-level OU source. “Last year, Texas did all the talking. We have a feeling if you're strong, you don't have to tell everybody you're strong.”
So, which is it? Guess here is it's somewhere in the middle. I guess somewhere in Dallas, the midway point of Norman, Oklahoma and Austin, Texas, somebody is just intoxicated with power.
Or something. Realignment issues in the Big 12 are enough to make anyone's head spin.
Either way, interesting days are ahead for the Big 12.