Big 12: Harvey Perlman



The BCS presidential oversight committee meets Tuesday afternoon in Washington D.C. to discuss college football's future postseason. The 12 presidents will hear from the FBS commissioners who last week endorsed a seeded four-team playoff beginning in 2014, which would have semifinals at bowl sites and bid out the championship game nationally. The commissioners are expected to present multiple models and discuss the evolution of their discussion, which came to a head last week in Chicago. Although the commissioners are unified, they’ve made it clear the presidents have the final say here.

The oversight committee begins its meetings at 3 p.m. ET, and while initially scheduled to meet four hours, the session likely will last well into Tuesday night.

To get you prepared for a long day and night, here's a primer, in question-and-answer form.

What action will the presidents take Tuesday?

It's likely they'll approve the four-team playoff model endorsed by the commissioners. ESPN.com has learned that the two most evolved elements of the playoff are the basic four-team model and the use of a selection committee to determine the four teams. Two elements that still must be discussed further and likely won't be resolved Tuesday: understanding playoff access and revenue distribution. Although there's an agreement in principle among the commissioners for how the revenue should be divided, the presidents want to have a thorough discussion on this topic.

What elements unified the commissioners in Chicago?

The two big ones were the selection committee and having the semifinals played inside the bowls. Commissioners who have chaired the NCAA men's basketball tournament selection committee -- such as the SEC's Mike Slive, the Big Ten's Jim Delany and the Big 12's Bob Bowlsby -- strongly advocated for it, and others, like the Pac-12's Larry Scott, warmed up to the idea. They see the committee as more transparent, more rational and having fewer conflicts of interest than the current polls used in the BCS formula.

The commissioners emerged from their April meetings in Hollywood, Fla., with two models: a four-team playoff inside the bowls and a four-team playoff at neutral sites outside the bowls. ESPN.com has learned three leagues -- the SEC, Big 12 and Conference USA -- advocated neutral sites for semifinal games, which likely would bring in more revenue but devalue the top bowl games. The Big Ten and Pac-12 didn't want to see the Rose Bowl drop down several notches (think NIT) and endanger the other bowls. This was a deal breaker, and it eventually pushed the group toward an inside-the-bowls model.

How will the model work inside the bowls and with access?

It's very likely that five or six bowls, not just the four BCS bowls, will be part of the playoff structure. There will be the familiar four -- Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta -- as well as one or two yet-to-be-determined bowls (Cotton, Capital One, etc.). Although the commissioners spent a lot of time discussing an anchor plan -- where the No. 1 and No. 2 playoff participants would play at regional sites -- they determined it would be too difficult because of television sponsorships, ticket distribution and other factors. So the semifinal games will be predetermined and rotate between the bowls. For example, if the TV contract is for 12 years and the rotation includes six bowls, each game could host a semifinal four times.

The selection committee could end up selecting participants for more than just the four-team playoff, especially because the additional bowls will provide access for champions from smaller conferences. The same guidelines applied to selecting the playoff participants – strength of schedule, valuing conference championships -- also will be used to determine who appears in some of the additional bowls. For example, if the Mountain West champion and the Big Ten's No. 2 team have comparable profiles, including strength of schedules, and are ranked 12th and 13th, the Mountain West champion likely would get the nod to a big bowl because of its championship.

While there will be access for smaller-conference champions, the bowls who have contracts with certain leagues will continue to feature teams from those leagues. If the Rose Bowl isn't a national semifinal and loses the Pac-12 and/or Big Ten champion to a semifinal game, it will replace them with Pac-12 and Big Ten teams. The only way the Rose Bowl features teams not from the Big Ten or Pac-12 is if it's a semifinal.

How much traction does the plus-one model have?

None. It will be discussed Tuesday because the presidents want to look at multiple models, but everyone is so far down the road toward a four-team playoff and they're highly unlikely to turn back. Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman, a playoff opponent who prefers the status quo and a plus-one over a four-team playoff -- as do the Big Ten colleagues he represents and some Pac-12 presidents -- will have his say, but he also understands where this is headed. Perlman realizes he can't be Mr. Davis in "12 Angry Men" and sway everyone else in the room.

How would the selection committee operate?

The group will have certain guidelines for selection, such as valuing strength of schedule conference championships. There are no hard-and-fast rules, but these guidelines will help break ties. Expect the committee to be around 15 members, and it will meet throughout the season. It's unclear who will serve on it, although former coaches as well as school and league administrators are the likeliest candidates.

According to a source, the committee could reveal a poll midway through the season to let the public know where things stand with certain teams. Such a poll likely would debut around the time the initial BCS standings do (Week 8 or so).

When would the playoffs take place?

The five or six bowls in the playoff rotation likely will take place around Jan. 1. The Rose Bowl will keep its traditional New Year's Day afternoon time slot, whether or not it's a national semifinal. A new contract for the Rose Bowl is expected this week and will last through the 2026 game. The Rose Bowl contract always has been completed before the BCS contract.

We could end up seeing three of the bowls take place Dec. 31 and the other three, including the Rose, on Jan. 1. The championship game then would take place about 10 days later.

Colleagues Mark Schlabach and Heather Dinich will be in D.C. for the presidential oversight committee meeting, so be sure and check in with ESPN.com throughout Tuesday afternoon and night.

Beebe, Big 12 offer insight into realignment

July, 7, 2011
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We're more than a year beyond the realignment saga of last summer, but as part of the new Big 12 website, Big 12 correspondent Wendell Barnhouse has a four-part series looking back at the events that shaped the new 10-team Big 12.

I'd suggest all Big 12 fans read it, as it answers some of the big questions you hear all too often when fans ask about realignment from last summer.

One of the biggest? Why did the Big 12 stand pat while others looked to expand, and take what looked like a reactionary approach while others took what appeared to be a proactive approach?

Commissioner Dan Beebe put together a "war council" made up of a handful of people qualified to peer into college football's future.

From part 2:
"We played out every scenario, every aspect of what might happen," [former associate commissioner Donnie] Duncan said. "It wasn't just involving the Pac-10. It was the national picture. If A moves to B, and B moves to C, then what happens? Who would pay for it? How does TV benefit? How do they not benefit? Then from a legal standpoint, what are our parameters?"

One consideration discussed was expanding the Big 12. Instead of waiting for its member schools to be courted, why not strike first?

"We concluded that 12 was the maximum number for us, in this part of the country," Beebe said. "Was there anyone out there we should try to add? The potential candidates would not have added to the Big 12; they would have taken away.

"When the Big Ten made its announcement we were in high gear."

The group, put together in late 2009, was made up of Big 12 deputy commissioner Tim Weiser, former associate commissioner Donnie Duncan, New York-based television adviser Joel Lulla and legal counselor Kevin Sweeney of the Kansas City law firm Polsinelli Shugart formed Beebe's "war council."

Here's a Q&A I did with Sweeney earlier this offseason.

Part 3 went up today, and part 4 debuts tomorrow.

Part 3 delves into the tense 10 days in June that culminated in the Big 12 staying alive, giving some never-before-seen looks behind the curtain of events that had been reported elsewhere.

A few selections:

Of the Orangebloods.com report that the Pac-10 was courting the Big 12 South during Big 12 meetings:
"That news pretty much ended that day's meetings," said Donnie Duncan, a former Big 12 associate commissioner and one of Beebe's advisors during the crisis.
On the aftermath of those Pac-16 reports the following day:
The Big 12 presidents met Friday morning. While not contentious, the gathering was tense. It was analogous to a 12-hand game of poker. Good friends Nebraska president Harvey Perlman and Texas president William Powers basically asked each other to put their cards on the table. Was Nebraska leaving for the Big Ten? Was Texas (and other schools) leaving for the Pac-10? To answer Beebe's challenge, who was committed to the Big 12 and who was not?

"Nebraska was leaving no matter what," Duncan believes.
On Beebe's reaction after Colorado and Nebraska announced their departure:
The first domino had tipped. Wednesday night, Donnie Duncan received a call from Beebe, who sensed that the Big 12 was crumbling. "He was very emotional," Duncan recalled. "He felt he had let the [conference office] staff down."

Beebe and the his advisers recalled getting ESPN/ABC to honor their current TV contract, despite the loss of Nebraska, Colorado and the Big 12 Championship game their "ace in the hole."
"On Saturday ESPN had agreed to not reduce our money," [Big 12 TV strategist Joel] Lulla said. "We were trying to stabilize our TV deals. Dan talked with both ESPN and FOX about the kind of deal the Pac-10 recently signed. He wanted to tear up both existing deals and work out a joint deal with ESPN and FOX. ESPN resisted that.

"When we got ESPN to agree to not cut our right fees - they probably could have reduced our deal by $75 million to $100 million over the final six years of our deal- that put us in a better position because we were getting the same money and having to distribute it to two fewer schools.

"For ESPN, on a business level, it made a lot of sense. Also, they had already budgeted the money so they weren't going to lose any money."

At this point, there's not much left to say about last summer that hasn't already been written in said in countless other places, but I've generally felt like (and written a few times) Beebe's gotten far too much of the blame for the Big 12 losing two teams and the public perception of him is entirely warped for reasons that don't make a lot of sense.

As for the Big 12's recent resurgence, it's clear it's a lot more than a one-man show, and he's perhaps gotten a bit too much credit, but those closely involved in the negotiations last summer when the perception was Beebe was being played like a fool thought it was unfair, too.
"I've been doing this a long time and I've never seen anyone cooler under pressure than Dan," Lulla said. "The tension in that room was unbelievable. ESPN was reporting that the move of five Big 12 schools to the Pac-10 was 'imminent." But we knew the tide was turning. We were kind of laughing at what we thought was bad information. We didn't think we were being played by Texas because we were getting a lot of encouraging signs from Austin."

...

"I cannot remember a single event in intercollegiate athletics where the focus came on one individual so unfairly," Duncan said. "I've never seen one person subjugated to having an image portrayed that was 180 degrees from who the man is.

"Dan stayed ahead of the game. And he won the game."

Check out this series. You'll be glad you did. Lots of insight, especially from a conference website.

Lunch links: Paul Rhoads to the Buckeyes?

June, 1, 2011
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Dirk is about to have the most talked-about finger in Texas history.

Q&A: Dan Beebe on the Big 12's future

February, 10, 2011
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We're in transition on the Big 12 blog this week, saying goodbye to Nebraska and Colorado, but Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has been dealing with that transition since the decisions to leave were made in June.

I caught up with the commish this week and covered a wide range of topics about the Big 12's future, like a possible name change for the league, his thoughts on Texas' new television network, Texas A&M's future as a member of the Big 12 and the creation of a Big 12 television network.

David Ubben: The season's been over for awhile, and obviously there's basketball being played, but what have you been working on the past few weeks as it relates to the Big 12 and its future?

[+] EnlargeDan Beebe
AP Photo/Cody DutyCommissioner Dan Beebe remains confident about the future of the Big 12.
Dan Beebe: Well, we're preparing and we've been doing a lot of work preparing for our future negotiation for television [with Fox Sports later this spring]. It's going to be a very critical thing for us, and I'm on the men's basketball committee, so I've got games of basketball dancing through my head at all hours and all times, and we're also working with the branding company in Boston on what's our position, how we want to position ourselves moving forward with 10 members. So, all that should be aiming toward the spring meetings. That's kind of the launch point for all these things.

What about the conference name and logo? Anything definitive happening there?

DB: We're looking at all that. By June, we want to have a decision on it. This group has done a great job of going around and gathering information from our people and trying to figure out what is our purpose and how we want to position ourselves going forward.

As far as branding the league moving forward, are there any changes that you feel like definitely will be coming?

DB: Well, not at this point. Right now we're still studying all that. We have some direction, but we need to run it through our membership and see if it resonates with them first, before we do anything about it. But we're excited about the things that they've captured and the ideas that they have, and we just need to vet it with our membership and make sure it resonates there before we do anything publicly.

What ideas that they've presented do you feel strongly enough about that you'd want to push hard to the membership when you meet in June?

DB: I want to look hard at the name change, but I think a lot of people feel like the name we have is one that banners have been won under and all that, so we'd have to look very hard at that, and we have a lot of equity in it. Really, I'm just open to what's discovered being the benefits that we have. I mean, obviously, we're going to be different than some of our peer conferences in terms of having complete round-robin play in football and double round-robin in basketball, and I think that's an exciting way to position ourselves going forward.

(Read full post)

None more 'interesting' than Nebraska

February, 8, 2011
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I first (briefly) stated my argument on Twitter: No team in college football was more interesting on and off the field for more reasons in the last year than Nebraska.

A lot of those reasons for interest were positive for the program. Others were negative. But I would argue that no team had more headline-worthy happenings on campus than the Huskers in the past year.

I hear the arguments for USC (coaching change, sanctions), Notre Dame (coaching change, student death, anticlimactic realignment) and Florida (Urban Meyer postseason flip-flop, "You're a bad guy" media incident, offensive collapse, coaching change).

I disagree.

A refresher course on the past 12 months in Nebraska football, for those who have forgotten:

Spring 2010: Starting quarterback Zac Lee is forced to sit out spring practice, and rumors about the progress of a redshirt freshman, Taylor Martinez, start to emerge. Martinez validates those rumors with a memorable spring game performance that leaves fans buzzing.

May-June 2010: Realignment rumors build into reality, and days after Big 12 spring meetings close, Nebraska leaves the Big 12 for the Big Ten, by far the biggest move of the summer's realignment. It becomes official on July 1, 2011.

August 2010: During fall camp, linebacker Sean Fisher (broken leg) and cornerback Anthony Blue (torn ACL) were injured during a closed practice, and rumors of their injuries leaked onto message boards. As a result, media members tried to reach family members, at one point, while Fisher was undergoing surgery. As a result, coach Bo Pelini banned the media from accessing his team for three days.

Sept. 4, 2010: No starter was officially announced before the season opener against Western Kentucky, but the speedy Martinez was announced during starting lineups to a raucous reception from the fans. He becomes the first freshman to start a season opener in Nebraska history. On his first career carry, he runs for a 46-yard touchdown. Nebraska wins, 49-10.

Oct. 7, 2010: Martinez had considerable buzz after rushing for 496 yards and eight scores in his first four games, but his coming out party was a nationally-televised, Thursday night game against Kansas State. He ran for four touchdowns, 241 yards and led the Huskers to a 48-13 road conference win over the bowl-bound Wildcats. That's Heisman-type stuff, and for the first time, he realistically threw his name into the Heisman race (alongside shoo-in Heisman winner Denard Robinson) and then-No. 5 Nebraska was looking like a very real national championship contender. Martinez would not score another rushing touchdown the rest of the season.

Oct. 16, 2010: Nine days later, they hit the first of many speed bumps. Texas' free fall lessened the impact of what looked like the biggest game of the year, but the Longhorns, who finished 5-7, were still able to remind Nebraska of the mysterious mojo they have over the Huskers. Martinez struggled, was benched in the fourth quarter and Nebraska suffered its first loss, 20-13, at home, in a shocker. The loss moved Nebraska to 1-9 against Texas since the Big 12 began in 1996.

Oct. 30, 2010: Roy Helu Jr. runs for 307 yards to help beat Missouri and gives the Huskers control of the Big 12 North. Martinez suffers a sprained ankle late in the first half and doesn't play in the second half. It eventually proves as one of the biggest moments of Nebraska's season.

Nov. 6, 2010: Martinez sits against Iowa State with an injured ankle, and the Cyclones erase a 24-10 lead to send the game into overtime. The Huskers score first, but intercept a wobbly pass on a fake extra point to win the game, 31-30, and maintain control of the Big 12 North, which they eventually win.

Nov. 20, 2010: Nebraska is flagged a school-record 16 times, compared to Texas A&M's two. The worst of the 16 flags is a phantom roughing the passer call that extends Texas A&M's game-winning drive in the 9-6 win.

The biggest news, though, has little to do with the on-field action that resulted in a second loss.

Martinez starts, but re-injures the ankle early and heads to the locker room. There, he returns a call from his father in violation of team rules. Upon learning this information, Pelini screams inches away from a stone-faced Martinez while jabbing his chest with a finger. ESPN's cameras catch the controversial interaction, which re-airs countless times over the following days.

After the game, Pelini chases an official off the field while screaming inches away from his face as well, a scene seen on the sideline during the game. As Texas A&M fans storm the field, his brother, defensive coordinator Carl Pelini, throws down a cameraman's camera, breaking off a few detachable pieces, but doing no permanent damage to the equipment.

After the game, Pelini makes his players off-limits and briefly addresses media.

Nov. 21, 2010: Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman publicly criticizes Pelini's actions during the game. Pelini later apologizes, saying he "let it get personal" toward officials.

Throughout the day, rumors that Martinez planned transfer swirl after the freshman misses a team workout. Later, it's revealed that Martinez also suffered turf toe on his left foot to pair with his sprained right ankle. Pelini denies rumors that Martinez planned to transfer.

Nov. 23, 2010: Top receiver/kick returner Niles Paul suffers a broken foot in practice. He misses the season-ending, Big 12 North-clinching win over Colorado and the Big 12 title game but returns for the bowl game. (That's a wholly terrible four-day stretch, no?)

Nov. 26, 2010: Nebraska clinches the Big 12 North with a win over Colorado, but no Big 12 officials are on hand to deliver the championship trophy. Commissioner Dan Beebe tells Nebraska media later that night that he didn't make the trip because of safety concerns. He had received death threats after the Texas A&M officiating fiasco.

Dec. 4, 2010: Nebraska closes its run in the Big 12 by reviving one of the league's great rivalries, one final game against Oklahoma. The Huskers' early 17-0 lead is erased, Martinez takes seven sacks and the Huskers lose, 23-20, to land in the Holiday Bowl for the second consecutive season against Washington, a team it beat in Seattle 56-21 in September.

Dec. 30, 2010: Nebraska, 17-point favorites, suffers a shocking loss to Washington, 19-7. They finish 10-4, and lose three of their final four games.

Jan 5, 2011: Martinez's father, Casey Martinez, confirms to ESPN.com that Taylor will return to Nebraska for the 2011 winter semester, ending rumors of a transfer.

Jan. 11, 2011: Defensive tackle Jared Crick announces he'll return to Nebraska for his senior season.

Jan 26, 2011: Nebraska ends its licensing agreement with Corn Fed, Inc., Casey Martinez's apparel company. The deal paid Nebraska 10 percent royalties on all merchandise sold and began in June 2007.

Feb. 3, 2011: In Indiana, new Hoosiers coach Kevin Wilson announces that his assistant, Corey Raymond, is leaving for Nebraska to coach the secondary. Huskers secondary coach Marvin Sanders is still employed.

Pelini hasn't spoken with the media in five weeks.

Later, during his signing day teleconference, Pelini refuses to answer any questions about his staff, and says no staff members have been hired or fired yet.

Nebraska signs 20 players and four ESPNU recruits for the nation's No. 14 recruiting class, which ranks No. 3 in the Big 12 and No. 2 in the Big Ten.

Later that night, Sanders, receivers coach Ted Gilmore and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson are absent from an Omaha recruiting dinner.

Feb. 4, 2011: Sanders announces his resignation for "family and personal reasons" amid reports of possible disciplinary action toward the coach for a nonfootball issue.

Feb. 5, 2011: Charles Jackson, Nebraska's only cornerback signee, tells the Omaha World-Herald he found out about Sanders' departure from a stranger via Facebook, and expresses discontent at not being notified that any moves had occurred or that they would follow his signing. He also adds he probably would have signed with Nebraska if he had been told.

Later in the day, his father goes on Omaha radio to diffuse the situation, and says his son is content and excited to start his career.

Feb. 7, 2011: Former Huskers star Scott Frost elects to stay at Oregon as receivers coach, rather than join his alma mater, who was reportedly unwilling to offer him playcalling duties.

Today: Gilmore and Watson are still employed, and Pelini says he knew nothing of an ad posted on Nebraska's website last week looking for an offensive assistant.

Now that, folks, is a whole lot of stuff that's happened in the last year. We can only assume 2011 will offer plenty more headlines in the Big Ten.

Can anybody top that? I say absolutely no way.

Things not getting easier for the Huskers

November, 24, 2010
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Three weeks ago, the idea of Nebraska losing to Colorado was almost unthinkable.

Suddenly, it's a very real possibility with a probability that only rose with the team's announcement that leading receiver Niles Paul will miss the Huskers final Big 12 regular season game with a foot injury, and his status for the rest of the season is within doubt.

Only two Nebraska receivers have more than 13 catches this season, and Paul leads the team with 39 grabs for 516 yards and a touchdown. He's also one of the team's fastest players and an explosive kick returner who returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Oklahoma State. For the offense, that means Brandon Kinnie will need to play well, but outside of tight end Kyler Reed and converted tight end Mike McNeill, the Huskers are short on reliable receivers. Curenski Gilleylen will likely replace Paul at the "Z" receiver position.

Taylor Martinez has been limited in Nebraska's last two games with a sprained ankle, and the Huskers running game, one of the nation's best earlier in the season, has suffered as a result. He's expected to be available on Friday, but it's doubtful he'll be anywhere near his usual self after re-injuring the ankle last week in a loss to Texas A&M when lineman Mike Caputo stepped on his foot as a tried to make a move.

So as much as other receivers will have to fill Paul's void, the real onus for beating Colorado will fall on the shoulders of the offensive line and running backs Roy Helu Jr. and Rex Burkhead. Nebraska didn't use much of its Wildcat formation with Burkhead taking the snap against Texas A&M, but with Martinez gimpy and Paul out, it'd be surprising if the formation that was so effective when Martinez sat against Iowa State isn't a big part of Nebraska's game plan.

It's not ideal, but thanks to those injuries, a Colorado upset is a real possibility. Questions about Pelini's sideline behavior and an incident with a cameraman involving defensive coordinator Carl Pelini have provided distractions that may or may not have an effect on what we see from Nebraska this week. At the very least, after conversations with athletic director Tom Osborne and chancellor Harvey Perlman, I'd expect to see a more docile Bo Pelini roaming the sidelines.

The penalty discrepancy (16-2 in favor of Texas A&M) last week has provided more talking points and motivation for Nebraska, but against a surging Colorado team that's found new life under interim coach Brian Cabral and is one win away from bowl eligibility, getting the win won't be easy.

Few thought that would be the case only a few weeks ago.

Pelini apologizes for sideline behavior

November, 22, 2010
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Nebraska coach Bo Pelini apologized Monday for the behavior that prompted university chancellor Harvey Perlman to call his actions "unfortunate" on Sunday.

"You don’t agree with every call that’s made in a game. But there’s a way to deal with it. I probably got too animated at times. And I regret that. I apologize for it," Pelini said.

Pelini was shown arguing with officials multiple times during the broadcast of Saturday night's loss to Texas A&M, and after the game, he berated an official as he left the field.

Cameras also showed Pelini screaming at quarterback Taylor Martinez after the freshman returned from the locker room in the first half. Rumors swirled Sunday that Martinez had quit the team, but Pelini said on Monday those were unfounded and Martinez remained a member of the team.

"I understand where Chancellor Perlman is coming from. I have the administration’s full support. That hasn’t changed," Pelini said. "It’s one thing to disagree, but it’s how you disagree. It’s something I could have done better the other night."

Nebraska will play for a Big 12 North title on Friday when it hosts Colorado. A win would put the Huskers back into the Big 12 Championship for the second consecutive season.

NU chancellor unhappy with Pelini's actions

November, 21, 2010
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Nebraska coach Bo Pelini will be hearing from university chancellor Harvey Perlman, athletic director Tom Osborne or both later this week regarding his behavior on the sideline during Saturday night's 9-6 loss to Texas A&M.
Perlman told The Associated Press on Sunday that Pelini's verbal assault of officials during Saturday's game at Texas A&M did not reflect well on the university or the football program.

The game was televised on ABC, and Perlman called camera shots of Pelini's outbursts "unfortunate." He said he, athletic director Tom Osborne or both of them will address the matter with Pelini. Perlman wouldn't speculate on whether disciplinary action would be taken.

The Cornhuskers were penalized 16 times for 140 yards in the 9-6 loss. Pelini was seen yelling at officials after many of the penalties, and he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct early in the fourth quarter.

Pelini also was seen ripping into quarterback Taylor Martinez.

Lunch links: Detailing Nebraska's exit

August, 31, 2010
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Cole Hazard just got a call saying he has 89 minutes left to live ... from himself.

Lunch links: Huskers galore

July, 1, 2010
7/01/10
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I hope none of you stayed up all night to hear the Clippers will be allowed to make a presentation to LeBron.

Big 12 bylaws vs. Nebraska/Colorado

June, 29, 2010
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The rumbling about Nebraska and Colorado being withheld their conference revenue after announcing their intentions to leave the conference is still pretty quiet. Outside of Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman saying he didn't believe withholding the money would be "appropriate" and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe adding that he was "curious" as to the Huskers' case in the matter, there hasn't been much heard from either party.

What do the bylaws say in the matter? Let's take a look, piece by piece, skipping to the important, applicable sections of the 14-page document.
No Member Institution shall be entitled to distribution of the then-current revenues from the Conference after the effective date of its withdrawal, resignation, or the cessation of its participation in the Conference...
English translation: Once you tell the conference you're leaving, you can't have any more of the conference's money.

(Update 3:45 p.m: To clarify: Schools can't receive their full share after announcing their intention to leave, and obviously can't receive any money after they leave the conference.)


That seems pretty clear, but Nebraska seems to believe it should receive its full share for the yet-to-be-played 2010 season, which would contradict this.
If a Member Institution gives proper Notice pursuant to Section 3.1 (a “Withdrawing Member”), then the Members agree that such withdrawal would cause financial hardship to the remaining Member Institutions of the Conference, and that the financial consequences cannot be measured or estimated with certainty at this time.
English translation: You left. We all agree we're going to have less money, but we don't know how much we're going to lose.

This is where things start to get complicated, and may have to be sorted out in court. Tom Shatel at the Omaha World-Herald noted last week the use of the word "damages" later in the bylaws, and how the schools would have to prove that in court, according a few lawyers he spoke with. Clearly, the Big 12's survival hinged on the fact that there would not be financial damages, and everyone was better off. But in the bylaws, it states that the schools "agree" that there would be "financial hardship," though those hardships can't be measured.

So which is it? Sounds like one side is going to get lawyer'd.

The bylaws also lay out the timeline of what schools would have to pay. Colorado's exit reportedly may come earlier than 2012, but Nebraska gave over a year's notice for their exit, so they would be subject to giving up 80 percent of their conference revenue. They've set a date of July 1, 2011 for the move to take effect, and announced the move on June 11, 2010.

Also, a quick reminder: The Forgotten Five did agree to offer up their money from Nebraska and Colorado to Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, but Texas has publicly rejected the offer and it's currently off the table. Presumably, any fees paid by Nebraska and Colorado would be distributed equally.
The Member Institutions agree that such reduction in the amount of revenues distributed to a Withdrawing Member is reasonable and shall be in the form of liquidated damages and not be construed as a penalty.
English translation: By signing this document, you believe these penalties are reasonable.

This is where the lawyers would really be needed. It doesn't necessarily say the conference must prove damages, but all the positive talk about moving forward into more prosperity for each of the teams could become Nebraska and Colorado's out. If this case ends up in court, which I suspect it might, I imagine the main point of contention will be there. Beebe made a strong case, and has contended that the league's revenues will rise in the coming years. But check the wording in his most recent statement: He's clearly confident and media-approved, but he avoided mentioning finances. I can't help but chuckle a little bit at the clear irony of losing millions of dollars just by saying you will do the opposite, but I don't have any money to lose in the case. I doubt any of the administrators from the remaining 10 Big 12 schools are laughing with me.

Get used to purgatory, Missouri

June, 11, 2010
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Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany followed his protocol, placing a call to Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe on Friday morning to notify him that they would be accepting Nebraska's application into the Big Ten.

Beebe had no further comments on Nebraska's departure, calling it "disappointing."

But Delany didn't mention another team looking for inclusion to the Big Ten, Missouri.

"My understanding is there aren't any other conference members considered by the Big Ten," Beebe said.

That's a big uh-oh in Columbia for a school that's turned the Forgotten Four into the Forlorn Five over the course of the past week. Missouri may end up getting a Big Ten invite when the conference makes its next move toward expansion, something Delany said could happen in the future. But Delany, altering his previously stated timeline, shows just how badly he wanted the Huskers in his league.

"We were ready to move more quickly when this opportunity arose,” he said.

But it also shows that Missouri won't be placed on the fast track for membership. And if five Big 12 South teams split for the Pac-10 next week, Missouri's position in the league will only become more awkward. With the Big Ten still in play, don't expect Missouri to fully commit to the other four teams whose best bet include a partnership with the Mountain West Conference, Conference USA, or obliterating the Big 12 for a move to the Big East.

"When 'the dust settles,' Mizzou will be in a strong position nationally," athletic director Mike Alden said in a statement. "We don't know the timeline of all of these activities, so your patience and commitment is appreciated."

Alden has a lot of faith, and he should. As the head of the athletic department, he has to. He didn't place any qualifiers on that statement. But the second half is more telling: Missouri may still have to abide by the Big Ten's original timeline.

In short, Missouri's future could be in limbo through 2010 and into next year. How far -- and if it ends -- is up to Delany.

Delany apologized on Friday for leaving schools unsure of their future. Clearly, Missouri falls under that umbrella.

Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman pointed to comments from Missouri "not fully supportive of the Big 12" as a reason for leaving, and it was a good one. That's not going to change until an opportunity to join the Big Ten is completely off the table.

Missouri deserves a good amount of blame in a Big 12 breakup, too, but unlike Kansas and Kansas State, they can't fully commit to a cleanup -- however that ends up looking.

If Missouri spends the next six to 12 months riding the fence between committing to the remaining members of the Big 12 and positioning itself for an invitation to the Big Ten, its relationship with schools like Kansas and Kansas State will only splinter further. And unless that invitation to apply arrives in the end, Missouri better get used to a whole lot of awkwardness.

Smart choice, but contradiction for Huskers

June, 11, 2010
6/11/10
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Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman and athletic director Tom Osborne stood before the university's board of regents, and if there was a shred of doubt among the board, there couldn't have been when the two men finished.

They confidently laid out a compelling case for the program they love so much to shift its affiliation to the Big Ten, and anyone who voted against the motion might not have made it out of the meeting room alive.

[+] Enlarge Harvey Perlman and Tom Osborne
AP Photo/Nati HarnikAfter Perlman and Osborne made the case for Nebraska applying to join the Big Ten, the board of regents approved the move on a 12-0 vote.
But twelve sure-voiced "yes" votes later, Nebraska's board of regents unanimously approved submitting an application to the Big Ten.

Osborne got out in front of the criticisms, knocking them out one-by-one like he did 25 straight opponents in 1994 and 1995 on the way to back-to-back national titles.

Financial risk? Nebraska is submitting its application with the assurance that the university not receive any less money from the Big Ten than they would from the Big 12, and allowing the conference to ease them into full financial membership.

People who want to paint the Huskers as disloyal?

"Schools that were urging us to stay had talked to as many as three conferences," Osborne said. "At that point you begin to wonder where you’re going to get yourself if you make a commitment."

Concerns over increased --and more difficult -- student athlete travel?

"We may have to fly a little more, the connections will be a little bit better," Osborne said. "We will not spend any more time on the road -- maybe less."

You're just mad about the conference's shift to the South, Tom!

"You don’t make a decision of this size based on where you’re going to play the Big 12 championship game," Osborne said. "That’s not even an issue."

So what happens when Nebraska's recruiting trail in Texas stops being beaten?

Osborne admits they may lose a few recruits in Texas, but they won't stop recruiting the state, and have now gained access to states like Ohio. And with more national broadcasts -- even in nonrevenue sports -- on the Big Ten Network, they may be able to recruit the oft-mentioned Sun Belt more than some people realize.

You won't hear an argument from me against the Huskers leaving. Not that I want to see them go, but Osborne and Perlman both made the case that Nebraska is better aligned with the Big Ten academically, culturally and even in climate. He twice took a poll of coaches and administrators to gauge their feelings on a move to the Big Ten, and like the board of regents, they unanimously supported the move.

It was a smart choice. But Nebraska, don't try to shill the idea that you didn't break up this conference. That instead, Texas, Missouri or Colorado is to blame. The big fault in Perlman and Osborne's presentation to the board is its obvious self-contradiction.

Perlman confirmed that schools were given an ultimatum at last week's Big 12 meetings. Texas said if Missouri left, it would stay and not leave for the Pac-10. The same for Colorado.

"They could not commit if both left," Perlman said.

But if Nebraska stayed, Texas made it clear they would, too.

Then, minutes after Perlman chastised Missouri for its wandering eye, saying that school officials' statements did not demonstrate a clear commitment to the Big 12, Osborne passed the onus for the Big 12's looming end off to Texas.

"One school leaving does not break up a conference. Two schools leaving does not break up a conference," he said. "Six schools leaving breaks up a conference."

So, to be clear, Texas says they'll stay if you stay. Then you leave. I'm not saying it's a bad decision, but if we're placing blame for decimating the conference, point to Lincoln.

They may not be the grenade, but Osborne knew by leaving, he was pulling the pin. He emphasized that all discussions in Kansas City were "professional and civil," emphasized his respect for leaders like Texas' DeLoss Dodds and hoped they felt the same way about him.

Well, they might, but you're not helping when you give them no choice but to stay in the Big 12 and lose money or leave and make more.

So, please, Nebraska. Spare us your deflection of blame. You made the decision (an easy one) that was right for your university. That's your right. I applaud that. I would have made the same decision.

But if the Big 12 ultimately ceases to exist, it's your fault.

Big 12 spring meetings: A primer

June, 1, 2010
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Unlike the Big Ten, the main course at this week's Big 12 spring meetings is on the menu. Expansion was discussed informally at last month's Big Ten spring meetings, but the issue will come up during daily meetings on Thursday.

Likely Big Ten targets Missouri and Nebraska will be in the spotlight, with Colorado and Texas possibly feeling pressure to make commitments -- or not -- to the Big 12 as well.

“It’s an incredible time nationally,” Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton told the Kansas City Star. “Everybody is concerned about that. It will be a topic of discussion.”

But no one's quite sure how hard commissioner Dan Beebe will push, and those possibly looking to play close to The Vest are playing it close to the vest.

“I doubt if I would put whatever message I have in the paper,” Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne told the Lincoln Journal Star. “I really don’t have a particular agenda. I’ll certainly be interested in what people have to say. I’ll listen very carefully. I’m probably going to listen more than I’m going to do a great deal of speaking."

Drama could emerge from attempts to set a date -- perhaps this week but much more likely some time before the season begins -- for programs to commit to the conference. The main point Beebe has been trying to get across: He's not operating on the Big Ten's schedule, which could make a formal move toward expansion as early as December. He wants control, and he'll try to grab it this week with possible increased monetary penalties for teams that wish to leave the conference. With two-year notice, schools give up just 50 percent of their revenue from the conference. If that time span shrinks to less than two years, schools lose 80 percent of their revenue from the conference, and the percentage lost rises as the amount of notice given lessens. Any change to that will have to be approved by the conference's board of directors, but schools looking elsewhere might not appreciate the sudden rule change.

And even an overaggressive move of stripping schools of all their revenue and demanding three years' notice might not deter schools like Missouri and Nebraska from chasing much bigger paydays than the $8.4 and $9.1 million they earned in 2007. By comparison, Big Ten schools earned $22 million last year. Though the possibility of new members not earning full shares immediately is real, the point remains.

But it won't all be negative. Beebe has also spoken of plans to emphasize that a new television deal could mean a growth in television revenue that would help the conference narrow the $10 million-plus gap between the Big Ten and Big 12. The conference's current agreement with Fox Sports Net ends after the 2011-12 season, but its current agreement with ABC and ESPN runs through 2015-16.

I'm heading to Kansas City this afternoon, making my way to the Intercontinental Hotel in the Country Club Plaza on Wednesday morning, well before the big (possible) fireworks.

But expansion isn't the only issue that could be resolved this week. Television contracts and bowl agreements will be part of those expansion conversations, but the location of the Big 12 title game will likely be finalized this week.

Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will host this year's game, and looks close to a lock to host the 2011, 2012 and 2013 games. Beebe has been given clearance to negotiate the terms of a contract with the stadium brass, according to Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman. It's been written about here before, but making that move could lead to Arlington hosting the game permanently.

An Arlington location obviously favors the South teams that, by the way, enter 2010 with a 10-4 record in championship games. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini told the Journal Star he, along with Osborne, favors rotating the site. Pelini also said he didn't believe Texas had a competitive advantage in last year's game, won by the Longhorns, 13-12 in the first-ever championship game at Cowboys Stadium.

So stay tuned through the rest of the week. It could be a historic one for the conference, and possibly the rest of college football.

Perlman to serve on NCAA Board of Directors

October, 30, 2009
10/30/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman has been selected to serve as the chairman of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors beginning at the close of the association's 2010 meeting.

His selection further bolsters the Big 12's national stature because he will also serve on the search committee which will select the new NCAA president to replace the late Myles Brand.

Perlman also serves as chairman of the Bowl Championship Series' Presidential Oversight Committee and is a member of the Big 12's board of directors.

He's clearly one of the most powerful people in college sports. And his stature should expand with his new responsibilities.

But even with all of his national stature and pull, he remains most remembered by Nebraska fans as the man who fired Steve Pederson in 2007. That move set the stage for the return of Tom Osborne to the school as athletic director and Bo Pelini's hiring as the Cornhuskers' football coach.

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