Big 12: Larry Scott

3-point stance: Larry Scott's climb

November, 5, 2013
1. It comes as no surprise that the Pac-12 presidents offered commissioner Larry Scott a new contract through the end of the 2017-18 academic year. All Scott has done is taken a perfectly respectable conference and turned it into a financial powerhouse, and the results have shown up on the football field. But I would be gobsmacked if Scott stayed for the next four-plus years. Scott strikes me as a climber always looking for another mountain. And I don’t mean that in a negative way.

2. You can measure Baylor’s rise to national significance in a lot of different ways, from being the nation’s most prolific offense (70 points, anyone) to No. 6 to being a 14-point favorite over long-time tormentor No. 10 Oklahoma. In the 17 years of the Big 12, the Bears have won once, the 45-38 victory when RG3 threw a touchdown pass with :08 to play. But the biggest measure may be that on Thursday night, the tarps that regularly cover portions of 50,000-seat Floyd Casey Stadium are being removed.

3. No. 21 UCF could all but clinch the American at home Saturday by defeating Houston. The Knights and the Cougars are the last two unbeaten teams in league play. With a victory, UCF would have head-to-head victories over the two one-loss teams (No. 20 Louisville is the other) in the league with the best record. Of UCF’s remaining four opponents, only Rutgers (5-3) has a winning record. The American hasn’t been ready for Blake Bortles, announced Monday as a Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist. We may find out if America is.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

September, 30, 2013

Texas Tech continues to impress on the field and recruits are taking notice. The Red Raiders added some beef to their 2014 class and also offered one of the top 2015 defensive tackles in the state of Texas. We’ll take a look at those two players, how Kansas State’s future quarterback shined on Friday, and plenty more in this edition of the Big 12 weekend wrap.

Biggest commitment: That goes to Texas Tech and the verbal pledge it received from junior college defensive tackle Keland McElrath (Clarksdale, Miss./Coaoma Community College) on Tuesday. This is another piece to the puzzle for Kliff Kingsbury to better his chances of turning things around on defense, which will graduate three defensive linemen on its current two-deep. McElrath is the second DT to commit to the Red Raiders in 2014, along with Ivan Thomas (Lawton, OK/Lawton), the No. 65 DT overall. McElrath (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) also had offers from Kentucky, West Virginia and Western Kentucky. He is scheduled to take his official visit to Texas Tech on Nov. 9.

Where does the Big 12 commish rank?

May, 24, 2012
Earlier today, we looked at the pay for athletic directors around the league, but what about the men up top?

USA Today researched and released the pay for each conference commissioner, and former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe earned $1.7 million in 2010 after receiving a 70 percent raise.

He was relieved of his duties in fall 2011.

Here's how he ranked among his peers:
  • Larry Scott, Pac-12: $1.9 million
  • Jim Delany, Big Ten: $1.8 million
  • Beebe: $1.7 million
  • John Swofford, ACC: $1.5 million
  • Mike Slive, SEC: $1 million
  • John Marinatto, Big East: $600,000

The Big 12 has since moved on from Beebe, and no salary information was available for interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.

In USA Today's survey of athletic director salaries, new commissioner Bob Bowlsby's salary was unavailable, because Stanford is a private institution.

Either way, I'd expect the first-time commissioner to easily clear a seven-digit salary in his new gig.

For reference, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds made just under 1.1 million last year. Not exactly helping that whole "Texas runs the Big 12" perception if he makes more than the Big 12 commish, no?

Decision looms for 'contemplating' RG3

January, 10, 2012
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III met with coach Art Briles a second time this week and remains undecided on his future, according to Briles.

"It's a situation where he's really contemplating what he feels like is the thing that's going to give him peace," Briles said.

Griffin won the Heisman Trophy and tied the school record for wins with Baylor's third 10-win season in program history. The Bears won their final six games of 2011 after losing the final four of 2010.

From The Associated Press:
Briles said he is for whatever Griffin feels is the right thing to do, whether it's the NFL or coming back to play as a senior at Baylor.

"Like I told him from Day 1, I don't want to be any influence on it," Briles said. "My goal for him is for him to be successful and fulfill all of his dreams. If that dream is going to the NFL right now, that's great."

Griffin and Briles met last week, and again on Monday, as a new semester of classes started on the Waco campus.

I've weighed in on what RG3 should do, but when the decision has taken this long, neither choice would surprise me. I get the feeling he's extremely torn.

At the Fiesta Bowl, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott talked about the phenomenon of guys coming back to school, like Stanford's Andrew Luck and USC's Matt Barkley.

Now, Griffin faces the same choice.

Scott says Luck and Barkley's decision is proof that the college experience is more valuable than the public realizes. You only get to do it once, and Griffin's changed a lot at Baylor.

This won't be about achieving this or that at Baylor. It'll be about what Griffin thinks is best for him.

Even now, he's the only person who knows the answer to just what that is.

OU, Texas must come back together

September, 21, 2011
Colleague Pat Forde weighed in today on the Big 12's newest near-implosion. He says there's plenty of fault to go around, but regardless of past mistakes, Texas and Oklahoma must come together and make this work.

As for the Sooners?
Throughout the Big 12 turmoil, Oklahoma president David Boren appears to have been holding a pair of twos and playing it like a royal flush. We'll see whether the bluff works now that the cards are hitting the table.

"He's put his school in a tough position by getting so far out on a limb," a well-connected college source said of Boren's power play.

...Larry Scott couldn't get some of the most powerful members of his league to bring Oklahoma aboard without Texas -- and Texas didn't want to compromise its Longhorn Network television deal to join the league.

"I know that at least two [Pac-12] presidents out there are saying, 'If Texas isn't part of the deal, don't bring that deal to us,'" the source said. "I don't think Oklahoma has anyplace to go."

Sure enough, the Pac-12 pulled the plug on expansion Tuesday night.

And what about the Texas brass? They've got some cleaning up to do as well.
Nevertheless, it would behoove Texas to make some concessions -- not just because Oklahoma wants it, but to show its Big 12 brethren that it gives a damn about them.

The Longhorns' steady diet of me-first has left them bloated and indifferent to the feelings of their peers. You can't blame athletic director DeLoss Dodds for capitalizing on his program's abundant successes and rampant popularity, but there has to be some concern for everyone else.

Does there? If not, what will the rest of the Big 12 do about it?

The drama surrounding the league breaking apart looks like it's over for now.

But the drama surrounding the league trying to glue itself back together again, perhaps with new leadership? It's only just beginning. A meeting later this week of the Big 12 board of directors should be fascinating.

Four Big 12 teams headed to Pac-12?

September, 18, 2011
Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are working on a deal to join the Pac-12, according to a report on Sunday.

The Austin American-Statesman cited a source close to the situation that stressed the deal is not yet complete, but that talks were "heating up."
The proposed deal would allow Texas to keep ESPN's Longhorn Network, though The Statesman reports the network would have to add other Pac-12 programming to the network.

The new Longhorn Network, a 24-hour showcase for Texas athletics, has caused several Big 12 members to worry it gives the Longhorns too much power and influence, especially in the areas of exposure and recruiting.

"This is not yet a done deal," a source familiar with the discussions told The Statesman, saying nothing had been definitively confirmed. "It appears that (Pac-12 commissioner) Larry Scott is going to be able to work some magic and help Texas keep the Longhorn Network and their revenue stream."

Oklahoma and Texas' regents are both set to meet on Monday.

By day's end, will Oklahoma give David Boren and Texas give Bill Powers the right to make a decision on behalf of the university?

Stay tuned.

So, where does the Big 12 stand today?

September, 5, 2011
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.
The Pac-12's desire to make its own network -- and in the process prevent the creation of the Longhorn Network -- was a factor that kept Texas in the Big 12.

And now, with the Pac-12 set to make an official announcement Wednesday about its network, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott told the Austin American-Statesman that it all but eliminates the possibility of future membership for the Longhorns.

"I think you could certainly imply that, with the news that we're going to announce tonight," Scott told the newspaper. "The Longhorn Network would be certainly a huge impediment."

Scott reiterated his recent comments that future expansion was coming, but it's unlikely now that Texas would be a part of it.

More on the Pac-12 Network and the prospect of broadcasting high school games in the news story here.

A look at Dan Beebe's recent pay raise

June, 21, 2011
A pay raise from 2008 to 2009 pushed Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe's salary to just under $1 million, according to tax records acquired by the Associated Press.

Beebe was paid $661,000 in 2008, but received a raise to $997,000 for 2009.

Big 12 spokesman Bob Burda told the Associated Press that the raise was given by the conference's board of directors to put him on par with the rest of the BCS automatic qualifying leagues.

Here's what college football's other major conference commissioners made in 2009:
  • Jim Delany, Big Ten: $1.6 million
  • John Swofford, ACC, $1.1 million
  • Mike Slive, SEC, $1 million
  • Dan Beebe, Big 12, $997,000

The other two major conference commissioners were hired after the first half of 2009, but here's what they were paid for six months of compensation:
  • Larry Scott, Pac-10/12, $735,000
  • John Marinatto, Big East, $366,000

According to the outlet, "Those figures include base salary and benefits such as health insurance, as well as other forms of pay such as retirement and deferred compensation."

College football's other five leagues that don't receive automatic BCS bids all paid their commissioners less than $600,000.

Mailbag: QB change, best D, new rivalries

May, 27, 2011
Good questions this week. Much appreciated on my end. If yours didn't get answered, or you were too lazy to ask it, feel free to send it my way.

Paul in Oklahoma City asked: Ubbs...who do you see taking over at QB at OSU after Weeden leaves? A lot of people think JW Walsh will but is there any chance Clint Chelf or Johnny Deaton take over instead?

David Ubben: It's pretty tough to tell early on, and we haven't had much chance to see these guys. J.W. Walsh's head was still spinning when I visited Stillwater the spring, but when the game slows down for him, we'll get a better feel of how good he could be.

It should be a pretty fun competition, but experience like Chelf got last season and probably will get this season is impossible to duplicate. Too many times people lose sight of the importance of the backup quarterback race and making sure you have a guy that's ready. Landry Jones narrowly beat out Drew Allen in 2009, and like the Sooners learned the hard way, the old adage of "You're only one play away" is a cliche that's far from meaningless.

Kevin Bright in Oklahoma City asked: David, Should the Sooners trade Westbrook? How will the loss of Murry effect the Thunder? You know he scored a bunch of touchdowns to get them to the Western Conference Finals? And speaking of the Finals why did Stoops go small and allow the Mavs all those rebounds. And do you think Scott Brooks would leave for the Ohio State job if Tressel gets handed his gold pants? I am so confused, is it August yet? Any way, no way Alabama is going to beat the Thunder next year! Sooners should be #1. Always have been, always will be. At least to me. And sometimes in the polls. You da man.

DU: Ha. I'm not sure why, but this e-mail made me laugh. I had to share. But seriously ... is it August yet?

Keyser Soze in Houston asked: Big 12 talk is always about the offense. Tell me which teams you think are going to do the most damage on the defensive side of the ball. NU is out so the conference is losing some of the little defensive credibility it had. Texas played pretty well considering they had no offense to give them a breather, but they have to replace the secondary. A&M started off pretty porous but was playing pretty impressive late in the year, unfortunately they have von miller to replace. Missouri could be pretty good and an unconfirmed rumor says tubberville can teach red raiders to spell tackle.

DU: I generally think Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Texas A&M will battle it out for the Big 12's best defense. Tech is still a year away on both sides of the ball, but if they can stick around and win 7-8 games this season, the Red Raiders could be in position for a Big 12 title run in 2012.

Those first four defenses are pretty complete, with a few minor problems. Whoever fixes them the best will come out on top. The Aggies have to figure out how to replace Michael Hodges, which I actually think will be harder to do than replacing Miller. Missouri has to make sure its new corners are as good as the coaches think they are.

Texas' secondary, as you mentioned, is really young. But there's no denying Texas' ability to pump out DBs and getting Duane Akina back was huge for the Horns. Oklahoma has some inexperience in the secondary and some questions at defensive tackle, but I doubt those two positions will drop below average at worst.

Lou in USA asked: You seem to post on the comment section more than the other bloggers. What do you think of the new format? I personally like it.

DU: I like it a lot. I think it'll make it easier for people to carry on conversations about linear topics without a lot of distraction. That's what the comments section is all about, and helping accomplish that is a good thing.

Everyone on the Internet generally hates every change at first, but they get used to it over time. I'm sure the comments section will be the same.

Matthew in Rolla asked: Hey David! I read the article about Big 12 rivalries that "should be." How about Missouri vs. Arkansas or Iowa?

DU: Missouri needs one, but it's best nonconference rivalry (Illinois) just ended. Arkansas already plays its old SWC rival, Texas A&M, and with an SEC schedule looming, doesn't need to add Missouri. The same with Iowa, who plays Iowa State every year in nonconference anyway.

In theory, those games would be great, but Iowa and Arkansas are busy with other series to add Missouri. The Tigers have a nice marquee nonconference matchup in probably Pac-12 South favorite Arizona State this year, but finding a geographic rival outside of Illinois would be a nice move in the future.

Larry Scott in Walnut Creek, Calif., asked: David, in my massive marketing deal for the 12-Pack, I used a company called Pac-12 Media Enterprises and that company is a for-profit holding company for the conference. Does creating a FOR-profit company to collect hundreds of millions of dollars for NON-profit educational institutions make you nervous?

DU: I'll just say this: yes.

Matt in Dallas: Should the conference look at each team playing a 4-4-1 "Big 12" schedule? As in 4 home games, 4 away games, and 1 neutral site? If so, which teams should play which and where should they play the games?

DU: Yeah, teams definitely need to look into doing that. It can be tough to fill the seats in games like that (see: Missouri versus Kansas and Iowa State versus Kansas State at Arrowhead last season) but playing five away games in conference seems like a rough deal for coaches.

As the league's strength fluctuates, somebody is going to get completely hammered on a road schedule one of these years, too. Could see some really good teams lose 2-4 games as a result.

Did the Pac-12 upstage the Big 12's TV deal?

May, 4, 2011
Later today, the Pac-12 is expected to announce a television deal with Fox and ESPN worth $3 billion over 12 years, an average of $250 million annually.

Last month, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe was lauded for his role in negotiating a $1.2 billion deal with Fox over 13 years for his league, an average of $90 million annually.

So, what's the deal? Has the Big 12 been swindled yet again by that two-faced, Longhorn-yielding, walking he-devil commish? (For our less loyal Big 12 blog readers, that's a joke.)

Well... no.

But will the Pac-12 one-up the Big 12's recent television deal?

How does "Yes, no and maybe" sound?

Let me explain.

For those unwilling to read past the big numbers, that $3 billion is for first and second-tier rights, shared between Fox and ESPN for every football game and likely every conference basketball game.

Under the Pac-12's new revenue sharing deal (it's equal! Sort of!) every team will receive over $20 million.

(Side note: Spare me the specious argument that equal revenue sharing equals parity. Ohio State has won at least a share of the Big Ten for seven consecutive years, while the SEC trumpeted its five consecutive national titles from four teams. Both share revenue equally. Someone call me when Indiana and Kentucky win a conference championship and I'll recommend the Big 12 kick a few more dollars Iowa State's way.)

For now, yes, it's more money. Soon, that may not be the case.

We live in an era where sports are more popular than ever, and if you haven't noticed while fast forwarding the commercials on your DVR'd sitcoms, is one of the most valuable places for advertisers to make sure you see their products.

Goodbye weeknight primetime, hello Saturday afternoon.

The big payoff for the Big 12 could be years down the road. Among the elite conferences, the Big 12 will get the last crack at big TV money when its first-tier rights are up for renewal in four years. Fox, for the first time in a long time, is planning to air regular season games on its flagship station, rather than Fox Sports. It's also putting games on the cable network FX, which reaches nearly as many homes as ESPN and ESPN2. To me, that expresses a pretty strong intent to get serious as a major player in broadcasting college sports, which is good news for the Big 12's future.

"We have another bite at the apple with our primary rights," Kevin Sweeney, the Big 12's lawyer, told me last month.

Does anyone, between now and then, see the passion for college football being tempered, viewers suddenly being compelled to watch the ads breaking up their favorite shows, and the Big 12 being left hungry?

I don't.

If anything, it could be intensified.

The Big 12 should know better than to take all its games off the ESPN family of networks, and I doubt the league's members would sign off on such a move. Fox's clear intention to ramp up the price of airing college athletics though, whether it ultimately wins the Big 12's first-tier rights or not, should inspire something resembling a bidding war.

The Big 12 previously made $20 million a year on its second-tier rights. It now makes $90 million.

It currently makes $60 million per year on its primary rights, totaling $150 million in television revenue per year in the current contracts, which are staggered and gradually increase pay as the contract ages, keeping pace with inflation.

The Pac-12 will make about $250 million per year with its first and second-tier rights. That's divided between 12 teams.

If the Big 12 sees the same 350 percent spike in its primary rights as it did with its secondary rights, it would have its television revenue totals reach $360 million ($90 million second-tier + $270 million first-tier) per year. That's divided between 10 teams.

Now, I don't think the same sort of spike with the Big 12's premier games will actually happen. Those numbers are a generous extrapolation based on what we've seen so far this spring. Still, my point is this: The Big 12 should likely, at the very least, remain competitive. With traditional powers Oklahoma and Texas, as well as rising programs in Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Texas Tech, there should be some quality football being played in this league. And deals like the Pac-12's could serve as a bargaining chip.

Comparing the two leagues is up for debate. Texas and Oklahoma = Oregon and USC. The rest is essentially a wash that varies from year to year. Jim Harbaugh is gone and Andrew Luck will be after this year. Those stiff academic requirements aren't going anywhere, though. Does anybody want to bet on Stanford becoming a program accustomed to BCS appearances?

So, what about that pesky maybe?

That's where third-tier rights come in to play. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott pooled everyone together and looks bent on creating a Pac-12 Network, reserving the rights necessary to create it with the new television deal.

The Big 12? Frankly, on the third-tier rights front, it's a mess. Texas is rearing to go, with the Longhorn Network charging full steam ahead, prepping a few hoops games, a well-supported baseball team and plenty of coaches shows to fill the 24 hours, among other things. That should be a success, and Texas is already guaranteed $15 million per year from ESPN for 20 years, regardless of how much the network actually makes.

The rest of the Big 12? It has the rights, but distribution channels are still being discussed. A Big 12 Network is still miles away from becoming a reality. The debate over how much money Texas A&M and Oklahoma would get from the deal -- assuming it even happens -- should be an entertaining one and extend discussions. Not to mention finding a distribution partner, which even the Pac-12 hasn't done yet.

But how much money is even left to be made from third-tier rights? For now, it sound like no one other than the Big Ten and Texas has any idea. We won't know for a few years.

My guess is the Pac-12's top programs, with a united, 12-team network that splits revenue equally, won't make as much as their Big 12 counterparts. The programs near the bottom of the Pac-12, I would guess, should make substantially more than their Big 12 counterparts.

So in that sense, how much the Pac-12 makes compared to the Big 12 is all a matter of perspective.

But when it comes to television revenue, is it more?

Yes, no and maybe.
Once the Big 12 held together over the summer, two things were a big threat to its future:

1. Another league proactively reviving the realignment discussion, and

2. The money in future TV contracts not satisfying its remaining 10 members.

The Sports Business Journal on Monday morning reported that the Big 12 was nearing a deal with Fox that was worth about $60 million annually, triple what the league's current eight-year deal is worth. By the time the deal is signed, it could be worth as much as $70 million.

Additionally, the eight teams other than Texas and Oklahoma were in formal talks about forming a Big 12 Network that would not provide a "financial windfall" but could aid schools in other ways, like recruiting.

So, what does the new deal mean? Well, there's a lot to it. Let's dig in.

Plenty was made over the summer about the Big 12's promise of $20 million annually to Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, but remember, Texas and OU both said it wasn't necessary. Texas A&M is the only school, according to comments by Bill Byrne, that plans to hold the Big 12 to that promise, perhaps at the expense of other schools in the Big 12.

But combined with the new deal from Fox, Big 12 schools will split up $130 million between 10 teams. Even you non-mathematicians can figure out that comes out to about $13 million per school. With TV revenue and the Big 12's unequal revenue sharing agreement, I'll extrapolate the most recent available figures and guesstimate that the traditionally bottom-tier teams would be earning about $10-11 million and top-tier teams like Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M would be near $15-16 million, without the money from a Big 12 Network, which is a little too far from a reality just yet to start tossing out money figures. Again, factoring in the Fox deal, that's a rough estimate, so don't hold me to it. If A&M is going to get to $20 million by 2012-13 like it was promised, it could take some fancy footwork from the Big 12 to do it. Factoring in the money from the Big 12 Network would help get them pretty close, and at that point, we're talking about giving A&M a couple extra million at most to satisfy the $20 million demand. No official distribution strategy for Colorado and Nebraska's exit fees ($16.1 million combined) was ever publicized, so there's certainly money there that could be used. Another strategy could be to sandbag the Aggies and promise even more money when the league begins its negotiations with ESPN/ABC in 2015-16, which is an eight-year deal worth $480 million (or $60 million annually). Considering the success with the Fox negotiations, convincing any school that more money could be coming from ESPN would be much easier than it was this summer, and Dan Beebe and the Big 12 succeeded in doing it without any actual money in their hands.

Why would Fox pay triple the money for a league that looks like it'll have fewer marquee games without Nebraska in the fold? Well, that's a question I don't have an answer to, but for now, it doesn't matter.

It's important to note that the Fox deal isn't official yet, but it's hard to be too surprised by the numbers. The Big 12 played it coy all summer when discussing the actual figures, but the league said that television networks had indicated to them that future deals could make the league's members very happy, and happy enough to stay in the Big 12, specifically Texas and Texas A&M, the biggest threats to leave. That's no different than any other company.

Want to keep someone from looking elsewhere? Give them a raise. It won't fix everything, but it will make them more apt to stay.

Beebe indicated to me last month that the Pac-12 was the only conference without serious reservations about creating a conference with more than 12 teams, so the threat of Texas A&M leaving for the SEC is lowered significantly, considering that without others expanding, the SEC has no reason to add anyone past its 12 members.

"What I talk about with my colleagues is that the whole exploration this summer led everybody to believe that -- well, not everybody, because I think Larry Scott has a different view in the Pac-10 -- but the rest of us who have been around collegiate athletics for our whole careers think that if you get past 12, it really gets unwieldy and you run into all sorts of other problems," Beebe said. "Playing outside your region, stretching the fan base, stretching parents' ability to see their kids play and all that stuff. Nobody is really looking to do more than that in a football athletic conference. You've got the Big East, but you can't really consider it the same with eight of their members not playing football."

That's a legitimate point, and one that prevented further expansion in reaction to the Big Ten and Pac-12's moves last summer. If Texas had helped create the Pac-16, it could have vastly changed matters for the SEC and Big Ten, but for now, in part thanks to the new money from Fox, it's difficult to see the Pac-12 finding viable future members to grow beyond its current 12 teams and simultaneously force other conferences to consider their own expansion.

Beebe, Texas and Texas A&M all deserve some credit for saving the Big 12 this summer. Now, if this latest deal or something close to it ends up being officially signed, there's no doubt that the league is significantly strengthened.

Q&A: Dan Beebe on the Big 12's future

February, 10, 2011
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)

Lunch links: Time for spring game at night

February, 4, 2011
I, unfortunately, punched Ron in the face, and in some way, it kind of brought the house a lot closer.

Beebe, Delany talk expansion, playoff

December, 9, 2010
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe took part in a forum in New York earlier this week alongside other conference commissioners, including the Big Ten's Jim Delany, and of course, expansion and a college football playoff were topics of discussion.

In short, don't expect a playoff soon.
Delany warned that the plus-1 format would lead to a slippery slope, where conference commissioners would not be able to stop further expansion. “Take a look at regular-season basketball,” he said, adding that the expanded tournament has devalued the regular season. "One leads to four, and four leads to eight. You won't be able to stop it."

While I agree that there's little reason for optimism regarding a college football playoff, I disagree with Delany's sentiment. By now, I'm tired of reading playoff scenarios, so I won't bother writing one, but I'm generally in support of an eight-team playoff.

He's right up until he gets to eight, but then what? Not much. In any given season, there are four teams playing national championship-caliber football. Sometimes, that number broaches eight. Never does it reach 16, and I don't hear much chatter from anyone clamoring for a college football playoff to expand to that many teams.

Not everyone likes the idea of an eight-team playoff, and that's fine. Delany is in that group. But I have a hard time believing anyone would ever make a serious push for a championship bracket to expand further.

Beebe and Delany agreed that a playoff would make more money, but, "It would be a huge disservice to players to add games," Beebe said.

Again, I disagree. Finals are wrapping up this week or next week at universities across the country, but the two weeks that follow aren't exactly jam-packed.

Anyway, Beebe got a somewhat humorous quip in when the subject of Delany and Pac-10 commissioner's efforts over the summer came up. Both raided the Big 12 and made their leagues both 12-member conferences.

Beebe referred to both Delany and Scott as predators before laughing and adding that he ""won't put them in a headlock yet.”