Big 12: Mike Alden

Lunch links: Prepping for Big 12 meetings

May, 30, 2012
Chalk this up as the weirdest story of the week.

Fun with Big 12 AD salaries!

May, 24, 2012
USA Today released its annual survey of athletic director salaries, noting that they're rising almost as fast as coaching salaries. How did the Big 12 stack up?

Here's how they ranked:
  • DeLoss Dodds, Texas: $1,095,756
  • Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma: $975,000
  • Bill Byrne, Texas A&M: $690,000
  • Mike Alden, Missouri: $659,775
  • Kirby Hocutt, Texas Tech: $580,000
  • Jamie Pollard, Iowa State: $450,000
  • Sheahon Zenger, Kansas: $450,000
  • Ian McCaw, Baylor: $423,449
  • John Currie, Kansas State: $412,500
  • Mike Holder, Oklahoma State: $387,560

I kept old Big 12 schools in this list because they were in the Big 12 when these numbers were taken.

For the new schools?
  • Oliver Luck, West Virginia: $405,600
  • TCU's Chris Del Conte was paid $115,639 for a partial-year salary. He took over in October 2009, and his full salary was not available on public tax returns.

The most surprising name on the list was Mike Holder, who is at the bottom of the list, despite holding the position since 2005. Oklahoma State's not exactly starved for money these days, either.

Kansas State's John Currie is a newcomer to the job, and a first-time athletic director who has helped K-State become the most profitable athletic department in the country. You've got to expect a raise is coming his way, even though he had a high-profile gaffe when hoops coach Frank Martin exited stage right all the way to South Carolina.

Not surprising to see Texas and OU at the top, but that's a pretty big gap between Dodds, Castiglione and the rest of the league, especially now that Missouri and Texas A&M are gone.

Dodds is only the fourth-highest paid AD, behind Vanderbilt, Florida and Louisville's athletic directors.

What else stuck out to you?

Big 12 coaches not fans of hasty Gill exit

November, 28, 2011
Turner Gill was fired by Kansas on Sunday with a 5-19 record and just a 1-16 record in Big 12 play, but his former peers in the Big 12 disagreed with the decision.

"I think it’s bad for our profession. Especially in the sport of football, with so many bodies and such a philosophy to build and all the development that takes place," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said of Gill's dismissal after two seasons. "We’re in our third year here and we’re just now starting to see the physical differences needed to compete in that league."

Rhoads said his team got "physically whooped" in a 52-0 loss at Oklahoma last year. This year, the 26-6 result was much closer, and he credits his strength staff for beefing up both of his lines, something that can't be accomplished so quickly.

"That takes time to build that up," he said. "It’s bad for our profession, coaches getting two years and then being let go."

Part of the reason Gill didn't get an additional year or more to fulfill his five-year, $10 million contract was the man who hired him, Lew Perkins, had since retired amidst a ticket scandal and been replaced by Sheahon Zenger. Having a man in the administration willing to fight for Gill could have changed his fate.

"That’s very unusual. I’m glad I have (athletic director) Mike Alden here, so when we were building our program here at the beginning, I had somebody to stand up for me," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "I think there’s no way in the world you can build your program, a program that’s been down, and flip it that quick, or even have a chance to flip it that quick. I think it’s really disappointing."

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops admits every situation is different, but as a coach, he hoped the same principle persisted through every department.

"For all coaches, I wish that we’d all have more time," he said.

Texas coach Mack Brown, who is the nation's highest-paid coach at $5.1 million, says it's indicative of the changing landscape of college sports, and the importance of football programs within an athletic department.

"College football has become more like the NFL. There’s a tremendous amount of money involved. My salary, for example. The salaries that coaches are making now are so much more than before," Brown said. "Facilities, the arms race in facilities. We have 101,000 people that bring a whole lot of money to the city of Austin each weekend we play here. They bring a whole lot of money to the University of Texas."

Brown reminded that Gill was on the short list of up-and-coming coaches sought after by several programs only a few years ago, and a year removed from a MAC title at downtrodden Buffalo, ended up at Kansas.

"Turner Gill is a really good man, he’s a smart man, he’s a really good football coach or he couldn’t have won at Buffalo. He’s a guy that everybody in the country was talking about as being a great young coach, and I know absolutely, two years isn’t long enough to get a program turned around," Brown said. "I am a Turner Gill fan. I hate to see this happen to him and that staff. They had some really good coaches on that staff and I hope he can find a new place quickly, because he’s a guy that college football needs."

Lunch links: Mizzou and Texas recruiting

November, 18, 2011
Who cares about letters? The only good font is the Sopranos' one, where the "r" is a pistol.

DeLoss Dodds: Big 12's highest-paid AD

October, 6, 2011
USA Today dug up the salaries for athletic directors at every FBS school, and in the Big 12, it's no surprise who came out on top.

Texas' DeLoss Dodds was one of six athletic directors making over $1 million.

Here's how the Big 12 ranked:

DeLoss Dodds, Texas: $1,095,756

Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma: $975,000

Bill Byrne, Texas A&M: $690,000

Mike Alden, Missouri: $659,775

Kirby Hocutt, Texas Tech: $580,000

Jamie Pollard, Iowa State: $450,000

Sheahon Zenger, Kansas: $450,000

Ian McCaw, Baylor: $423, 449

John Currie, Kansas State: $412,500

Mike Holder, Oklahoma State: $387,560

Big 12's latest meeting shows progress

September, 28, 2011
GRAPEVINE, Texas -- The Big 12's nine remaining athletic directors met on Tuesday with new commissioner Chuck Neinas.

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard, the chairman of the athletic directors, was slated to speak to a few waiting media members after the meeting, but Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds left the room before Pollard.

"I'm not talking," he said, hardly slowing his pace out of the Hilton hotel. "Jamie's talking."

A few minutes later, Missouri athletic director Mike Alden also declined comment, only noting later that it was "a crazy time."

"Jamie's talking," Alden said. "We all talked about it in there."

The Big 12 may not have any restrictions from leaving the league in writing yet, but considering the league's last formal meeting, Tuesday can certainly be considered progress.

"As far as formal agreements, we're working towards that," Pollard said. "I can't give you specifics, because that's something that's still a work in progress, but I will tell you that all nine member institutions are fully engaged and committed to putting together the necessary agreements to put together the kind of stability that we all want to have."

In short, that means granting the most valuable media rights, Tier 1 and Tier 2, to the conference for six years. If that's done, media appearance money would be paid to the Big 12. If a school left, the Big 12 would collect revenue from media appearances, not the new school itself, and that money couldn't be transferred to its new conference.

The school would be valuable to the Big 12 and only the Big 12.

That's not done yet, and for now, Missouri could leave the conference under the same conditions Texas A&M did, likely only facing a stiff exit fee.

"Could people change their position? Yeah, that's human nature," Pollard said. "I don't anticipate that happening. I really don't, and the special committee is clearly going to work toward initiatives that will further solidify so that doesn't happen."

Chairman of the board of directors, Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton, assembled the special committee to deal with the league's ongoing issues, appointing members from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa State.

No consensus on the Big 12's future membership has been reached ("It could be 9, 10, 12, 16. Pick a number," Pollard said.) but the Big 12's athletic directors did begin examining schedules should the league move forward into the 2012 season with just nine members.

Group meetings concluded on Tuesday, and directors will meet one-on-one with Neinas on Wednesday. The Big 12 is still reeling from the loss of three members in 15 months, but a day after Texas A&M made its exit official, Pollard remains hopeful of the Big 12's future.

"Each institution has to figure out what's right for them, and you come out of it stronger on the other side. It feels like that today. The nine of us in that room? We've been through a lot together. An awful lot together," Pollard said. "Our obituary has been written several times, and it hasn't come to fruition. That's strengthened us, and we said this a year ago. Ultimately, we have to prove it. We have to prove it. But I feel very comfortable with the individuals in that room that are my peers and our league is going to be a very viable league."

At least this time, there was nobody talking over him.

What they're saying: Big 12 recommital

September, 23, 2011
Last night wasn't a good one for the Big 12, but it's at least the start of a new chapter in realignment. All schools other than A&M committed to the Big 12 on a conference call Thursday evening but there was an apparent disagreement on how far talks went toward granting media rights to the conference, which would keep all nine teams in the league for at least six years, and likely longer.

Here's a collection of opinions from last night in the Big 12. Lots of great stuff from all over the place. Check it out.

The Big 12 is trying to secure itself, but for now, it's still a mess, writes's Andy Staples:
Boren and Deaton told two different stories Thursday. While they gave matching accounts of the ouster of Commissioner Dan Beebe -- more like a ritual sacrifice to the realignment gods -- they differed sharply in tone when it came to the key piece of legislation that could actually keep the league together for more than a few months.

...The security of the Big 12 boils down to this: If the schools sign that grant of rights deal, the league will stay together for at least as long as the deal is in place. If the schools don't sign that deal, we'll all be watching Realignmentpalooza again this time next year.

If the deal gets signed, the Big 12 will be able to lure either one or three more schools to join. If the deal doesn't get signed, it might be hard to find a decent school that wants to join a group that has created such a toxic atmosphere in recent years.

The Big 12 is committed, sure, but it may end up being a tense, forced commitment, writes Bryan D. Fischer of
Chaos? Nah. We're all one big happy family.

Texas is in. Oklahoma too. Missouri has helped lead the charge.

That's the message that came out of middle America Thursday night. The Big 12 was saved and nine teams are committed to the future. Things were different, it was time to move forward.

Despite the Sooners flirting with the Pac-12 and the Tigers with the SEC, everybody was staying put. The other Big 12 schools pledged solidarity led by the two schools who had explored leaving more than anyone.

But did Missouri commit? It looks like the door is still open to the SEC, writes Mike DeArmond of the Kansas City Star.
Not only did MU chancellor Brady Deaton and athletic director Mike Alden decline to confirm the university’s commitment in the long or short term to the Big 12, the Tigers’ interest in the Southeastern Conference is very much alive.

“We either stick in the Big 12 because everything came about the way it needs to, the right way, with all the differences being settled in Missouri’s favor,” a university administrator who asked not to be identified told The Star on Thursday night. “But what are the odds of that happening?

“The other option is to join another conference and I believe that is something that we’re very open to.”

Oklahoma is getting bopped again by Texas, but there's only one place the Sooners can strike back, writes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman.
The Sooner masses, bloodied and bowed by yet another Longhorn stampede, need a little balm. A little salve. Need to be reminded of what's really important.

The crimson cladded need a victory in the Cotton Bowl in two weeks. By a resounding score, if possible.

That October Saturday is the only thing that saves the Sooners from the madness of being under DeLoss Dodds' thumb.

The Big 12 lives, and so does Texas' boardroom winning streak. Texas always wins in the boardroom.

Missouri definitely isn't leaving any doors shut just yet, writes Dave Matter of the Columbia Tribune.
In a cramped Jesse Hall meeting room, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton left the door open for Missouri to saunter on out.

Fresh off a conference call in which the Big 12 board of directors agreed on several new measures, including the ouster of Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe, Deaton talked a lot about the conference working to solve problems but stopped short of declaring unequivocal long-term commitment to the Big 12.

Asked if Missouri could change conferences if the Big 12’s problems are beyond repair, Deaton said, “That’s a hypothetical that could occur. In a sense, anything is possible.”

Oklahoma didn't win as handily as it thought it did, writes Travis Haney of The Oklahoman.
An early evening conference call with the league's leadership led to a news conference at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in which Boren declared “victory” for his school.

Multiple Big 12 sources said later, though, that the win was not quite as measurable as Boren told reporters.

Concern across Big 12 for league's future

September, 3, 2011
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."

A look inside the Big 12's new cash equality

June, 14, 2011
For the Big 12's entire 15-year history, it divvied up 57 percent of the conference's cash equally. The other 43 percent, however, was handed out according to a number of factors, most notably a program's television appearances.

However, at the end of the Big 12's annual meetings, a year after losing two members, it announced that 76 percent of its conference revenue would now be shared equally. (More on what that means here.)

Beebe isn't ready, considering the numerous variables, to venture a guess as to how far the gap will be from the top-earning to the bottom-earning team, but while the percentage of revenue shared equally rises, I'd expect the difference in actual dollars to remain somewhat constant.

So, instead of the $12 million versus $8 million we've seen in recent years, think somewhere along the lines of $22 million versus $17 million or more in the future.

"We’re going to have to see," Beebe told in a recent interview.

Now that all of the Big 12 home games will be televised, bonuses (or unit values, Beebe called them) will be given to teams who earn appearances on over-the-air television, like games on ABC or Fox versus Fox Sports Net, ESPN or FX.

"There were a number of appearances that Nebraska and Colorado had on ABC and where those appearances go will be interesting," he said. "Some schools like Texas and Oklahoma have already maxed out on the appearances, so they’re going to have to go to somewhere else, and those are the games that we pay, that we provide some money, some unit values, for getting on the broadcast."

The idea to amend the Big 12's policy began when the television negotiating committee recommended it to the rest of the conference. That group, which helped negotiate the recent contract with Fox, was made up of two presidents and three athletic directors across the Big 12. The committee members:
  • Iowa State president Greg Geoffroy
  • Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis
  • Missouri AD Mike Alden
  • Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione
  • Texas AD DeLoss Dodds

With a whole lot more money on the way, the league chose to reassess how it distributed its revenue.

"[The league's members] looked at all different models and decided this was the one that would best accommodate the conference," Beebe said.

The gap will be hard to project, specifically because nonconference schedules fluctuate from year to year, and some broadcasts aren't selected until the season begins, and are tallied up after the year.

Bowl expense reimbursements can also factor into the gap between the highest- and lowest-earning teams in the Big 12, Beebe said.

"It was unanimous; it sailed through pretty easily," Beebe said. "It’s another demonstration, like we’ve said about our television agreement and other things that we’re doing, of how solid this conference is, and how much their probably hasn’t been in the history of the conference, this type of unity and appreciation for each other."

Mailbag: Realignment review, A&M vs. OSU

June, 1, 2011
Thanks for the questions, all. Didn't get yours answered? Drop it in my mailbag.

Greg in Omaha, NE asked: Hey David,I read the article you posted about a week ago about Colorado commenting on how the comments coming out of Missouri got their attention about conference realignment. It's been reported up here that it had the same effect on Nebraska. I know Texas has been painted by some as the bad guy, but I think the Missouri officials that campaigned for Big 10 membership had a big role as well. Your thoughts? Love the blog. We have a lot of history with the Big 8/12, and I will miss a lot of it. Will still read your blog and follow our former conference mates closely. I'm very optimistic about the future of the Big 12.

DU: Well, before we start this, let's clear one thing up: Jay Nixon doesn't work for the University of Missouri. That said, he does represent the state and his comments didn't help Missouri at all.

It's definitely up for debate on just how influential those comments were in the grander scheme of realignment. But if Missouri had any choice, I'm sure they'd prefer he didn't say anything if they had last summer to do over again.

And the whole idea of painting someone as a "bad guy" in last summer's realignment is a little ridiculous. Everyone acted in self-interest. Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma ... everybody. Some were more adept at getting what they wanted, but it's off-base to cast anybody a "bad guy."

Missouri was the most overtly flirtatious (i.e. Brady Deaton and Mike Alden refusing to say anything but they're a "proud member of the Big 12" when asked about any desires toward the Big Ten) school, but Missouri clearly felt like the Big Ten would be a good move. Since when is wanting to make things better for your school a bad thing?

Terry Nixon in Marietta, Georgia writes: David,I just feel you are geting pretty tiresome in putting TAMU above OSU. Everything you write seems to downplay OSU's accomplishments and praise TAMU's.

For example:.Which team will disappoint this year--OSU not TAMU. This column--OU will hinder and TAMU will definitely get to BCS bowl (TAMU plays OU every year also).

Record Last 5 yrs OSU 43-22: TAMU 35-29

I would say Gundy has proven he is a better coach than Sherman and Boon's Billions give us just as much of a financial edge. Opinions are fine but don't pretend to analyze numbers because TAMU loses. TLN--OSU 69'

DU: Easy there, big guy. I can show you plenty of e-mails from Aggies fans who feel the exact opposite way you do. Classic case of fan paranoia.

One, I'm not sure what the second thing you said I wrote was. Two, five-year records aren't very relevant to how either team will do in 2011. (How long has Mike Sherman been at Texas A&M again? Oh, right.)

Most (read: all) of the time, when people say I do nothing but criticize a team, they haven't read everything I wrote about said team, or really even more than a few things. Never mind that I voted Oklahoma State higher on my post-spring poll than Texas A&M.

I believe the Aggies defense will be better than Oklahoma State's, and it'll be close between the offenses. Texas A&M has the ability to run with power better than any team in the Big 12, but I'd take Brandon Weeden over Ryan Tannehill.

That said, when I say Oklahoma State has the biggest ability to be a disappointment in 2011, it's because of the lack of Dana Holgorsen. Being concerned about a team trying to replace one of college football's best offensive minds is hardly off base, and if Oklahoma State can't do it and if Todd Monken doesn't work out, the Cowboys are probably looking at an 8-9 win season, far short of expectations for a team that should begin the season near or inside the top 10.

Chris in Kansas City, Kansas asked: If Tate Forcier were to transfer to Kansas State, what are the chances of the wildcats to contend for a big 12 title and possibly, a BCS Bowl?

DU: He'd help, but probably not to that level. Kansas State still needs a lot of help in other places before it's on the level of a team that can certainly compete for conference titles. Forcier could grow into a playmaker, but he still has a lot of developing to do.

Jon in Davis, Calif. writes: "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."Welcome to the P10 format of yesteryear. It was this format that prohibited USC from making an additional 2 BCS, arguably title game appearances in the 2000's.

DU: I don't know about that. It didn't help USC, but during the Trojans' peak years in the mid-'00s, the Pac-10 was never as good as the Big 12 was last year or should be this year.

We'll see if the Big 12 keeps this up, but this whole nine-game schedule thing might become a bigger issue for the Big 12 soon.

Mark in Stillwater, Okla. asked: Do you think Oklahoma State would have had a 13-1 record in 2010 if they had won Bedlam? That team seemed to improve throughout the season...

DU: I do. Oklahoma State matched up well with Nebraska, and proved it could put up points in the 51-41 loss in Stillwater earlier that year. But clearly, Nebraska was a different team late in the season. So was Oklahoma State. But Oklahoma State's defense had improved while its offense remained constant.

There was no way Nebraska was hanging 41 against anybody late in the season, and Taylor Martinez wasn't throwing for another 300 yards against a maturing Cowboys secondary.

I don't think I need to detail much more about Connecticut. That team was pretty unqualified to play in a BCS bowl. The result would have been similar to what Oklahoma did to the Huskies.

Pinkel, Alden will ring opening bell on Friday

December, 16, 2010
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel and athletic director Mike Alden will ring the opening bell for trading at the NASDAQ market on Friday morning.

The daily honor will be aired online, or fans can view it on a financial television network at 9:15 a.m. ET.

"This is a big honor, it’s going to be a real thrill to be there in person and see the inner workings of the market," Pinkel said in a statement. "I’ve always had an interest in the market and have followed it as much as possible, but certainly haven’t ever had this kind of opportunity, so I’m looking forward to representing Mizzou and the Insight Bowl."

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta will also be on hand, and the group is taking part in the ceremony as part of the Insight Bowl, which is sponsored by Insight Enterprises.

Iowa and Missouri will play on Dec. 28 in Tempe, Ariz.

Lunch links: Title-chasing Texas

August, 30, 2010
Two of the best team names from my fantasy league from college that drafted last night: Texas Chainsaw Massaquoi and Matt Schaub Lob Blog, the rare, seamless intersection of football and Arrested Development.

My weak effort: 2nd That Emo Shonn. Despite the Motown/Smokey Robinson love, I'm frustrated and ashamed.

Clarifying the distribution of withdrawal fees

June, 16, 2010
The Big 12 will evenly distribute any revenue withdrawn from Colorado and Nebraska as part of the bylaws for leaving the conference.

Commissioner Dan Beebe referenced an offer by the five schools (Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor) not drawing interest from other BCS conferences to give Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M all of the Buffaloes' and Huskers' exit fees.

That spawned reports that the offer was agreed upon, which would contradict statements by Missouri AD Mike Alden and Texas AD DeLoss Dodds' on Tuesday afternoon.

Dodds, who spoke before Beebe on Tuesday, said this about any changes to the Big 12's current distribution, including the money from exit fees:
"We do not have any guarantees from the league or our northern partners. There have been reports that there's going to be a special deal for some of us using penalty money or other money," [Texas president Bill] Powers said. "We were not part of that. We have heard about that. … It was not part of our consideration and we oppose that kind of deal."

Later Tuesday, Alden added his own denial:
During Missouri’s news conference, Alden said, “There is no accuracy to that whatsoever.” Later, he continued by saying, “I haven’t heard that, and none of us in our league would believe that.”

But Big 12 spokesman Bob Burda confirmed to The Associated Press that all schools will share the withdrawal fees, and the discussion was simply a "good-faith offer."

There may be a dispute looming over Nebraska's withdrawal fee, however. During last Friday's news conference, Nebraska AD Tom Osborne said he didn't feel it was "appropriate" to impose the penalties spelled out in the conference bylaws on the Huskers for leaving.

Later Friday, Beebe said he was "curious" to hear Nebraska's case for the fees being lifted.

Get used to purgatory, Missouri

June, 11, 2010
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.

Notes, quotes and...a Big 12 Network?

June, 3, 2010
KANSAS CITY--Everyone's a big, happy family. Everyone's saying the right things.

"“We’re not mad at anybody,” said Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne.

"Missouri's a proud member of the Big 12," said Missouri athletic director Mike Alden. "We have been for some time. We look forward to the future."

And sure, it's believable. It's honest.

But unless they're staring across the table at at $22 million payday (eventually, anyway, even if the Big Ten imposes initial restrictions on their revenue), it doesn't mean a thing. And until the Big Ten formally drags its bags full of cash to the negotiating table, anything anyone from Missouri or Nebraska lacks any real impact. Maybe that meeting never happens and the Big 12 escapes with all 12 members safely on board with seat backs and tray tables in full upright positions. (Are we done with that yet?)

“I think there’s as good a chance, and commissioner Delany has said this, that they’ll not do anything as there is that they’ll do something,” commissioner Dan Beebe said.

I believe the Big Ten will elect to act, but Beebe is right, Delany's left that option on the table and it's clearly the most attractive scenario for the Big 12.

But the Big Ten still holds all the leverage and no amount of public commitments to the Big 12 will keep either school's tune from changing if the Big Ten encourages them to apply.

ACC provides inspiration

The Big 12 brass was extremely encouraged by the ACC's impressive 12-year, $1.86 billion television deal, especially considering it came during an economic downturn. If the economy finally reaches an upswing, more money, combined with a clearly more attractive on-field product, provides Beebe with an attractive case to present to the conference's members as an incentive to remain in the Big 12.

But he stressed that television revenue was only part of the decisions to be made.

"I don't think anybody should judge this as only connected to television. I hope there's so much more value that this association provides to our institutions," Beebe said, providing higher contributions than ever to the universities as an example.

Quotes of the day

"And the connotation of commitment doesn’t involve wondering if someone else is going to come along. I feel like my wife is committed to me and if George Clooney comes by, that commitment means she’s not going to run after him.

“Now another word is maybe obligation. There’s an obligation to this conference based on the long-term relationships and the fact that you’re a member of the conference and all that. What I want to do is convert that obligation into commitment.”

- Commissioner Dan Beebe, on receiving a commitment from the universities

“We’re not at the airport yet. We might be on the shuttle van. … Whether we get to that stage yet remains to be seen.”

- Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione, who spent most of his time with the media on Wednesday preaching the importance of keeping the Big 12 together

Bohn keeps quiet

One AD who was far from quotable on Wednesday was Colorado's Mike Bohn, who refused to answer any questions dealing in speculation.

"Speculation about other members and how that impacts our league is simply that," he said. "Those hypothetical developments are simply that."

Don't expect a Big 12 Network

One of the driving forces behind the Big Ten's boon and possible expansion has been the success of the Big Ten Network. So why can't the Big 12 try to follow the lead of their neighbors to the North?

"Before I got this role, when I was in the chief operating officer role, we looked carefully at doing that before we did our last television deal," Beebe said. "Part of it was along the same lines of what the SEC concluded, which is that it would too much disrupt--really what you need with a network is you need no distribution of programming from any other source. Everybody's compelled to have to take the network. And so, just like I think the SEC concluded--and maybe the ACC, I don't know--we don't want to pull that back from our institutions. We want to allow other programming and other games to be distributed. And at the time, it was a good deal from ABC and ESPN, so that's what we and our members chose to do."

So, that's that. By "other programming," Beebe means university-produced content either provided by subscription or free on the school's website, or possibly pay-per-view options that schools like Missouri have employed in the past.

I'll have plenty more notes from yesterday's meetings later this morning. So keep checking back.