Big 12: Rick Perry
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.
- Texas governor Rick Perry is leaving the SEC discussion to Texas A&M's regents, report Andrew Logue and Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register.
- Today's previously scheduled hearing at the Texas state capitol being postponed is a "good thing" for A&M's move to the SEC, reports Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News.
- Texas A&M's possible move to the SEC is just another sign of progress, writes David Whitley at Sporting News.
- The Big 12's future is a guessing game, writes Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star.
- Missouri's season opener against Western Illinois is on pay-per-view at $39.95. You guys lining up for that?
- Boone Pickens was on hand at Oklahoma State's practice on Monday.
- SI.com previews the Big 12.
- Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch would like to hook Loftin up to a lie detector.
- Kansas State president Kirk Schulz says the Big 12 should pursue aggressive expansion if Texas A&M leaves.
- College football needs its own division in college athletics, writes Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- Baylor is a winner at last, and has the preseason expectations to prove it.
- Did Oklahoma State opponents know the Cowboys' offensive signals?
- What does Elvis Fisher's injury mean for Missouri? Vahe Gregorian breaks it down.
- Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles? Well, he's untouchable, writes Mike Baldwin of The Oklahoman.
- The move outside for defensive end Alex Okafor will be a big one for Texas' defense, writes Cedric Golden of the Austin American-Statesman.
- Texas A&M's new chancellor favors going to the SEC.
- Kansas lost a senior defensive tackle for six to eight weeks with a broken foot.
Perry was asked by reporters from the paper on Wednesday about recent swirling speculation surrounding the move.
"I'll be real honest with you. I just read about it the same time as y'all did. ... As far as I know, conversations are being had. That's frankly all I know. I just refer you to the university and the decision makers over there."
Perry once served as a yell leader for the university, whose president, R. Bowen Loftin, recently acknowledged that there was "uncertainty" regarding the university's future membership in the Big 12.
Texas A&M released this statement to the Dallas Morning News: "President Loftin is committed to doing what is best for Texas A&M not only now, but also into the future. We continue to have wide-ranging conversations regarding all aspects of the university, including both academics and athletics."
See more in our newser.
Nevermind Perry's passive voice, things appear to be quite active on the Texas A&M to the SEC front.
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds told the Austin American-Statesman that members of Coach Mack Brown's staff won't receive any raises to their base salaries because of the economic downturn affecting the university.
Dodds' announcement comes on the heels of Texas Gov. Rick Perry last week ordering the school to submit a plan on how to cut 5 percent of its budget funded by state money.
By comparison, all Texas assistants but coordinators Will Muschamp and Greg Davis pocketed salary bumps of 3 to 4 percent after last season. Muschamp's salary was nearly doubled when he was promoted to head coach-designate and Davis received an increase of 9 percent last season.
All Texas coaches will receive performance bonuses for team achievements during their 13-1 2009 season, which was capped with a 37-21 loss to Alabama in the BCS title game.
Playing in a Bowl Championship Series game will garner an assistant a one-time payment of 9 percent of his salary. The assistants also received a bonus between $3,000 and $5,000 for winning the Big 12 Conference title.
But the no-raises edict is significant on a couple of fronts.
First, Texas football is the most profitable college sports entity in the nation. Forbes Magazine ranked the Longhornfootball program last month as No. 1 among all college sports properties with a team value of $119 million and a profit in 2008 of $59 million.
It's also coming on the heels of a decision made last month by the Texas System Board of Regents, which amended Brown's contract to allow for a one-time $2 million retention bonus to be paid annually.
That decision was roundly criticized by members of the Texas faculty facing the budget cuts. But it has boosted Brown to the position as the highest-paid coach in the nation with an annual salary of $5 million.
That largess apparently won't extend to the Texas assistant coaches this season in terms of contract raises.
But don't necessarily feel sorry for them.
Most Texas coaches are already at the top -- or near it -- in comparisons with other assistant coaches around the nation.
It's still more than an hour before kickoff and the Aggies band already is seated and in place. There are more fans already in place in the stadium than you see in most places across the Big 12 this early.
But it still seems a little empty around here without the annual Aggie Bonfire.
This marks the 10-year anniversary of the Texas A&M bonfire collapse. It was one of the longest-running traditions in college football before the collapse on Nov. 18, 1999, that killed 12 people.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who served as a bonfire leader during his time at Texas A&M, has said he believes the tradition will return to campus in 2011 or possibly even next year.
The return would be one of the historic events in Texas A&M history. It would be an emotional event to be here if and when it ever returns.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
It's summertime and the stories are supposed to be drying up across college football.
That might be true everywhere except the Big 12, where we have all kinds of stories popping up these days. Here are some of the most notable after the weekend.
- Texas Monthly's Paul Burka wonders if Texas Gov. Rick Perry could end up in Texas A&M's academic administration after Elsa Murano resigned as Texas A&M's on Sunday. And the San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle's Brent Zwerneman relates an interesting anecdote involving Perry and Texas A&M football coach Mike Sherman.
- An analysis conducted by the Birmingham News indicates that the Big 12 was last among the six BCS-affiliated conferences with only 26 percent of its games played from 2006 through 2008 coming against opponents from the BCS-affiliated conferences.
- The Tulsa World has a great series of stories on Barry Switzer's departure from Oklahoma 20 seasons ago. Bill Haisten profiles Switzer and his thoughts about the Oklahoma program. John Hoover has an extensive Q&A session with Charles Thompson, the once-vilified former Oklahoma quarterback who now is a family man and a motivational speaker. And columnist Dave Sittler writes that Switzer was a pioneer in fostering race relations.
- Paul Myerburg of the New York Times' great blog "The Quad" ranks Baylor as the 79th best team in college football and predicts a 5-7 season for the Bears this season. Sound familiar?
- Ryan Faller of Examiner.com wonders if expanding Faurot Field is a necessity as the Missouri program attempts to keep pace with other Big 12 powers.
- The Oklahoman's John Rohde details the extensive renovations at Boone Pickens Stadium at Oklahoma State.
- The 2005 Texas national championship team and the 2000 Oklahoma team rank among the bottom feeders in a reader's poll commissioned by the Orlando Sentinel to pick the best team of the last decade.
- The Tulsa World's Dave Sittler writes that Bob Stoops will test his "Riverboat Gambler" reputation by allowing Justin Chaisson to enroll at Oklahoma.
- Stephen Montemayor of the University Daily Kansan tempers some of his preseason excitement about Kansas by looking at several past trends.
- New Kansas State athletic director John Currie is taking an active role in communicating with Wildcat fans in a variety of forms, Manhattan Mercury sports editor Joshua Kinder reports.
- Why stop at "10 wins and no excuses" for the upcoming season? Colorado coach Dan Hawkins details some of his upcoming plans to the Denver Post's Chris Dempsey.
- The Dallas Morning News' Kevin Sherrington writes about the late Joe Boyd, a former All-Southwest Conference player at Texas A&M who later became a celebrated evangelist for six decades.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- I didn't get a drop of rain on my drive from San Antonio to Texas A&M this morning.
I probably should consider myself fortunate -- not only for that little bit of good luck, but also that I'm currently sitting in the dry press box at Kyle Field.
A heavy band of angry, dark clouds are ringing the stadium. I bet we'll be fortunate not to see any rain for Texas A&M's scrimmage which will be starting in about an hour.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry beat most of the fans into the stadium. Perry, a former Aggie Yell Leader, is bouncing around the sidelines like he did back in the old days.
Other than the governor politicking among his old friends, here are some things I'm anxious to watch with the Aggies this afternoon.
- How the makeshift Texas A&M offensive line looks. The Aggies were down to seven healthy scholarship linemen earlier this week. It will be interesting to see how they play -- particularly if they are asked to remain in for a bunch of plays against several defensive units on what figures to be a steamy afternoon.
- The progression of quarterback Jerrod Johnson. After a strong start as A&M's quarterback, Johnson tailed off badly late last season. Johnson has repeatedly said how much more comfortable he feels this spring running the offense. We'll get a glimpse of whether that is false bravado later this afternoon.
- How the "Jack" position fares in Joe Kines' retooled defense. Von Miller and Matt Featherston are getting most of the playing time at the hybrid position, which combines elements of a defensive end and linebacker.
- The running of Bradley Stephens and Cyrus Gray. Both tailbacks need as much of a boost as they can get this spring with the arrival of heralded incoming freshman Christine Michael later this summer.
- What kind of crowd turns out. Unlike many spring games, a nominal admission fee is being charged for this "game." It will be enlightening to see how many fans are willing to pay to watch this workout.
- The play of the secondary. Trent Hughes and Jordan Pugh have been solid at safety, but the cornerbacks will be under scrutiny today. Terrence Frederick, Justin McQueen and Marcus Gold all should be challenged by the A&M receiving corps.
- Will the guys in the white jerseys and shorts along the sidelines outnumber the substitutes? A&M has struggled with injuries -- both lingering from last season and earlier in training camp. There's a sizable contingent of injured players grouped already. I bet Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman wishes he could get them some action this spring.
I'll check back with a report after the scrimmage finishes.