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Big 12 takes another step back from brink

Conference realignment is not over. We know this for a few reasons:

1. On Monday, the Big East's presidents and chancellors voted to approve the conference's expansion efforts. These efforts will include the possible additions of the following: Navy, Army, Air Force, Temple, Central Florida and -- believe it or not -- SMU. It's a little bit remarkable that the Big East, of all places, would want to add a barely revived football program with absolutely zero basketball history, but that's life in the realignment game. Basketball just does not matter.

2. Connecticut is still unabashed on the subject of its wandering eye. The ACC's addition of Connecticut would seem to be a strong strategic move, and commissioner John Swofford doesn't appear to be done poaching teams just yet.

3. Late last week, new Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart told the Associated Press that the SEC wasn't anywhere close to finished with expansion, saying "I think a lot of the conversation is just where we go from here, obviously, because at some point 13 will not be the number."

4. On Saturday, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany carved some time between brats and brie in Madison to say it "could take five years to know whether the conference realignment frenzy has calmed in a significant way." That is almost certainly true.

So we're not done yet. We may not be done for quite some time.

But if you're the kind of person who is either a) wary of expansion's effect on college sports or b) just flat sick of hearing about it, there is good news on this front: The Big 12 looks like it's going to stay together. From ESPN's own Andy Katz:

The remaining Big 12 schools have taken a major step toward staying together by agreeing to equally distribute Tier I and II television revenues, a deal that will be complete with all nine institutions' individual OKs. The conference, after going through a second straight year of dealing with at least one defection from its membership, announced that its board of directors had adopted the plan Monday after discussing it over the weekend.

I realize this is yesterday's story (sorry, I was traveling) and at this point the reaction is painlessly self-evident: The nine-team Big 12 isn't going anywhere. This is good news for anti-realignment hopes. Hoorays all around.

Really, the news is best for fans of college basketball. Missouri will stay in the Big 12, preserving its traditional (if often one-sided) hoops rivalry with Kansas. That's a nice little bonus. More important is the fact that Kansas and the rest of the potential former Big 12 north cast-offs -- Iowa State, Baylor, etc. -- won't find themselves desperately grasping for a conference bid that makes little to no geographic, academic or athletic sense. Melding the Big East to the Big 12, or vice versa, would have been a mess. If the Big 12 couldn't come to agreement on TV revenue, it would also have been the two leagues' last, best shot at maintaining big-boy status. That prospect now seems entirely dimmed.

The only obvious loser in this scenario? Texas A&M. You know how they say patience is a virtue? Right. Apparently, it's just as true in conference realignment.