Monday, June 28, 2010
Self confident about Big 12's staying power
By Jeff Caplan
Kansas coach Bill Self believes the Big 12 as 10 is here to stay. He said he's confident that football, college athletics' driving financial force, won't rise up again soon and threaten conference alignment.
"That became very apparent that football was definitely driving the bus," Self said. "I feel great about our league. I feel better about our league today than I've felt over the last seven years that I've been in the leauge. Not that I didn't feel good about it; I think there's been a commitment by 10, that certainly nobody has one foot in, one foot out.
"I think this is a long-term deal, without question. I think that's how everybody's looking at it. With the thing still up in the air television-wise that hasn't been finalized yet, I know they're working diligently on, it could be a situation that we could be locked up even longer than any of the other established leagues have been locked up. So, I see this as being a permanent situation."
During the week or so when the Big 12's very survival looked bleak, Self was vocal about his belief that Kansas would not be left out of a major conference had the Big 12 Conference dissolved. Rumors swirled that the Jayhawks, one of the premiere basketball programs in the country, would have little choice but to join the Mountain West Conference.
He said that was never a consideration.
"I never feared that we weren't going to have a home. I never feared that we weren't going to be in a BCS conference. My problem that I had was the uncertainly that we could lose a recruiting class or whatever in the meantime trying to determine where we would go. I'll be real honest, I think one of the common threads that we had was Lou Perkins' contacts. I think that was a big player in the situation...I felt assured that we would land somewhere, but just the uncertainty of it is what was the biggest problem because there was no many media reports out there that we would go to the Mountain West or we'd do this or we'd do that, that wasn't even a thought.
"The thought was keep the Big 12 together, the Big 10 together -- or Big 10 now, I guess, which is still the Big 12 -- but keep our 10 together and then if that last-case scenario, if we don't do that, then we'll sit tight and decide what avenue is best for us."