NCF Nation: Dan Beebe

FORT WORTH and WACO, Texas -- This is what happens when a league becomes trapped by a slogan.

You get Baylor coach Art Briles, who should be enjoying a second consecutive championship, dressing down commissioner Bob Bowlsby on a podium in front of 47,934 fans who agree with the coach. You get lines such as, "The real champs, Bowlsby!" and " Have pride in your conference, Bowlsby!" You get chants such as "One true champ!" and "Head-to-head!" You get Bowlsby shuttled through an angry crowd on his way off the McLane Stadium field.

You get Baylor wide receiver Clay Fuller saying the Big 12 title is "a little clouded right now" by the team's College Football Playoff uncertainty and the Big 12's unwillingness to fully back the Bears in their pursuit.

[+] EnlargeTCU Horned Frogs
Brandon Wade/Associated PressThe mood was festive in Fort Worth, as TCU was more than happy to be crowned a Big 12 co-champion.
"The Big 12 didn't help us," Fuller told after Baylor's 38-27 win against No. 9 Kansas State. "They wanted to make sure one person got in, and I think it's messing them up now. The commercial says, 'One true champion.' They play that a lot."

What's a recent college football season without some Big 12 squabbling? There was plenty at Baylor after Bowlsby declared earlier in this week that the Big 12 wouldn't designate one champion to the playoff selection committee, in accordance with its bylaws.

The league instead will present Baylor and TCU as equals, even though both played the same schedules and Baylor beat TCU 61-58 on Oct. 11. One true champion? More like one true conundrum.

Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said that though the Big 12 bylaws recognize co-champions, tiebreakers are in place, and the team winning the tiebreaker would advance as the league's representative. McCaw "disagreed" with Bowlsby's "position" to present co-champions, though Bowlsby said he's simply following the bylaws as they pertain to the playoff.

"If you have a slogan and say there's one true champion, all of a sudden, you're going to go out the back door instead of going out the front," Briles said. "Don't say one thing and do another. That's my whole deal. If they said from the get-go, 'We've got co-champs. Head-to-head doesn't matter,' I'm OK with it. But don't say one thing and do another."

The optimist sees the Big 12 having two teams in the playoff mix. But with No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon and No. 4 Florida State winning this weekend, the Big 12 likely is competing for one remaining spot. It faces a formidable challenge from No. 5 Ohio State, which pummeled Wisconsin 59-0 in the Big Ten championship game and has no complexities about what it is and what it represents.

The Big 12 has two fabulous candidates in No. 6 Baylor and No. 3 TCU, teams led by great coaches and great quarterbacks (Baylor's Bryce Petty and TCU's Trevone Boykin combined for 872 pass yards and five touchdowns Saturday).

[+] EnlargeArt Briles, Bob Bowlsby, Baylor Bears
Tony Gutierrez/Associated PressMeanwhile, the awarding of the Big 12 co-championship in Waco was a bit more testy.
But could the league's reluctance to fully back one team hurt in the debate against Ohio State?

"That could be a factor," McCaw said. "The thing that's going to be interesting, if you look at the strength of the Big 12 Conference overall, being one or two [among conferences], the champion of that conference should carry a lot of weight."

Briles referenced the Big 12's strength in his stump speech Saturday. The coach had previously been relatively quiet about politicking, but Petty said Briles told the players, "give me some ammunition" at a recent meeting.

So Briles came out with guns blazing.

He mentioned Baylor's wins against a top 5 team (TCU) and a top 10 team (Kansas State). He mentioned how Baylor played only six true home games, while the other playoff candidates played seven.

"If [selection committee chair] Jeff Long's sitting there, and he asks, 'Who's representing the Big 12?' ... and [Bowlsby] says, 'We're sending Baylor. That's our representative,' they've got to look long and hard at that," Briles said. "Because they won one of the toughest leagues."

It was much tamer earlier in the day at Amon G. Carter Stadium, where TCU thrashed Iowa State 55-3. Bowlsby drew cheers from the crowd when he presented the Big 12 championship trophy.

Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson told reporters, "You're not going to put me on a pedestal" about his team's playoff chances and said the Horned Frogs would "act like a true champion, a co-champion."

And if they miss the playoff?

"I'd be sad for my kids and for this university," Patterson said. "They've done everything they could possibly do, and I don't believe we did anything today to hurt ourselves."

TCU running back Aaron Green was more direct when asked why his team should be one of the top four.

"Because we're the best," Green said. "That's why."

Well, that settles it. Both TCU and Baylor made strong closing arguments, even though the Frogs struggled to score early and Baylor couldn't shake Kansas State for much of the game.

Baylor's narrower home win against K-State 41-20 undoubtedly will be dissected, but the Bears still hold the head-to-head win -- a logical trump card, but perhaps not in this case. One team undoubtedly will be grumpy when the selections are announced at 12:45 p.m. ET Sunday. Maybe both.

"It'd be less painful [if Ohio State got in over both]," Fuller admitted. "I know you're rooting for the Big 12 to get in the playoff. Heck, it'd be worse if TCU got in. I don't understand that argument whatsoever. It doesn't make any sense to me."

It's rarely harmonious in the Big 12 -- a league that nearly dissolved twice in a 14-month span in 2010-11, which cost Bowlsby's predecessor, Dan Beebe, his job. There was the controversial division tiebreaker that cost Texas a national title shot in favor of Oklahoma in 2008.

Now, in an effort to remain neutral and, as Bowlsby says, to stick to its own rules, the Big 12 could be left out cold in the playoff.

"We just happen to be part of the Big 12, and we happen to be the champion two years in a row," Briles said. "So they need to be obligated to us because we're helping the Big 12's image in the nation."

What is that image after Saturday? Is it a league that merits a spot in the playoff over the Big Ten? Or is it a conundrum that might be better left out of the race entirely?

"The winner of the Big 12," Boykin said, "should have a decent chance of getting in."

If only it were that easy.

Deadline for old Big East's new name

March, 28, 2013
The new Big East has laid out a working plan to become operational this summer that has major issues that need to be resolved, notably that the old Big East needs to have a new name by May 2. obtained a "Big East Work Plan" email that was distributed Wednesday to the 10 schools that will make up the new Big East: Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's, Villanova, Marquette, DePaul, Butler, Xavier and Creighton. The email details that the league needs the old Big East to have a new name before the May 2 NCAA board of directors meeting so the new Big East can be recognized as a full NCAA member with all rights afforded it, including automatic bids to NCAA championships.

The consultant on the email, former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, made it clear that the new Big East cannot afford to wait until the next NCAA board meeting in August.

The new Big East also will seek an audience at the Final Four with the BCS commissioners to ensure that there are no objections.

To read Andy Katz's full story, click here.

Big East

The Big 12 is closing in on its permanent replacement for former commissioner Dan Beebe.

The conference has offered its commissioner's job to Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby, multiple conference and industry sources told Wednesday night. Bowlsby is expected to accept the offer, sources said.
Bowlsby was in Phoenix the past few days as the Big 12 and Pac 12 meetings overlapped. Bowlsby has a strong relationship with Pac 12 commissioner Larry Scott. Bowlsby was on the search committee that discovered Scott, with the aid of search firm executive Jed Hughes who has handled both searches for the Big 12 and Pac 12 commissioner's jobs. Hughes was at a different firm for the Pac 12 search firm than he is for the Big 12 search.

Bowlsby has been highly respected by his Pac 12 colleagues, and sources said he had a strong endorsement from Scott.

The Big 12 fired Dan Beebe as its commissioner last fall and replaced him with temporary replacement Chuck Neinas. He helped guide the Big 12 through the loss of Missouri and Texas A&M, as well as inviting TCU and West Virginia to join and give the league 10 members.

Bowlsby was Iowa's athletic director from 1991-2006 before taking over at Stanford.

For more on the story from Andy Katz, go here.

The Big 12's top 10 moments of 2011

January, 12, 2012
As quickly as it arrived, the Big 12 season is gone.

Alas, here's a look at the 10 moments we'll remember most from the 2011 season. These aren't necessarily the best or worst moments, but simply that: memorable. When we look back on 2011, this is what will stick out.

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin III
AP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackRobert Griffin III, Baylor's first Heisman winner, had a season for the record books.
1. Heisman moment? Take your pick. There were plenty of them in Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III's run to an "unbelievably believable" Heisman win. What about his only reception of the season (that resulted in him getting the wind knocked out of him) on a dramatic final drive to beat TCU in the opener? What about a 21-point comeback in the fourth quarter of an overtime win over Kansas? The best on-field moment was probably his 39-yard TD pass to Terrance Williams in the final seconds to beat Oklahoma for the first time and thrust himself back into the Heisman race, despite three losses. And after beating Texas: "I think Baylor just won its first Heisman tonight," he said. Yep. It did.

2. Iowa State storms the field ... and bowl season. Oklahoma State looked headed for a showdown with Oklahoma to play for a national title, but Iowa State had other things in mind. Jared Barnett topped 375 yards passing and 75 yards rushing in just his third start to give the Cyclones a win over a top six team for the first time in 58 tries. It set off a party on the field at Jack Trice Stadium and put ISU into its second bowl in three years.

3. Texas A&M and Missouri say adios, muchachos. The Aggies had enough of Texas and wanted some of Alabama. Missouri had enough drama and wanted some stability. Texas A&M made it official in late September and Mizzou followed in early November. Texas A&M called it a "100-year decision."

4. The Big 12 says hello to two new friends. With Texas A&M and Missouri gone, expansion was the obvious necessary step. The Big 12 took it by welcoming Southwest Conference expatriate TCU home into the Big 12 on Oct. 11. And 17 days later, West Virginia followed, announcing its plans to help expand the Big 12's footprint wayyy, wayyy east.

5. The Aggies sound like a broken record. Shattered record, maybe. Texas A&M started as a Big 12 title contender with a top-10 ranking. It led 12 games by double digits. It lost six games. How'd it happen? Nobody knew, and as a result, coach Mike Sherman was fired. Over and over, it was the same story. The 20-3 and 35-17 halftime leads over Oklahoma State and Arkansas evaporated. The Aggies blew big leads over Missouri, Kansas State and Texas, too.

6. Oklahoma State finds new life ... twice. Most were resigned to Alabama and LSU meeting again for the title, but OSU made it interesting with a satisfying 44-10 embarrassment of Oklahoma, putting late pressure on voters and finishing behind Alabama by the slimmest margin in BCS history. And once OSU was in its bowl game, Stanford's Jordan Williamson yanked a 35-yard kick to send the game into overtime, where the Cowboys capitalized in a 41-38 win.

7. Texas grabs Lone Star Showdown bragging rights for...ever? The Longhorns were the underdogs in a veritable powder keg that was Kyle Field on Thanksgiving night. Then Colt, er, Case McCoy got loose for a 25-yard scramble that set up Justin Tucker's game-winning 40-yard field goal that gave Texas bragging rights in the now-defunct rivalry for as long as it would like. The Longhorns say they have no plans to continue the rivalry after the Aggies leave for the SEC.

8. The Little Apple hosts a classic. You never know when the longest game in Big 12 history is going to show up. Kansas State and Texas A&M played it. The Aggies led by 10 midway through the fourth quarter, but Collin Klein rallied the Wildcats and got the 53-50 win on — what else — a QB sneak for a game-winning touchdown.

[+] EnlargeDan Beebe
AP Photo/Cody DutyThe Big 12 saw a lot of transition over the course of 2011, including commissioner Dan Beebe's ouster.
9. Texas Tech ends Oklahoma's epic streak. The night began with ominous thunderstorms that delayed the game, but the Sooners struggled against Texas Tech's slip screens, and let Alex Torres go wild for three touchdown catches. The four-touchdown underdogs walked into Owen Field and became the second Big 12 team to ever beat Bob Stoops on his home field, and first since 2001. The Red Raiders also became the first team since 2005 to win there, ending the Sooners' 39-game home winning streak. The problem: Tech didn't win another game the rest of the season, and finished with the first losing season since 1992.

10. Dan Beebe gets the ax. The damage was done. Beebe was seen as someone who ceded to Texas at all costs, even if he did it as a last option to keep the Big 12 together in the summer of 2010. That hurt the league, and Oklahoma called for Beebe to be removed. He was, and replaced by interim commissioner Chuck Neinas, who had helped many of the league's ADs hire coaches. A permanent replacement still hasn't been named.

Honorable mention: OSU FB Kye Staley and Texas TE Blaine Irby score touchdowns in emotional returns from catastrophic knee injuries, K-State runs out of time in a near upset over Oklahoma State (and an earthquake followed), Kansas State becomes the first team to intercept RG3 and stays undefeated in an "upset" of Baylor, RG3 has his version of the "Immaculate Reception"; Missouri QB James Franklin goes beast mode on a 20-yard touchdown run in a win over Texas A&M; Missouri coach Gary Pinkel "ices" his own kicker in a loss to Arizona State; Kansas reaches a new low and trails Oklahoma State 56-7 at halftime; Ryan Broyles' career meets an unfair end with a torn ACL.
Former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe made a wide variance of comments in an interview with's Andy Katz over the weekend.

Here's the full story.

And a few notes.
  • Beebe was campaigning for the league's then-12 teams to equally share the revenue from Tier I and Tier II media rights. Nebraska stood in the way, opposing its introduction before leaving for the Big Ten, which shares all of its revenue equally, including Tier III media rights. "Nebraska was one of the biggest objectors of equal revenue rights, and their president Harvey Perlman said that," Beebe said. "We could have done this two years ago and none of this would have happened."
  • Beebe said Colorado's move to the Pac-12 was the only one that made sense, and he didn't think any of the three departures were "inevitable." He added that he felt he was treated fairly by the Big 12 board of directors.
  • He thinks Missouri will stay in the Big 12 and wants the Tigers to stay. "My gut is that they stay, they should stay,'' Beebe said. "I was born in Missouri. I have tons of relatives there. Both sides of my family were there prior to the Civil War and fought on both sides. I'm well connected. They have a right to look but I think they'll come back to what their primary connection is. My strong feeling is that they need to be connected to the Midwest and I agree with (Big 12 interim commissioner) Chuck Neinas that they're a Midwest institution, not a Southeastern institution."
  • There's some debate on whether the Big 12 needs 10 or 12 teams, and Beebe favors 10, expanding to just one more team if Missouri leaves or halting expansion with TCU if Missouri goes. (My take: For money's sake, 10 teams is the answer. For stability's sake, 12 teams is the answer. I favor 12, but then, I don't get any money from the Big 12's TV revenue.)

There's more in our news story. Check it out.
The Big 12 would like to do a lot in the near future.

It would like the nine remaining members to grant their media rights to the league, ensuring stability for at least six years. It would also like to expand, or at least formally explore expansion.

But for now, it still has to know, to borrow a phrase from former commissioner Dan Beebe, "who is on the plane."

For now, Missouri has offered no concrete guarantee that it won't be leaving for the SEC, but new commissioner Chuck Neinas is confident the Tigers are staying.

"We understand that relative to the grant of rights issue this matter has to be considered by the Missouri board of curators, and they will have an opportunity to review what the conference has accomplished, what we're doing and what we plan to do," Neinas told reporters on a conference call Wednesday night. "I think that once they have an opportunity to fully understand and comprehend what the conference is doing that they will agree that Missouri should continue to be a good member of the Big 12 Conference."

There's no timetable for the grant-of-rights proposal, considering each school has different requirements to do so, but Neinas discussed that and Missouri's future on Wednesday.
He also said he did not know of any offer to Missouri from another conference.

"I have not been contacted by anyone from the Southeastern Conference," he said.

Neinas suggested that Missouri would probably miss its century-old Border War football rivalry with Kansas and the opportunity to play its conference basketball tournament regularly in Kansas City, Mo., if it decided to switch leagues.

"So I think there's a lot to look at," Neinas said. "You know what happens is a pretty girl walks down the aisle and you say, 'Boy, I'd like to take her to the prom.' But there's also one who's tried and true and you know is going to be there."

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard told the Austin American-Statesman he "wouldn't say they are holding up (future plans)," and that he feels "strongly" they will stay in the league.

Neinas also added that his lack of knowledge of an offer from the SEC didn't mean Missouri didn't have one, but he's reiterated several times he feels Missouri will stay.

"There would be a problem of perception," Neinas said of the possibility of a fourth team leaving the Big 12 in 15 months. "We can build the house again with different pieces. I can tell you that there is no shortage of interest from schools exploring membership in this conference. But we want Missouri to continue to be a member of the Big 12."

3-point stance: Don't blame Beebe

September, 23, 2011
1. Blaming commissioner Dan Beebe for the downfall of the Big 12 is convenient but has nothing to do with reality, save for besmirching a guy who tried to save the league’s members from themselves twice in the past 18 months. Beebe cut a deal Thursday to leave. Who would want to replace him? If nothing else, think of all the tailoring that has to be done, retrofitting business suits so that they conceal the puppet strings.

2. Among the many attributes of Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden is his maturity. At the age of 27, hardened by his minor-league baseball career, Weeden supposedly has the even keel that’s so difficult for college-aged players to establish. How, then, to explain that through three games Weeden has thrown six interceptions, tied for the FBS lead with true freshman Rakeem Cato of Marshall? Cato, by the way, is eight years younger than Weeden.

3. Marcus Lattimore is built for the long haul. That’s why South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier has loaded up the sophomore to move the chains. Lattimore leads the FBS not only in rushing yards (178-yard average) but in carries (29 per game). If that sounds like a lot, it is. Alabama has two tailbacks who each average more than 100 yards per game. Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy together have nine fewer carries than Lattimore.

Big 12 headed for binding TV rights

September, 22, 2011
Lots to get to on the blog tonight.

First off, you can read our news story on tonight's news conference at Oklahoma. Here's an update of what was decided.

More on the way later tonight.

Big 12 headed for binding TV rights

The Big 12's presidents agreed to grant their television rights to the conference for six years, Oklahoma president David Boren said at a news conference on Thursday. Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton said at a news conference also on Thursday night that the agreement was not official, and the league had agreed to pursue such binds.

A source at Missouri confirmed to that they were told "there was no agreement, only an agreement to work toward that as a potential outcome."

The Big 12 signed a 13-year, $1.1 billion deal with Fox Sports last summer for Tier 2 rights and the Tier 1 rights for ESPN/ABC are up for renewal in five years. By signing away the media rights to the conference, any team that left the conference during that period would offer no television revenue to a prospective new league. Any television revenue produced by that team would go to the Big 12.

"We felt that we needed a lot more than an expression of solidarity," Boren said, referencing "unequivocal commitments" that held the Big 12 together in 2010, when the Big 12 last faced near extinction. "It was a very important item to show we mean business about staying together."

Boren added: "That grant of rights really has teeth in it, because when you've granted your rights, it's very unlikely that a member would receive an invitation to another conference."

Texas A&M still headed to the SEC

Tonight's agreement has had no effect on the Texas A&M and its intended departure to the SEC.

Boren said Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin was on the teleconference, but was careful to note that it was "highly likely" that the Aggies would continue to chart their intended course for the SEC. Boren also said the league would not give up on convincing Texas A&M to stay until the Aggies became official members of the SEC.

The league's presidents did not discuss waiving rights to legal action that would allow Texas A&M to continue with its intended move to the SEC after the conference's presidents voted to accept them on the condition that each Big 12 team waive those legal rights.

“Another key to Big 12 stability will be for the league to assist Texas A&M with our departure," Texas A&M spokesman Jason Cook told the San Antonio Express-News.

New interim commissioner officially appointed

Dan Beebe is out, and Chuck Neinas is in. Neinas has dealt with scores of athletic departments around the country, and recommended more than half of the athletic directors in the Big 12 to the administrations in their current schools. Boren lauded Neinas as a figure respected around the country.

Neinas will take over only as interim commissioner, though. He is not a candidate for the permanent job, which may take a "few months" to fill, Boren said, though he established no concrete timeline for the hire.

"We needed someone to lead us through a healing process," Boren said of Neinas. "There's no one better to do that."

Expansion has been re-opened

While the Big 12 nearly broke apart, the efforts of an expansion committee were obviously halted. Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione and Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds are on the committee, which has been re-activated.

The league doesn't know if it will expand to 10 or 12 teams, but will do its "due diligence" and is open to both.

I'd expect negotiations with BYU to be re-opened, and for the Big 12 to seriously talk with remaining teams in the Big East like West Virginia and Louisville, but also seriously talk to schools closer to the Big 12 footprint, like TCU or Houston.

Nothing's off the table yet, though. As it should be this early in the process.

Boren refused to name any names or publish any list of prospective members.

"We want anybody we look at for expansion to know they were our first choice," Boren said.

Big 12 committee formed

This is also an important development. Chairman of the board of directors Brady Deaton is putting together a "committee" to handle a variety of tasks facing the Big 12 currently.

For now, no change in revenue sharing has been enacted, but if it's going to happen, it will be explored by this committee.

Deaton is expected to put it together by the end of the day on Friday.

The league agreed not to air grievances with others in the league publicly, which is necessary for the appearance of stability. It also agreed that any disagreements would be settled privately through the multi-purpose committee that Boren called a "special working group."

Concessions by Texas and Oklahoma?

It's clear so far that Texas and Oklahoma have and are willing to give on some issues. Oklahoma got its wish with Beebe's ouster and a commitment with the media rights that would ensure stability, but Texas AD DeLoss Dodds told local media on Wednesday that he did not want to sign over media rights.

Judging by Boren's comments, that stance has softened. Maybe he was leveraged into it, or maybe it was a measure of good faith. Either way, it looked like it happened.

Oklahoma has also made it clear that it would not stand in the way of equal revenue sharing. The Sooners, as one of the Big 12's top earners, would get less money in that agreement.

"Would equal distribution mean a financial contribution for good of the conference? Yes. Would we be willing to do so? Yes," Boren said. "We would hope that wouldn’t occur overnight."

Boren said he hoped such a plan would be fazed in slowly.

As for Texas? Maybe we'll hear from them soon.

Lots more coming on the blog tonight. Stay tuned.

Beebe, Big 12 to part ways immediately

September, 22, 2011
The Big 12 and commissioner Dan Beebe have reached a "mutual agreement" for him to leave his job immediately.

The Kansas City Star reported Wednesday night that Beebe was working on an agreement to leave his position. The Star cited two sources with knowledge of Beebe's decision.

Report: Beebe to resign as commissioner

September, 22, 2011

Big 12 Conference commissioner Dan Beebe is working on an agreement to leave his position, the Kansas City star reported Wednesday night.

The Star cited two sources with knowledge of Beebe's decision.

Beebe received a raise from $661,000 to $997,000 in 2009 before the Big 12's first near-breakup, when Colorado joined the Pac-12 and Nebraska jumped to the Big Ten. He received a three-year contract extension through 2015 last November.

The Oklahoman reported Tuesday that the University of Oklahoma would only commit to staying in the Big 12 if the conference ousted Beebe as commissioner and added regulations on ESPN's Longhorn Network.

The Big 12's board of directors is scheduled to meet on Thursday.

Beebe, the league's third commissioner, has been the Big 12's commissioner since 2007 and served as senior associate commissioner of the conference since February 2003.

He was the Ohio Valley Conference commissioner from 1989-2003 after working with the NCAA as the Director of Enforcement.

Where does the Big 12 go from here?

September, 21, 2011
Last night was a bit crazy, but the sun has come up, and comments are coming in from everywhere.

For now, the Big 12 has appeared to survive, but sources told Andy Katz that commissioner Dan Beebe's job status is "tenuous as best."

That's no surprise in the wake of the report out of Oklahoma on Tuesday, but it appears the league sentiment toward new leadership may result in action.

Tuesday's reported "informal invitation" for Missouri from the SEC was dependent upon Big 12 implosion, which looks improbable now with the league's two biggest programs weighing in on the morning after a move to the Pac-12 fell apart.
University of Texas president William Powers said Wednesday that creating stability is the top priority for the Big 12 and suggested his school is open to a new revenue-sharing model.

Powers said a way to build stability is to restructure media contracts -- and Texas will work toward that. He said Texas never took revenue sharing off the table in its discussions with other Big 12 members and all issues are open when talking with other Big 12 schools in the next few days.

Oklahoma also released a joint statement on Wednesday from athletic director Joe Castiglione and president David Boren.

"I’m in full support of President Boren’s announced decision for OU to remain in the Big 12," Castiglione said. "The reforms which he has been discussing with the presidents in the conference are very important to the future stability and strength of the Big 12 Conference."

Big 12 bylaws require a majority vote from the board of directors to remove Beebe.

Texas A&M, however, has maintained that it has no desire to remain in the Big 12 past this season. The Big 12's focus now must shift to expansion.

Does that mean 10 or 12 teams? The Big East's remaining six members pledged to stay together at a Wednesday meeting in New York, but could a few teams be convinced otherwise?

If not, could the Big 12 use a financial windfall and BCS access to convince BYU to join and sacrifice its own conference revenue to invite other programs like TCU or Houston in the name of stability?

Lots of unanswered questions remain, but for now the biggest one -- Will the Big 12 continue to exist? -- looks as if it has a clear answer.

Majority vote needed to oust commish

September, 20, 2011
An report in The Oklahoman says if the University of Oklahoma is to remain in the Big 12, it will do so only if the conference adds regulations on the Longhorn Network and removes commissioner Dan Beebe.

To do the latter, Big 12 bylaws require a majority vote of the league's board of directors.

"It's going to take major, major reforms," the source told the Oklahoman. "We'd have to have an interim commissioner."

Big 12 members were angered by the network's agreement with Fox Sports to move a conference game to the Longhorn Network and its decision to show high school highlights after the Big 12 voted to keep televised high school games off school-branded networks.

The source told the Oklahoman that a move by Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to the Pac-12 wasn't inevitable.

Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has been the target of criticism throughout the past year, but was given a three-year contract extension through 2015 in November of 2010 after the Big 12 held together.

In 2009, Beebe was also given a raise from $661,000 to $997,000.

The University of Oklahoma's board of regents and its counterpart at Texas granted their school presidents Monday the authority to take action regarding conference realignment.

The moves clear the way for the Sooners and Longhorns to apply formally to the Pac-12, with whom they have been undergoing discussions in recent days on how to make the schools' addition to the conference work.

After the regents meeting had adjourned, Boren admitted he's had "very warm and constructive discussions" with Pac-12 officials, but wouldn't say when the Sooners might apply for conference membership.

Beebe: Texas, OU decisions 'anticipated'

September, 19, 2011
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe released a statement on Monday evening in response to Texas and Oklahoma's announcements that they have authorized their respective presidents to act on behalf of the university in matters pertaining to conference realignment.
"The actions taken today by the governing boards of the universities of Oklahoma and Texas were anticipated. It is my opinion that the case for the Big 12 Conference continues to be as strong today for all of our current members as it was last year, especially considering the welfare of those to whom we owe the greatest responsibility-the student-athletes. We continue to apply all effort and resources toward assuring our members that maintaining the Big 12 is in the best interest for their institutions."

After Monday's regents' meeting at Oklahoma, OU president David Boren said he had spoken with Pac-12 officials, calling them "warm and productive discussions."

Pac-12 deputy commissioner Kevin Weiberg, essentially the Pac-12's No. 2 man behind commissioner Larry Scott, served as Big 12 commissioner from 1998-2007.

From our report:
Boren made it clear that OU had not notified the Big 12 Conference it was leaving and that remaining in the Big 12 was "still on the table." He added, however, that the threat of litigation by other Big 12 members had not affected OU's position of exploring realignment.

"Obviously, we do not want to continue to have these kinds of situations where our membership in a conference has to be revisited every year," Boren said.
In a letter from Sept. 2 made public Wednesday, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said the Big 12 "and its members" were waiving legal action toward Texas A&M and the SEC.

The SEC accepted Texas A&M in a vote on Tuesday night on the condition that the Big 12 schools waived legal action toward Texas A&M and the SEC, but Beebe later said in a statement that his letter "did not and could not bind the individual member institutions’ governing boards to waive institutional rights."

In a Sept. 6 email to Slive, obtained by The Associated Press, Beebe writes: "If you seek waivers by the individual institutions, you must receive them from those institutions directly. I regret any confusion on this issue."

Which led to Wednesday's drama, in which Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas refused to waive legal rights. Reports surfaced that other schools would do the same, but have been unconfirmed.

"I felt that was really a violation of trust right there," A&M president R. Bowen Loftin told the AP in an interview. "We took this letter very seriously. We asked for such a statement. They gave it to us freely. It says here unanimous vote was taken and yet when we look at Beebe's letter last night it says: 'No we didn't really mean that,' and I find that to be rather difficult to digest."

For now, A&M's move to the SEC appears imminent, but the legal action has held it up. The Aggies, as one might guess, are not pleased.

"We are being held hostage right now," Loftin said of being forced to stay in the Big 12. "Essentially, we're being told that you must stay here against your will and we think that really flies in the face of what makes us Americans for example and makes us free people."

Beebe: Legal waiver didn't bind schools

September, 7, 2011
We mentioned it on the blog earlier Wednesday, but Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe confirmed it in a statement this afternoon: He says his letter to the SEC on Sept. 2 did not waive legal claims from individual institutions.

Beebe's full statement:
"This is the first time to my knowledge that a conference has been requested to waive any legal claims toward another conference for any damages suffered with a membership change. The Big 12 Conference was asked by Texas A&M University and the Southeastern Conference to waive any such claim to help facilitate Texas A&M’s departure from the Conference without any consideration to the Big 12. Although they were not obligated to do so, the Big 12 Board of Directors decided to accommodate that request as it relates to The Big 12 Conference, Inc., which is reflected in the September 2 letter sent to SEC commissioner Mike Slive. However, the waiver did not and could not bind the individual member institutions’ governing boards to waive institutional rights. If the departure of Texas A&M results in significant changes in the Big 12 membership, several institutions may be severely affected after counting on revenue streams from contracts that were approved unanimously by our members, including Texas A&M. In some cases, members reasonably relied on such approval to embark on obligations that will cost millions of dollars."

This situation is already messy. It sounds like it could get messier.