Sunday, June 6, 2010

More Rambling About Conference Realignment

We now have the rumors that either Nebraska or both Nebraska and Missouri have been given ultimatums by the rest of the Big 12 to make up their minds regarding whether they are going to seek membership in the Big Ten or remain with the Big 12. Let's look at all four scenarios

1) Both affirm their allegiance to the Big 12 - It doesn't kill Big Ten expansion but it really weakens the pool of candidates and the focus for the Big Ten moves to the Big East. It does stop a massive PAC-10 expansion, but Colorado and Utah could become targets again. Then again, it might kill PAC-10 expansion completely.

2 & 3) One stays and one goes - If this happens, its Missouri going and Nebraska staying. It won't be the other way around. I believe Missouri already has one foot out the door. And as Berry Tramel of the The Oklahoma writes, losing Missouri isn't that big of a deal. The Big 12 can stay alive without Mizzou and attempt to bring in whomever it chooses and it won't be Arkansas.

4) Both decide to leave - Texas, despite being the Big 12's heavy, seems to need Nebraska as a foil. We know that Oklahoma does, even though the schools don't play each other in FB every season. This is the scenario that allows the PAC-10 to go fishing, though as I've stated it's a scenario that I feel is ill-conceived.

There's a few other considerations to think about. Kansas, and its storied men's basketball program, looks like its on the outside looking in with many of these scenarios. The Big Ten hasn't mentioned the Jayhawks as an option, though they and Iowa St. meet the all-important criteria of AAU membership.

Kansas, Baylor, Kansas St. and Iowa St. have each pledged their loyaties to the Big 12 remaining as a viable conference. But these schools could be in for a long legal battle if everybody else runs to another conference. Most conferences do require some form of revenue garnishment for schools on their ways out the door. So if all eight schools leave, will any of them decide to litigate against the Big 12 to keep those four remaining schools from getting a massive revenue payday? And what do these four schools decide to do? Merge with an existing conference, go their separate ways or is there another strategy.

Get your popcorn ready.

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