So, just to recap, here’s where we stand:
In a move I don’t necessarily like, but entirely understand (the cozy little basketball conference most of us grew up with is long gone), Syracuse and Pittsburgh are officially in the ACC, which doesn’t exactly thrill Jim Boeheim (ESPN):
The Big East has held its tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York every year since 1983. On Sunday, ACC commissioner John Swofford broached the topic of holding the ACC tournament at Madison Square Garden in the future, but it is already scheduled to be held in Atlanta in 2012 and in Greensboro, N.C., the following three years.
“It’s a great place for a tournament,” Boeheim said of New York. “Where would you want to go to to a tournament for five days? Let’s see: Greensboro, North Carolina, or New York City? Jeez. Let me think about that one and get back to you.”
Wonderful, that’s all we need in the ACC is more arrogant elitism; as if Carolina and Duke aren’t already smothering us in it. For the record, the ACC Tournament paved the way for the Big East Tournament and others, yet none of those ever matched the intensity and charm of the original, which has been held in Greensboro more than anywhere else. Surely us southern folks must be doing something right.
On Sunday, it appeared Texas was strongly considering the ACC, and Connecticut and Rutgers (we already have Duke, it seems we’d already carry the New Jersey market) have both been mentioned as 15 and 16; even seems to be some speculation regarding Penn State. But my personal feeling is that the ACC may pause at 14 as it evaluates its new position in the market, and more importantly, the potential value of its renegotiated TV contract. I think it’s at least plausible now that Texas appears headed to the Pac-12 that the ACC is waiting to see how the Big Ten — sorry, B1G — and SEC each respond.
We know the SEC already has Texas A&M and we now know that West Virginia has been rejected by both the SEC and ACC (CBSSports). Based on this, the logical target to become the SEC’s 14th member is Missouri, which apparently has an offer to join as soon as the Big XII is officially defunct (Kansas City Star). Of course, this will be any day now considering Oklahoma and Texas have each been cleared by their respective board of regents to leave the Big XII and pursue membership in the Pac-12, and take Oklahoma State and Texas Tech with them (ESPN).
Most indications suggest the SEC may very well stop at 14 (for now) and the B1G doesn’t seem intent on expanding beyond 12 (for now). I think — hope — the ACC may be hesitant to expand beyond 14 just for the sake of expanding. Keep in mind, this is all entirely football-centric, and if the SEC and B1G can’t increase revenue per member with 16, then there’s zero chance the ACC could do it. It’s at least plausible to suggest the B1G and ACC are each waiting to see which direction Notre Dame leans; sources have indicated that if Notre Dame is forced to join a conference, it would be the ACC, which Dan Wetzel thinks is a great idea (Yahoo!). I think so, too.
So, as of right now, what we’re left with is potentially the remnants of the Big XII and Big East talking merger (Yahoo!).
Oh, and don’t forget that the Pahrats want us all to know they’re available, too (WRAL).
Is it possible that the Big XII can be salvaged? Oklahoma — Boomer Sooner is not a happy camper about how Dan Beebe has been handling things — now says it will consider staying in the Big XII…conditionally (ESPN):
According to the source, the Big 12 presidents don’t believe Beebe handled the departures of Nebraska and Texas A&M adequately. The Big 12 has lost three members in the last 15 months, and, according to the source, “the relationships were so bad (with) the commissioner.”
According to the Big 12 bylaws, a majority vote among the member schools is needed to oust the commissioner.
Beebe received an extension through June 2015 from the Big 12 in November 2010. University of Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton, chairman of the league’s board of directors, said Beebe had been “an outstanding leader” during challenging times.
Beebe received a raise from $661,000 to $997,000 in 2009 before the Big 12′s first near breakup.
Oklahoma has also demanded that Texas modify some of its plans for the Longhorn Network. 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.
Is this a power move by Oklahoma? Absolutely. Keep in mind, Oklahoma is currently in a better and more flexible position than Texas. Oklahoma can move to the Pac-12 much easier than Texas, because it isn’t contractually-bound to a network produced by the minority shareholder in the new Pac-12 TV deal. Sure, any conference commissioner would sell whatever’s left of his cold, dead soul to have the most popular program in the second most-populous state join its ranks, but poor ol’ Texas, seemingly unwilling to share the wealth from the network it founded to promote itself and no one else, is having a difficult time finding a new home.
Meanwhile, before Syracuse and Pittsburgh bailed, the Big East was apparently targeting both Air Force and Navy (CBSSports). Not sure how those two leaving would affect an invitation to those schools — seems to me you need them now more than ever, especially considering the service academies appreciate such a far-reaching appeal.
Andy Katz reports that the Pac-12 has voted against further expansion, at least for now (ESPN). Take from this what you want, but this almost certainly means the revenue projections didn’t support it. Or maybe no one wants to be aligned with Texas?
This all continues to be very interesting/confusing/frustrating. The only thing of which we can be wholly certain is that there is far too much money at stake to be concerned about how this negatively affects the fans or student-athletes.