Big 12's next step is enforceable safeguards

Posted Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011  comments  Print Reprints
A

Watch video

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

If the Big 12 is to survive and thrive without Texas A&M in the mix, Texas Tech President Guy Bailey said the league will need written agreements with a "real enforceable commitment" from members and one to three additional football teams that can be "a major national player."

Bailey said Thursday the league's tenuous situation in light of A&M's ongoing talks about moving to the Southeastern Conference has been "a real wake-up call" to league administrators, who find themselves in limbo until A&M makes its next move. A&M administrators have been frank about their intentions, with incoming Chancellor John Sharp offering public support of an SEC move, calling it "a wonderful opportunity."

If the Aggies depart, Bailey said: "It's incumbent on us to be aggressive in assuring the future of the conference. If not, we're going to be in the same boat again next year or the year after."

Toward that end, Bailey is calling all league members -- including potential A&M replacements -- to sign binding contracts going forward, rather than operating on the verbal commitments issued last June when league teams agreed to move forward in the current 10-member configuration after defections by Colorado and Nebraska.

"We do have to do get something to secure our future... and that probably means putting your name on the dotted line," Bailey said. "Doing that in a legally binding way is pretty important."

Commissioner Dan Beebe has made a similar suggestion, as well as raising the possibility of having the league's board of directors issue a deadline for A&M to declare its intentions. But Bailey, who said his first choice would be for A&M to remain in the league, admitted he did not know how to put teeth behind such a deadline with no bylaw on the Big 12 books to address the current situation. So the focus is on contingency plans.

"As a conference, we have to plan for A&M... leaving," Bailey said.

The most realistic expansion targets, say league sources, include Brigham Young, Houston, Air Force and TCU -- likely in that order. But there is sentiment to make a run at Notre Dame, college football's perpetual independent, to gauge interest.

"There's only one way to find out," said a source.

Clearly, Notre Dame - which has shunned past Big Ten expansion overtures - would meet Bailey's desire for "a major national player." So would TCU, the reigning Rose Bowl champs, and BYU, which will play an independent schedule this season. So would Arkansas, another long shot.

Houston, a school receiving lots of support from Texas lawmakers, could see its bid for Big 12 membership enhanced by moving its home football and basketball games to existing professional sports venues in the city rather than in its aging, on-campus facilities. One source has cited that possibility as part of a Houston bid.

Regardless of what happens, Bailey said an expanded Big 12 is the optimal future home for Texas Tech. He said he doesn't see a revival of last year's package deal -- Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to the current Pac-12 -- because of Texas' creation of the Longhorn Network. The Pac-12, which recently created its own network, doesn't allow single-school networks for members.

Bailey, like most Big 12 administrators, envisions a 10-member conference going forward because the league's 13-year, $1.17 billion agreement signed in April with Fox Sports was drafted under those guidelines.

"Any change in numbers, we'd have to work through carefully," he said.

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Tuesday, October 21Full Scoreboard
San Francisco «7Final | Box
Kansas City1
110th World Series, Game One. San Francisco leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, October 21Full Scoreboard
Houston85Final | Box
Miami «90
Indiana89Final | Box
Minnesota «107
Utah «105Final | Box
Oklahoma City91
Portland «93Final | Box
Denver75
Phoenix914th Qtr 0:12 | Box
LA Lakers94TV: TWC SN, D
LA Clippers633rd Qtr 10:00 | Box
Golden State64TV: TNT
Full Scoreboard
Week 8Full Scoreboard
Thursday
San Diego 8:25 PM ET
Denver TV: CBS/NFL Network
Sunday
Detroit 9:30 AM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Seattle 1:00 PM ET
Carolina TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Miami 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
St. Louis 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: FOX
Chicago 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: FOX
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
NY Jets TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: FOX
Houston 1:00 PM ET
Tennessee TV: CBS
Philadelphia 4:05 PM ET
Arizona TV: FOX
Oakland 4:25 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CBS
Indianapolis 4:25 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: CBS
Green Bay 8:30 PM ET
New Orleans TV: NBC
Monday
Washington 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, October 21Full Scoreboard
San Jose3Final | Box
Boston «5
NY Rangers «4Final(OT) | Box
New Jersey3
Toronto «5Final | Box
NY Islanders2
Detroit1Final(OT) | Box
Montreal «2
Arizona3Final(SO) | Box
Nashville «4
Carolina1Final | Box
Winnipeg «3
Philadelphia0Final | Box
Chicago «4
Vancouver3Final | Box
Dallas «6
Florida «4Final(OT) | Box
Colorado3
Tampa Bay «2Final(OT) | Box
Calgary1
Full Scoreboard