Possible breakup of Big 12 remains unsettled
By DOUG TUCKER
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Commissioner Dan Beebe had hoped to douse speculation about a Big 12 breakup by making sure "we're all on the same plane when it takes off."
Instead, everybody went home in 12 separate taxis.
After four days of meetings, the future of the 14-year-old league seemed perhaps less secure than ever. Beebe and many of his colleagues hoped the spring meetings would end with a declaration of unbreakable solidarity. That didn't happen.
All Beebe could do yesterday was say he's an optimistic fellow by nature and that a "process" had been put in place by Big 12 presidents to ensure the long-term viability of a conference that has greatly increased revenue for its members, but still not kept pace in television dollars with the other big boys.
"I am comfortable," Beebe said. "There's still a process we're going through but based on the conversations we had I think we're in a very good position."
He would not discuss how the process will keep the Big 12 intact.
Out of the East is a threat from the Big Ten, perhaps interested in luring away Nebraska, Missouri and Texas. In the West, the Pac-10 may be eyeing Colorado and a group of Texas schools. And would the Southeastern Conference sit still while the Big Ten and Pac-10 start feeding on the Big 12 like hyenas at a kill?
Nebraska and Missouri triggered talk of a Big 12 breakup by indicating they would be interested in talking to the expansion-minded Big Ten. Then on Thursday, a blog report went through these meetings like a lightning bolt with word that the Pac-10 planned to invite six Big 12 schools and create two eight-team divisions.
In addition, The Associated Press confirmed yesterday that the Big Ten is interested in pursuing Texas, the richest, most influential Big 12 school.