All this drama was supposed to be over last summer.
Yet, here we are again, looking at the end of the Big 12 Conference and possibly altering NCAA athletics as we know it. It’s a story that we’ve seen before, but this time, the ending could be a little different.
The Big 12 is on the verge of death although this time, it’s not Texas who is steering the ship. It’s Oklahoma.
Oklahoma president David Boren said last Friday that no one has been more active in exploring options than the Sooners. While that came as a surprise to no one that OU was looking around, it was a bit surprising to realize that OU was looking intently and not just casually seeing what was available.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has stated that the Pac-12 is not lacking or actively pursuing any of the remaining Big 12 schools, but it is listening to their proposals and overtures about joining the Pac-12.
It’s true that the Pac-12 does not need Oklahoma or Texas for that matter. It’s sitting on top of a fat new TV deal and will soon launch a conference network with six regional outlets. The conference is doing just fine. However, the addition of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech would be the final nail in the coffin toward driving collegiate athletics into super-conferences.
Texas A&M should be formally invited to join the SEC later this week and after that, all eyes are on Oklahoma and Texas, to see what they will do. There is no doubt that those two schools are the most powerful out there in this latest realignment saga, but ultimately, it may come down to whether the Pac-12 presidents even want them.
It’s hard to imagine that the conference wouldn’t want them, since there would already be 16 team in the Pac-12 conference if Texas hadn’t been so set on starting its own television network. The possibility of rejection still remains, however.
The plates of college athletics are shifting once again and there is literally no telling where they will end up. Only time will tell.