June 9, 2010

Nebraska Approves Move to Big 10. Pac - 10 Conference Likley Pac -16

Sources close to Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech have suggested to Orangebloods.com over the last week that if Nebraska leaves, the Big 12 can't be saved.

A Fox television report out of Ohio said Nebraska now has an invitation from the Big Ten.

One of the reasons given for Nebraska's importance to the league is because the relationship between Missouri and the rest of the Big 12 has soured beyond repair.

And to complicate matters for Missouri, the Tigers appear to be falling down the list of priorities for the Big Ten.

An athletic director with knowledge of the Big Ten said, "Missouri is getting cold shoulder from Big Ten."

Joe Schad of ESPN reported Wednesday that the Big Ten list of interest for expansion goes like this: 1) Notre Dame 2) Nebraska 3) Rutgers and/or Maryland.
Associated Press
Dan Beebe and the Big 12 appear to be at the mercy of Nebraska and other outside forces.
According to a story by Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald, a respected reporter covering the Big 12 for years, Nebraska is expected to leave for the Big Ten as early as Friday, according to information provided to Barfknecht by an executive at another Big 12 school.

That is the day Nebraska's regents have a formal meeting in Lincoln.

Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne on his monthly radio show on the Husker Sports Network said he hoped "to get things together in the next few days."

But Osborne acknowledged, "There's a lot of information we really don't have right now."

Here's his entire quote:

"I suppose there is quite a bit I can speculate on, but as you and I talked before the show came on there's a lot of information we really don't have right now," Osborne said.

"Hopefully we'll get things put together in the next few days. Anything I would say regarding Nebraska's position or other schools in the Big 12 right now would be pure speculation at this point and I don't think that's very helpful. As much as I know fans don't like it, I think we need to put certain things off limits.

"I think before too long, I don't know exactly what that time frame is, but we'll be able to put this thing to bed because I'm getting tired of it."


Two different executives in the Big 12 confirmed to Orangebloods.com Wednesday morning the hard deadline for Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado and the entire Big 12 to pledge their allegiance to each other is Monday, June 14.

A high-level executive at a Big 12 institution said there have been informal conversations about who to add to the Big 12 if schools start to leave. Those schools have included BYU and Air Force.

But that same executive as well as others in the Big 12 South have told Orangebloods.com the conference will not survive if Nebraska leaves - no matter who else stays or goes.

If Nebraska were to stay in the Big 12 and Missouri and Colorado were to leave, for example, the sense is the Big 12 could attempt to add schools like BYU and Air Force to the Big 12 North and move ahead.


In a related development, a legislative source with knowledge of Texas A&M said officials from A&M and Texas will meet on Thursday to discuss all the goings on and to make sure they are on the same page if the Big 12 falls apart. The source said, however, that Texas and Texas A&M remain steadfast in lobbying for the Big 12 to stay together.


The future of the Big 12 appeared to hinge on the Big Ten's deliberations with Notre Dame. The Big Ten has promised Notre Dame it will stop its expansion at 12 schools if Notre Dame agrees to finally forgo its independence and become part of a conference, an athletic director with knowledge of the Big Ten has told Orangebloods.com.

Notre Dame is apparently locked in a battle among its Board of Trustees about what to do. There are some who fear the Irish being left out of the formation of what could well become four, super conferences in college athletics. That could cost Notre Dame its access to a BCS bid.

The Big Ten has also given indications it will go east and possibly raid anywhere from one to three schools from the Big East, where Notre Dame plays its other sports, leaving the Irish scrambling even more.

In the ultimate irony, the only way Notre Dame may be able to avoid the super conference scenario is by doing what it least wants to do: give up its independence and lucrative NBC/Comcast contract and join a conference.

Sources have told Orangebloods.com the Big Ten would not be handing out any more invitations if Notre Dame agrees to join the league. An AD source reaffirmed to Orangebloods.com Wednesday that "there is a timeline involved" between Notre Dame and the Big Ten.

Joe Schad of ESPN reported this week Notre Dame doesn't appear to be budging.

The longer there is silence about Notre Dame's intentions, the more reason to believe Notre Dame could remain on its own.


In another development, one source inside the Big 12 told Orangebloods.com Tuesday Colorado was expected to have a major announcement as early as Wednesday. But that announcement turned out to be with regard to scholarship reductions for the Colorado football and basketball programs because of substandard NCAA APR (Academic Progress Rates).

CU is the only BCS football program to be sanctioned with scholarship reductions and is one of only two BCS basketball programs to get sanctioned, OB has learned.

The Buffaloes have already served the four scholarships it was docked for football and the one it was docked for basketball.

The timing is poor considering the school's possible courtship with some of the more high-minded academic institutions in the Pac-10.

The Boulder Daily Camera reported a regents meeting at CU Tuesday night produced nothing more than legal advice about different scenarios. CU officials said they have not yet received an invitation from the Pac-10, according to the report.

Despite that claim, speculation continues to swirl that Colorado could be preparing to accept a bid from the Pac-10 Conference, which has targeted the Buffaloes for expansion.

As Orangebloods.com first reported last Thursday, Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott's preference is to expand the Pac-10 by six schools. That original list included Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado.


Since that report legislators and lobbyists with loyalty to Baylor have launched an all-out effort in the Texas Legislature to ensure that Baylor remains with the rest of the Big 12 South if it were to move to the Pac-10.

One top source close to the possible merger between the Pac-10 and six Big 12 schools said some schools in the Pac-10, including California-Berkeley, have a real issue with adding an institution with religious ties like Baylor to the conference.


It has been expressed to Orangebloods.com by a top collegiate executive that any movement toward four, 16-team super conferences will be met with resistance by Congress.

The executive said that could be bad news for college athletics because Congress has already taken some cursory looks at the fact athletic departments enjoy a tax-exempt status as part of their universities.

The executive said if it appears the rich are getting richer in college athletics, there will be a hard look at whether to take away the tax exempt status of athletic departments.

"And it won't just be Orin Hatch (a member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee from Utah and longtime BCS critic) looking into this," the source said.

Stay tuned.
Chip Brown
Orangebloods.com Columnist


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