Big 12 Schools Jockeying For Position
According to inside sources, Texas A&M administrators believe at this time that ESPN is unlikely to compromise on the high school games and they are moving forward with an aggressive approach to programming meaning they are in no mood to compromise.
If ESPN/Texas does not back down at the upcoming athletic directors meeting, this could be the tipping point. From a Texas A&M standpoint, that would likely be a move to the SEC – something that has been rumored since last year and is supported by recent actions of due diligence by the university. It sounds like the rest of the Big 12 is getting nervous as well and starting to check out conference options.
Several sources inside Texas A&M suggest a move could happen sooner rather than later if current conference conditions remain the same, which frankly surprises me if true. I was told it could be "weeks" versus "next year" in terms of a final decision to accept a standing offer to join the SEC. That would likely mean a move to the SEC for the 2013 athletic season.
The smoke with Missouri is building according to SEC sources. After getting snubbed by the Big 10 last year, Missouri is posturing for an offer to the SEC and working the phones hard. It might just pay off for Missouri. Apparently, Oklahoma was told by several SEC sources that a future deal including Oklahoma State
was highly unlikely...that they would need to split if they wanted to be seriously considered for inclusion. That explains recent rumors that OU has been inquiring about the PAC-12’s interest level in expanding the conference with both Oklahoma schools. If that doesn’t pan out, then the Sooners may come back to the SEC and consider working the politics of splitting with OSU. But, Missouri is ready to go now and if the chips start falling pretty soon, it looks like Missouri could be in line to get that western division SEC spot along with the Aggies.
What is also helping out Missouri's cause right now is that Arkansas
is pushing the SEC to take both Missouri and A&M as a package. For the Razorbacks, that would be a great addition with the proximity of both schools and the built-in rivalries along with the enhanced recruiting possibilities in Texas and Missouri.
Texas Tech is also putting out feelers with the PAC-12 and Kansas has been in contact with the Big East for quite some time and there’s talk that Kansas State
could also be in the discussions. And of course, that would leave Texas free to pursue independence and cement its partnership with ESPN with a more comprehensive TV contract. Unless the PAC-12, Big 10, or SEC reverses its stance on not wanting a new partner with an exclusive network, the Longhorns must go independent. That appears to be the end game for Texas anyway.