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Football

Running Realignment Blog: Big 12 in crisis mode

By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams

1:05 p.m. – I’m going to shut this thing down until some actual information starts to surface again. I’ll fire another one up when that happens. Thanks for reading!

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 17

3:25 p.m. – Another link…This one features some quotes on A&M to the SEC from a guy who bleeds for the Aggies, Gene Stallings.

3:15 p.m. – It’s been a slow last 24 hours on the realignment front. I apologize for being away from this blog for a while. I took this morning off to go help my little sister-in-law to move into her dorm room, of course at THE Iowa State University.

Anywhoo, there isn’t a ton to report to you during this update. I do have some links though…

— The latest from Mr. Realignment himself, Chip Brown.

— Texas Tech’s president discusses how the Big 12 offers the best future for his school.

— Finally, I HIGHLY recommend you all to read this piece, recently published by columnist Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star. It’s refreshing to get a take from a respected journalist who doesn’t believe that death is knocking on the Big 12’s door.

TUESDAY, AUG. 16

11:20 a.m. – An Oklahoma link for you. The Sooners prefer the Pac-12 to the SEC. Of course, they’re still committed to the Big 12, but I found this read interesting nonetheless.

11:15 a.m. – Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe went on the record with the USA Today last night. Like I speculated in my Monday Musings column, it looks like the Big 12 will attempt to stay in a 10 team format. CLICK HERE for Beebe’s comments, where he says that the league is actively working on expansion.

9:30 a.m. – CLICK HERE to read this week’s Monday Musings, where I throw down some thoughts on realignment. I’ll be updating this blog all day long. Thanks for stopping by!

MONDAY, AUGUST 15

5:15 p.m. – A lot has happened since I last posted something in this blog…Kind of. So the SEC has announced that it isn’t ready to expand and add Texas A&M to its league…YET.

Folks – This is going to happen. We don’t know when, but it is going to go down. No secret right? It’s time for the Big 12 to be proactive here. You can’t really kick Texas A&M out of the league (make them leave and collect the exit money) and chances are, you won’t have to (they are as good as gone if it is up to them). But If I’m DeLoss Dodds (or Dan Beebe), I’m constantly working on expansion this week.

A few more thoughts —

— I have a feeling that Texas politicians are going to shove Houston down our throats.

— Replacing Texas A&M with BYU would be a slam dunk. But yesterday, BYU’s AD said that they weren’t interested. Let’s see what he says with a massive check looking him straight in the eye.

— Texas A&M’s president just issued a statement.

"As we have seen over the past several days, there has been a considerable amount of misinformation regarding these discussions and any associated timelines. The chairman of our board has indicated that the regents will proceed with tomorrow’s agenda item, which authorizes the president of Texas A&M to take all actions related to athletic conference alignment. I will also accept Chairman Branch’s invitation to participate in his committee’s hearing on Tuesday. These are extremely complex issues, and it is imperative that we proceed methodically and in the best interests of Texas A&M."

12:50 p.m. – Two intriguing tweets.

The first comes from Pat Dooley of GatorSports.com.

Memo to my friends in the media: FSU is not going to be invited to SEC. League doesn’t know who it will target for 14th team. Stop madness.

So take Florida State off of the list?

The second one makes me scratch my head. Oklahoma State’s Rivals.com publisher, Jeff Johnson writes:

Hearing the #SEC vote on #TAMU is done and went 11-0 in favor of adding the Aggies. One major hurdle crossed?

— Just odd to me why an Oklahoma State guy would report that. Why not an SEC or A&M writer? Who knows…

12:43 p.m. – I wrote this yesterday. I’ll write it again. If Missouri is intent on leaving the Big 12, they are darn good actors, or liars I should say. Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton pledges his allegiance to the Big 12 in this blog by Mike DeArmond of the Kansas City Star.

11:22 a.m. – The always entertaining Gregg Doyle from CBSSports.com is at again. I actually love his take on Texas A&M’s departure to the SEC. Enjoy.

11:17 a.m. – What do you all think about adding Houston to the Big 12? I have my doubts. I remember when the Iowa State men’s basketball team traveled there a few years ago and something like 2,000 people were in the stands. Having said that, Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle is jacked up about the idea. He refers to Houston as a "sleeping giant" in this Sunday column. It’s worth a read.

10:15 a.m. – Good morning Cyclone Nation. Just a guess here, but I doubt that anything massive goes down today regarding realignment.

Yesterday’s Big 12 conference call among officials was the most noteworthy item from and Iowa State standpoint. As you read below, the conference’s nine remaining schools (not counting Texas A&M) reaffirmed their commitments to the league. If you’re Iowa State, that’s all that you really need to know.

Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m starting to somewhat hope A&M just leaves. The squeaky wheel gets the grease right? Yeah, or it just gets replaced. As long as stability goes up and money doesn’t go down, I’m cool with bringing on somebody else.

I won’t be as active on this blog today. I’m going attempt to spend some time with my wife. But I will post some links from time to time so keep checking it out every couple of hours.

SUNDAY – AUGUST 14

9:55 p.m. – The Big 12 Conference just issued this press release.

The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors conducted a teleconference meeting today to discuss the future of the Conference given recent developments regarding Texas A&M University.

The Board strongly conveyed to Texas A&M its unanimous desire that it remain a Big 12 member, and acknowledged its value to the Conference. The Board noted that Texas A&M expressed concerns about institutional networks and that the athletics directors worked together and took actions, which the Board has approved, to adequately address those concerns.

The other nine members reaffirmed their long term, unconditional and unequivocal commitments made to each other and the Conference last summer. Although the Board hopes Texas A&M remains in the Conference, the Board is prepared to aggressively move forward to explore expansion opportunities. In doing so, the Board recognizes the strength of the Big 12 Conference national brand and the opportunity to capitalize on it.

7:35 p.m. – One more tweet from Texas A&M beat writer Brent Zweneman:

It’s quiet by design on A&M’s front today, while misinformation spews from all sorts of places. Ags still on course for SEC.

7:30 p.m. – I’ll be away from my computer for a couple of hours fanatics. That is unless the roof blows off of this realignment thing between now and then. To keep up on stuff, follow me on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams (link above) and I’ll be re-tweeting links all night. I assume that things will quiet down until tomorrow, but who knows? This is realignment. Anything is game. Somebody will surely come out with some crazy report that journalists will eventually shoot down. Happens all the time right? I was supposed to be at the Knoxville Nationals tonight….

"Not so fast my friend," says Lee Corso.

7:15 p.m. – Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com is now reporting that nine Big 12 schools, minus Texas A&M are committed to the conference regardless of what happens with the Aggies.

Some highlights from Brown’s latest piece:

— Brown reports that early candidates to replace Texas A&M in the Big 12 are BYU, Air Force, TCU and Houston. TCU is the only new name there. Brown also notes that the Big 12 expanding past 10 teams is unlikely.

— This Texas A&M story is already ugly right? Brown reports that thing could get downright nasty. Here’s a tidbit from his latest column.

Multiple sources said the 13-year Fox television deal signed by the Big 12 in April for $1.17 billion can be voided if Texas A&M leaves. The sources said if the SEC, which has had ongoing conversations with Texas A&M since Mike Slive was on the College Station campus during last summer’s realignment, could be seen as the instigator in A&M’s actions, it could constitute a $1 billion lawsuit against the SEC as well as a lawsuit for damages against individuals involved.

6:52 p.m. – From an Iowa State perspective, this is a positive link courtesy of the Sporting News. A few noteworthy quotes include:

…There has been no formal discussion about which program, if there is a Texas A&M addition, could join the conference next. But, the source added, there is no chance of the expansion stretching beyond 14 teams.

A Big 12 source told SN that Texas A&M’s departure will have no bearing on the other nine members and that—contrary to an ESPN report—Missouri and Oklahoma are not interested in becoming the SEC’s 14th member.

6:38 p.m. – Andrew Logue from the Des Moines Register asked Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads about the Big 12/Texas A&M/realignment rumors today after practice. Here’s what the coach had to say.

"I’ve got no say in it. They are not going to ask me. Quite frankly, they are not going to ask Jamie Pollard what is next and what should we do. All that I can worry about is the Iowa State Cyclone football team and preparing them."

6:00 p.m. – Just got done with football interviews. Going to work on notes from today’s scrimmage right now. However, I thought I’d post this link from CBSSports.com. According to this report, AD’s from BYU and Louisville have both gone on record stating that they are not interested in joining the Big 12, should the league look to expand.

4:53 p.m. – Looks like interviews might happen a little bit earlier than I thought. I’ll post my realignment thoughts as well as a scrimmage recap as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience.

4:40 p.m. – Just got to Ames. Looking to interview head coach Paul Rhoads at around 5:30 this evening, following Iowa State’s Saturday scrimmage. Just getting caught up on what has happened over the last few hours regarding realignment.

CLICK HERE for a fresh Chip Brown/OrangeBloods.com story. Brown reports that Texas A&M’s departure to the SEC could be a bit complicated.

I’m currently compiling some thoughts on the day so far. I’ll post them shortly.

12:30 p.m. – Let’s play a game here for a minute. If the Big 12 decides to expand, who will the league go after?

It’s about time that somebody dropped the Notre Dame bomb.

More on this topic…Here’s a tweet from Kirk Bohls of the Austin American Statesman.

Top names UT, I mean Big 12, will consider from several sources: Notre Dame, BYU, Air Force in that order.

12:25 p.m. – ESPN.com’s report on Texas A&M’s intent to leave the Big 12 for the SEC.

12:05 p.m. – It appears that ESPN’s early morning reporting is about to blow up in its face. Doug might have jumped the gun. Here’s a tweet from New York Times reporter Pete Thamel.

A DIFFERENT high ranking SEC official just called to say (angrily) that any report involving Clemson, FSU and Missouri is totally wrong.

Here’s more from Thamel. CLICK HERE to read an article where he reports that there is a 30 to 40 percent chance that SEC presidents could vote against Texas A&M joining the league. Wouldn’t that be a curve ball to this situation.

11:00 a.m. – A comprehensive Q&A about all things Big 12 with Missouri’s Mike Alden from PowerMizzou.com.

10:41 a.m. – A quote from Mike Alden in that Columbia Tribune article that is linked below.

“As recently as a couple months ago, we had 10 CEOs — we’re just ADs, these were CEOs — all looking at each other and saying we’re committed and we’re locked together,” Alden said. “There’s certainly an expectation when people do that that you want them to stay the course.”

If leaving, why take a shot at the school that you are leaving with? Doesn’t add up.

10:37 a.m. – Another Missouri report…This one is courtesy of the Columbia Tribune. Mike Alden is very direct about these SEC rumors and is quick to dispute them.

10:30 a.m. – CLICK HERE for the latest from Chip Brown and OrangeBloods.com. A lot of it is about Missouri’s situation. I found the last few paragraphs especially interesting.

Two officials at Big 12 schools told me the conference would be solid with nine teams and that they didn’t want to expand just for the sake of expansion.

There’s been a lot of talk about Houston possibly being a candidate to join the Big 12, but the two administrators in the Big 12 I spoke with today said Houston is not high on many of the current schools’ lists.

If indeed the Big 12 does elect to expand, will BYU be an option?

10:25 a.m. – Tweet from Chicago Tribune sports writer Teddy Greenstein. "How would SEC expansion affect Big Ten? Answer: It wouldn’t. Big Ten happy w/12, according to sources."

This is encouraging for Iowa State. If the Big Ten isn’t in super conference mode, that helps the cause. Greenstein is a credible writer. Just hope that he isn’t being played by this "source."

10:15 a.m. – At this hour, here is what you NEED TO KNOW. Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com is really leading the way in the reporting of this story today. He has Missouri athletics director Mike Alden on record, stating that Missouri has NOT been in any discussions with the SEC. Yes – For those of you who have been in a cave over the last 12 hours, that’s the latest "rumor." This "reporting" comes from ESPN and Doug Gottlieb, where he reported this morning that along with Texas A&M, Missouri, Florida State and Clemson would head to the SEC. Here’s the actual tweet from Gottlieb, so I don’t step on any toes.

"High ranking source at Texas A&M confirms, going to SEC.Clemson,FSU,Missouri likely to join."

My thought? Notice that it is a source at Texas A&M. Nothing from the other schools. I’m not saying that Gottlieb is wrong, but I’ll take DeArmond’s quote from an athletic director over that any day of the week.

I know what you’re thinking. Why would Mizzou show everybody their hand? They won’t. But if Missouri had intentions of leaving, wouldn’t they just keep quiet?

DeArmond has reported that the Big 12’s athletic directors will have a conference call with commissioner Dan Beebe today at 3 p.m. and that no Texas A&M representative will be on that call.

10:07 a.m. – You know the drill fanatics. We’ve been through this before. If you’re not into sifting through message board traffic, keep checking back to this blog for all things that you need to know, regarding Iowa State and this new realignment scare. I’ll be posting updates all weekend long.

— Note that I’ll be heading to Ames later on this afternoon to cover Iowa State’s scrimmage. Yes – Football season is just around the corner believe it or not.