The Big 12 train is leaving the station.
If you’re not already on board, be prepared to be left behind.
New league commissioner Brett Yormark’s plans for the conference are starting to come into focus this week after a pair of reported initiatives by the league aimed at pushing the envelope and propelling the league into its next phase of existence.
First, the league floated the possibility of playing football and men’s basketball games in Mexico. On Wednesday, it was reported the league is looking into modernizing its football broadcasts with enhanced access to the locker rooms and sidelines.
The biggest thing I can appreciate about these two ideas is the willingness to try new things. The Big 12 has done too much chasing over the years, trying to follow other leagues and how things are done.
I’m all the way behind the possibility that the Big 12 is going to be the aggressors in pushing change into the medium.
With that said, I think both of these possibilities exhibit the fact there are going to be some hits during this process, and there are going to be some misses, too.
The idea of playing a football game in Monterrey or a basketball game in Mexico City feels like a miss. I understand why leagues like the NFL or NBA would do such a thing when you consider the possibilities of future expansion franchises, but the same logic does not extend to the Big 12, or any collegiate conference, for that matter.
My dislike for the idea is amplified by the reported hopes of hosting a Houston and Kansas men’s basketball game in Mexico. Why in the world would we take a home game away from either of those schools, which each sport one of the best homecourts in all of college basketball?
It would make more sense to me to play a game like Kansas and Houston in, oh, I don’t know, Houston, where it would be a lock to garner an absolutely raucous atmosphere made for television.
Moving a game of that stature falls squarely into the category of trying to do too much.
Now, for the broadcast changes, which would be expected to include access to the locker rooms before and after games, coaches wearing microphones before and after games and in-game interviews, is an example of exactly the kind of changes I want to see from the Big 12.
Those are things that only make broadcasts feel more real for the people at home, even if the interviews and mic-up opportunities can lead to some coach-speak fluff at times.
They’re attempts to take us inside the game, inside the minds of players and inside the minds of coaches. It helps the viewers at home understand exactly what is happening in the game they’re watching.
Things like this increase the entertainment value of games, and, hopefully, in turn, increase the number of people watching the product.
The Big 12 appears ready to swing and miss sometimes in order to hit home runs, though. The league is going to do its best to push this medium forward.
I’m most certainly on board with that.