The Not-So-"Big 12"
The Buffaloes and Cornhuskers flew the Big 12 coop. Texas legislators got involved in keeping that coop together. Here's why.
Texas loves football. In fact, state leaders were so concerned about Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State leaving the Big 12—which would essentially destroy the conference—that Texas House Higher Education Committee Chairman Dan Branch called for a hearing to discuss the matter.
Shortly after Branch called for the meeting, Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe announced that he had promises from the remaining 10 university leaders about their commitment to the conference. Shortly after that, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State all let out a big, 12-second sigh of relief.
Did Texas’ legislature getting involved in this Big 12 restructuring affect any decision-making? I’m not a rocket scientist, but I’d say yes. Universities bring in (and sometimes use up) a ton of money—especially big ones, in big conferences.
One thing that makes a university "big," is its membership in the Association of American Universities—a pretty big deal when it comes to prestigious, major research universities. With the departure of the Buffaloes (Colorado) and Cornhuskers (Nebraska), the Big 12 lost two of its schools belonging to the association. Now, five of the remaining 10 Big 12 schools are AAU members. Doesn’t seem so bad, right? Well, compare that to the Pac-10 (seven of 11) and the Big 10 (12 of 12), and it seems pretty bad.
Image: celopes/Flickr CC