Friday, September 23, 2011

Once again, conference realignment seems to be on pause, not over

The big news that came out on Thursday evening was that the Big 12 had finally come to an agreement that would stabilize the conference. The remaining nine members reportedly had struck a deal that would force a school to turn over their first and second tier media rights -- essentially, the money they would get for airing their best football and basketball games -- to the conference if they left within the next six years. In other words, if this agreement was made and Missouri left for the SEC, the Big 12 would retain the rights to air those Missouri games.

But just hours after we had seemingly found a way to save the Big 12 and began thinking of how to do the same for the Big East, it all went to hell again.

For starters, all that talk about the Big 12 schools agreeing to grant their first and second tier rights was tossed aside when it became clear the schools couldn't agree upon what they had, in fact, agreed upon. Then came the news from this morning's KC Star that Missouri still has a wandering eye, one sending suggestive glances towards their new flame, the SEC, all while trying to convince their current beau that they want the Big 12 to work.

“We either stick in the Big 12 because everything came about the way it needs to, the right way, with all the differences being settled in Missouri’s favor,” a university administrator who asked not to be identified told The Star on Thursday night. “But what are the odds of that happening? The other option is to join another conference and I believe that is something that we’re very open to.”

The Big 12 has their own fall back option, however. Last night there were reports that teams like TCU, BYU and possibly Air Force and Boise State had a shot of being invited to the BCS party by the Big 12. Today, Tom Liucci of said that Louisville was another option, meaning that, once again, the Big East is in danger of getting raided. And keep in mind, UConn -- and Notre Dame and Rutgers? -- still wants in the ACC.

So is the Big East now the conference in the most danger of disintegrating? Will it be forced to add schools like East Carolina, Navy, Memphis and Central Florida while becoming Conference USA 2.0? Can it still be called the "Big East" whem less than half of the original members are involved and it stretches across the midwest?

Why couldn't Dan Wetzel just get put in charge?

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