Big 12 commish knows doubters looking for cracks
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe knows there are people looking for cracks in the conference after what it went through last summer just to stay together.
"I understand clearly that with what we went through last year, we're not going to get the benefit of the doubt," Beebe said Tuesday. "There's going to be a lot of vultures in the air who want to see what's going to happen and say I told you so, this conference is falling apart when we have issues like any other conference that we have to resolve."
Though Nebraska left for the Big Ten and Colorado departed for what is now the Pac-12, the remaining 10 teams stayed in the Big 12 after some anxious days last summer when it appeared that some of them also could be headed to other leagues.
Big 12 athletic directors and league staff will be meeting soon to discuss how the pending Longhorn Network is able to interact with conference broadcasts agreements and philosophy. One of the issues is the possibility of showing high school games, and the impact and possible advantage it could provide in recruiting. Plans for such telecasts are on hold for now.
Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne, who has long had concerns about the Longhorn Network, issued a statement last week that "our concerns were heightened further" after reports that Texas might show one of its conference games as well as prep football games on its subscription-based network that is set for an Aug. 26 launch. Byrne said Monday that he would not say anything more until after the upcoming meeting.
Beebe acknowledged that Texas A&M was concerned, but disputed the idea that it was about the conference as a whole instead of that singular issue. There had been talks last summer that the Aggies might be going to the Southeastern Conference.
"We're going to have to prove to people over a period of time that we're in a solid place going forward," Beebe said.
Byrne even said Monday that it is important for the Big 12 to stay together.
"About a year ago, we were working hard to make sure the conference stayed together," Byrne said. "We haven't changed our opinion."
Officials from the University of Texas have been invited to a one-day NCAA summit next month to discuss the changing landscape of network broadcasting arrangements that could include high school sports.
Among others invited to that Aug. 22 session in Indianapolis are the Big Ten Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Pac-12, broadcasting experts and the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs, said NCAA bylaws adopted in the past did not contemplate the creation of institutional and conference networks that could include programming involving youth sports and other high school activities.
FAKE MEMORY: Coach Paul Rhoads still thinks about the fake conversion kick in overtime that didn't work out for Iowa State. He still doesn't regret taking the gamble.
Down a point in overtime at home last November against a Nebraska team that has dominated the Cyclones for a century, Rhoads called for the fake of the extra-point kick that the team had worked on in preparing for the game.
The intended receiver was wide open, but a floating pass thrown by Iowa State's holder was intercepted. That ended a 31-30 victory for Nebraska in the final meeting between the schools as Big 12 rivals
"It's a call that I relive and a play I relive every week. There's not a week that goes by that I don't think about the play and what it could have created for our football team and our football program," Rhoads said. "The fallout was positive, if anything, from players to fans to most people I talked to they thought it was a right call, gutsy call, but the right call, and would have given us an opportunity to really springboard our program, I feel."
WILDCATS VS. LONGHORNS: Kansas State has won its last three games over Texas, spread over five seasons.
The slimmed-down Big 12 means they no longer play in opposite divisions and instead have a round-robin schedule. So now the Wildcats won't have two-year gaps without playing Texas.
"No," coach Bill Snyder said, drawing laughter, when asked if that was a good deal for Kansas State.
"We've been very, very fortunate. I don't think there's anybody that doubts the quality and capabilities of the University of Texas and their ball program, their athletic program, the quality of coaches they have. Nobody does it better than Mack Brown and the quality of young athletes that they have," Snyder said. "Things just kind of fell into place in several of those ball games that we've played with the University of Texas."
Kansas State won 39-14 last year, their first meeting against Texas since 2006 and 2007 when the Wildcats also won.
"I hope we continue to have good fortune. But I assure you that we don't have anybody's number," Snyder said. "I just hope we can compete this year with them."