K-State AD: School remains committed to Big 12

BY foxsports • September 4, 2011

Kansas State remains committed to establishing stability in the Big 12, whether that means in the league's current configuration or through future expansion.

Athletic director John Currie told The Associated Press on Saturday that the school is ''taking a lot of significant steps forward to being a better conference partner.'' That includes improved facilities, a healthy athletic department budget and the on-field success of many of its teams.

''I believe we have great leadership with our current group of presidents and administrators,'' Currie said, adding that one of the Big 12's challenges is finding a way to brand itself in a positive way amid seemingly constant discussions of rival conferences poaching its schools.

''What we all need and desire is stability,'' Currie said.

His comments came less than a week after Texas A&M notified the Big 12 that it intends to leave the conference, with an eye toward joining the SEC, and one day after Oklahoma president David Boren acknowledged multiple conferences have shown interest in the Sooners.

Texas A&M and Oklahoma professed their support for the Big 12 last summer, when Nebraska left for the Big Ten and Colorado joined the Pac-10 amid a reshuffling of major conferences.

Aggies athletic director Bill Byrne said in a blog positing this week that certain developments ''have caused a great deal of uncertainty within the Big 12.'' Among them was the creation of the Longhorn Network by Texas, which Byrne said fundamentally altered the league's landscape.

The Sooners were offered chances to join both the Pac-10 and SEC last year but ultimately decided to stay put. With renewed overtures from rival conferences, Boren said Friday that he expects to decide soon whether Oklahoma will remain a member of the Big 12.

''We have to carefully evaluate the various comments that are being made to us and the various possibilities that are being shown to us before we decide what's best for the university,'' Boren said.

Oklahoma and Texas are considered the linchpins keeping the Big 12 together, and if Boren decides to take Oklahoma elsewhere, many of the remaining schools could be left scrambling.

Currie wouldn't say whether Kansas State is developing a contingency plan should the Big 12 fall apart, such as contacting other conferences about possible membership. But he did acknowledge that certain power brokers in the Big 12 will likely shape the conference's future.

''Some schools have more tradition and more history, and they're in a stronger position to make decisions than other schools,'' Currie said. ''There's somebody like that in every conference, where a school is in a more prominent leadership position. That doesn't bother us.

''One of the things about the Big 12,'' Currie added, ''is that even though people say, `This is a Texas league,' whatever, this is a very balanced league.''


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