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Five Friday Afternoon SEC Expansion Odds And Ends

Heading into what will hopefully be a quiet weekend of football and football only conversation around the SEC, we thought we’d take one last look at some of the stories that relate directly or indirectly to possible SEC expansion.  Here are five such stories (as well as our take on each):

1.  ESPN and Texas spin, spin, spin the Longhorn Network

This morning we told you of yesterday’s announcement that Texas’ new cable channel would a) air highlights of high school games and b) feature two Big 12 football games this fall.  That’s akin to the Soviet Union putting missiles in Cuba in 1962.  Nikita Khrushchev could spin things however he liked, but placing offensive weapons 90 miles off the Florida coast sent a much louder message than anything the Soviet premier chose to say.

Now as Texas and their partner, ESPN, continue to find ways to shove LHN down fellow Big 12 members’ throats, both entities are most definitely in full spin mode.

Longhorn AD DeLoss Dodds said yesterday that he believed every Big 12 school could launch a network of its own, even singling out Kansas State, which recently announced plans for its own online sports network.  Uh, yeah.  An online network for Kansas State is pretty much in the same ballpark as Texas’ $300 million ESPN television deal.  Sure.

Even more amusing, ESPN executive Burke Mangus had this to say:


“This did not sneak up on anybody… and the opportunity that Texas is taking advantage of with us is something that other institutions in the conference can take advantage of as well.” 

Well, hell!  Good news, Iowa State and Baylor.  ESPN’s ready to cut 20-year, $300 million deals for you, too.  Apparently all you had to do was ask.

2.  So why no OU talk this time around?

The word from Oklahoma is that the Sooners are not as interested in joining the SEC now as they were believed to be a summer ago.  Some 2010 reports even claimed that OU’s board had actually voted — faced with a Pac-16 or SEC scenario — to join the SEC last year, prior to Fox and ESPN saving the Big 12 with the promise of a new cash.

But it’s the opinion of Berry Trammel of The Oklahoman that OU would be more likely to “petition the Big Ten, hat in hand” than join the SEC.  And the league’s presidents’ true goal — in his view — would be to actually join the Pac-12.

Why?  “OU leaders are enticed by the academic reputation of the Pac-12, which the SEC can’t match.”

That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone reading this site.  We’ve pointed out often that it will be Pointy Heads who will make these realignment decisions, not Jocks.

It’s an interesting read from Trammel, start to finish.

3.  Frightened Baylor Fights To Save Itself

Last summer, it appeared for a while as though the Big 12 would break apart with six league schools breaking off to join what was then the Pac-10.  Baylor was not among the schools receiving a West Coast invite.  As it turned out, no one could have been happier with the salvation of the Big 12 than Baylor, Iowa State, and Kansas State… three schools that might have wound up in the Mountain West if massive realignment had occurred.

Having gone though that experience last year, the folks in Waco have a Texas-sized fear that if Texas A&M leaves the Big 12, the Big 12 will indeed split.  And if the Big 12 splits, everyone but Baylor and a couple other cast-offs will split for better leagues.

That’s why BU president Kenneth Starr — yes, that Kenneth Starr — has written an editorial for USA Today.  In it he predicts doom and gloom if schools start changing conference affiliations (nevermind the fact that schools have been moving in and out of leagues for a century).  He also speaks of breaking “signed solemn agreements” and of “commissioner-orchestrated raids.”  Oh, it’s all very over-the-top.

But in reality, if Mike Slive had offered Baylor a slot in his league, Starr wouldn’t have had time to write his editorial.  He’d have been too busy dancing for joy and trying to figure out the shortest routes from Waco to Starkville and from Waco to Auburn.  It would be in Baylor’s best interest to join an all-for-one, one-for-all league like the SEC.  Just as it’s in BU’s best interest now to try and prevent A&M from leaving.

The fact that he’s got a horse in this race renders Starr’s editorial moot, in our view.

Ditto a much-quoted economic study released by Waco-based economists, The Perryman Group.  Their study “revealed” that an A&M departure from the Big 12 would somehow result in the state of Texas losing $217.2 million in gross product output each year as well as 3,050 jobs.

Even a former governor of Texas has used the Perryman Group’s report to show that an A&M departure would hurt the state.  Unfortunately, it turns out Mark White — governor from 1983 through 1987 — also happens to be a Baylor grad.  Whodathunkit?

Well, there are three key problems with this now famous study:

1.  The Perryman Group is also heavily tied to Baylor University.

2.  The Perryman Group doesn’t fully reveal how they arrived at those eye-popping numbers.

3.  The Perryman Group’s report is basically baloney.

The fact that it’s baloney is probably the biggest issue.

Kudos to BusinessOfCollegeSports.com for breaking down some honest-to-goodness hard numbers on this.  According to that site’s math, it looks like a move by A&M to the SEC would actually increase revenue inside the Lone Star State.  It’s a solid read and well worth your time.

4.  The Big Ten says it’s not interested in expanding

Much of the handwringing over an A&M-to-the-SEC move is tied to the fact that such a shift is expected lead to all out realignment madness.  In reality, there’s nothing to suggest that a Texas A&M move would be the catalyst to set off some sort of collegiate Big Bang.

Just last summer, the whole world teetered on the brink for a full month… only to see a handful of schools fill out change-of-address cards.

The Big Ten announced today that its Council of Presidents/Chancellors has decided not to “actively” engage in expansion now “or at any time in the foreseeable future, barring a significant shift in the current intercollegiate landscape.”

Would the addition of Texas A&M and — just as an example — West Virginia be a “significant shift” in the current landscape?  Probably not.  So more than likely, the Big 12 would grab Houston to replace A&M and whatever other conference lost a school to the SEC would set about finding a single replacement as well.

The growth from 12- to 16-team leagues could come over a period of several years, not all at once.  Did we not all learn that lesson a year ago?

Also we have been told by multiple SEC sources that the league has no interest in rushing to field a 16-school league.  Does Slive have a long-term plan just in case everyone else starts rolling toward 16?  Yes.  But is that plan currently in play?  Not from what we’re being told.

It’s more likely — in our view — that we’re looking at a few small shifts like those we experienced last year rather than at a total shake-up of college sports as we know it.

In fact, we find it odd that this potential move is causing such a ruckus in the first place.  Last summer, Larry Scott was hailed as a genius for attempting to raid the Big 12 for half its members.  And no one painted Jim Delany as a fiend when his Big Ten eyeballed schools from the Big 12 to the Big East to the ACC, either.

So why is it so much worse for the SEC and Texas A&M to be talking with one another now?

5.  The Death Penalty for Miami?

NCAA president Mark Emmert said today that he would be willing to use the death penalty on a program if he felt it would deter cheating.

“If, and I say if, we have very unique circumstances where TV bans and death penalties are warranted, then I don’t think they are off the table and I would be OK with putting those in place.”

Miami brass can’t like the sound of that.  Neither can the administrators at eleven other Atlantic Coast Conference schools.  That league brought in Miami for two reasons: top-flight academics and its big brand name in football.  Wipe out football — with either a death penalty, major TV bans or even sweeping recruiting restrictions — and the overall value of the ACC drops in the eyes of television partners.

As we’ve stated previously, the fear of a drop in revenue could spook one or more ACC schools into taking a long, hard look at the big money SEC.  And make no mistake, any good president is busy weighing all possible options right now.

The worse things look for Miami, the worse things look for the ACC.  That kind of destabilization could, in turn, be very good for the SEC.

 


25 comments
AllTideUp
AllTideUp

Hate A&M if you want, but that crack about the collapsing bonfire was pretty classless.

Gerald
Gerald

@Robert Trevelyan:

You are just an SEC hater. The national media isn't (I refuse to repeat your vulgarity) the SEC, it is only acknowledging their success. The fact that you apparently wish for the national media to ignore it, or attribute it to the SEC being overhyped, overrated, cheating, or anything other than acknowledging what the SEC has earned on the field reveals that you just dislike the SEC.

Also, you are completely ignoring the history here. Everyone in the SEC remembers the 1990s, when ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, USA Today, the New York Times etc. continuously painted story lines where the ACC, Big 10, Pac-10, Miami etc. were "good" and the SEC was "evil." And then there was that nonsense in 2003 and 2004, when the media trashed the SEC over LSU and Auburn, claiming that it was slow, had bad coaches running mediocre slow offenses, was boring, and was overrated because of weak scheduling. They also tarred and feathered the SEC with every redneck goober tractor trailer park joke in the book, and not just on local sites or blogs, but in national outlets like MSNBC.

That nonsense cost LSU the AP title and shut Auburn out entirely. And how come the same national media that cheered ACC expansion in 2002-2003, which ended a ton of longtime rivalries and and nearly killed off the Big East, and who did the same when the Big 10 and Pac-10 were threatening to gobble up the Big East and Big 12 JUST LAST YEAR, calling it "bold, forward looking moves" are furious at A&M and the SEC? The same folks who would have been fine with A&M going to the Big 10 or the Pac-10 last year are trashing the move to the SEC. Why? Because the ACC, Big 10 and Pac-10 expanded in order to try to overtake the SEC, which the media wants to see happen. And does politics play a role? Definite maybe. The SEC is red state country. The Pac-12 and Big 10 are blue state country. The ACC is technically in red state country, but they are actually a wine and cheese limousine crowd. These guys really don't like it when these southern aggie schools pound their elite universities on the football field. And Texas A&M is ... you guessed it ... a southern aggie school that is much more conservative than the folks at UT-Austin.

The media has been so gleeful that they are turning pink (or red!) at how the Big 10 and Pac-12 are pulling in more revenue than the mighty SEC, and how the reds at UT-Austin are the ones with the ESPN network, not the folks at Alabama or Florida. The last thing that they want is for the SEC to get stronger by adding Texas TV and recruiting markets, getting a bigger contract than the Pac-12 has, and adding a like-minded institution whose traditions and fan base are a very good fit for the SEC. These folks prefer the Cal, USC, UCLA, Stanford, and UW-Seattle tree hugger left wing activist crowd to a school that cranks out farmers, engineers and ROTC officers like A&M.

Yes, ESPN makes money off the SEC. But aren't you aware how much money ESPN and ABC have wasted on the ACC in the hopes that if they keep investing in and promoting that joke of a conference, they would surpass the SEC? ESPN is grief-stricken and livid at having to deal with the SEC's success. Well, when A&M joins the conference in a few months, that will make them even sadder. Couldn't happen to a better bunch.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

Anything more on the supposed private jet flight from Talladega to College Station and back this morning?

GHB
GHB

Guys hide behind 'academics'. The reality is fear of recruiting and playing in the SEC. That's the real truth. They don't want A&M to go because they are afraid A&M will upgrade past them. As far as OU to the SEC. Why? What do they bring to conference that is their own? All bringing OU to the SEC would do is allow them to recruit in the SEC territory. They don't add players, they don't add a TV market. In fact the entire TV population of the State of Oklahoma is equal to half of The Dallas/Ft Worth metro area. Add OSU to the mix and in reality OU is entirely parasitical. They must have a footprint in Texas to survive as a program and the Red River Shoot out and their rivalry with UT is their life line. Basically they will do what ever Commissioner Dodds tells them to do.

GHB
GHB

Guys hide behind 'academics'. The reality is fear of recruiting and playing in the SEC. That's the real truth. They don't want A&M to go because they are afraid A&M will upgrade past them. As far as OU to the SEC. Why? What do they bring to conference that is their own? All bringing OU to the SEC would do is allow them to recruit in the SEC territory. They don't add players, they don't add a TV market. In fact the entire TV population of the State of Oklahoma is equal to half of The Dallas/Ft Worth metro area. Add OSU to the mix and in reality OU is entirely parasitical. They must have a footprint in Texas to survive as a program and the Red River Shoot out and their rivalry with UT is their life line. Basically they will do what ever Commissioner Dodds tells them to do.

The fear is if A&M goes SEC that A&m will cut deeply into OU's Texas based recruting. A&M was really solid program that dominated the old SWC before UT used it's NCAA and political clout to destroy it.

As far as A&M being jealuos of UT, My question is What is there to be jealous of. I could of gone to both school, I choose A&M for many reason. It is those same reason that most Aggies prefer to join the SEC. We are not the type that runs from a challenge and if the truth be know since scholarship limits came into place A&M has winning head to head record against UT including 3 of the last 5 and I like our prospects coming into this year.

Add one other fact. In other sports A&M has won more national championships in the past years then the entire Big XII conference combined. They finished 8th in the directors cup only behind Florida from the SEC. Bottom line though A&m is not the media or T shirt fan darling in the state of Texas the reality is they have competed at a high level in most sports including football since scholarship limits and they are coming out of a down time. There is really nothing for me to envious of UT about. Including their liberal standing. They have long sensed surrendered to the left and have long sensed ceased to represent the main line cultural views of the State of Texas. There really is nothing for me to be jealous of.

Education
Education

Supposedly OU, OSU, and two other schools have applied to the Big10, and were told no because of academics. Kind of funny how a bunch of Tier2 and Tier3 schools are thumbing their noses to the SEC academics. Do these four schools think they are special and deserve a hand-out to shore up their learning programs from either the BIG10 or PAC12?

jaymag_87
jaymag_87

wjsoni
The Horns want no part of the SEC. Some will say it's because of academics. Others say it's because of football competition.

I think the later and that in the SEC they would no longer be the big dog, like they are in the Big 12-2-1.

wjsonl
wjsonl

The Texas Aggies and the Texas Longhorns are longtime rivals, and BOTH should become a part of an expanding SEC. Everyone admits expansion will happen eventually, and the SEC will need to add more than just one team. Does A&M going to the SEC and UT going to the Left Coast (PAC 10, 12, 16, oh what the heck, just pick a number) make any sense? Maybe to the pointy heads at the top of the UT Tower (as in ivory tower), but not to anyone who loves college football and all its traditions. Isn't it strange that the possibilty of UT also joining the SEC is not even being discussed?

Bad Son
Bad Son

I would punch my mom in the face if it meant FSU would get in the SEC. I'd take her to IKEA to buy stuff afterward because I'd feel bad about it, but in the end it would be well worth it. Is there anything you can do Mr. SEC?

Jake
Jake

There are reports on an Aggie site as well as a couple of other expansion sites that says the SEC Presidents actually took a vote Thursday or Friday and voted 6 to 5 with one abstention to not expand within its own market. I know there has always been talk of a gentlemen's agreement, but this is talking about an actual vote. Does anyone know if this actually took place. This would not be good news to me.

Jorts
Jorts

Most of us see this delay as evidence of non-tampering (you like that? when the horns are watching, you have to prove a negative). Also, don't be fooled by Baylor taking the front seat on the fight to keep A&M in state. They are essentially the mouthpiece of DeLoss Dodds. As for the Perryman Group, all you need to know about this "expert economist" is that he was recently sued for a quarter of a million dollars in CREDIT CARD DEBT. Look it up. Or jump over to texags on the rivalries board and look at the top of the page.

Jorts
Jorts

Understand that when you're dealing with the horn fan base, they don't want you to know that leaving them will hurt them. Reference DeLoss Dodds' comment about "we wish them well." The same day he made that statement, the university hired Hillco, the largest lobbyist group in Texas, to get Dan Branch of the Higher Education Board to call for a review. Many aggies then sent off for FOIA requests asking for all UT correspondence with this lobbyist group and Legislature, and as a public university, they have to give up everything we ask for. Now....since they don't want us to have access to any of that stuff.....can you think of a PRIVATE university not subject to a FOIA request? You guessed it....

Robert Trevelyan
Robert Trevelyan

You are a conspiracy nut. The so-called "liberal" media? What media might that be, the one that fellates the SEC on a weekly basis? The primary characteristic of a conspiracy nut is they see persecution where there is none. The media, of any kind, but especially the sports media, is a money-making business. It is part of the corporate structure. The primary sports media organ in the U.S. is ESPN and ESPN is not only a news-reporting organization, it's a content-producing organization. ESPN isn't bashing the SEC, they have 100s of millions of dollars tied up in the SEC. They get filthy rich off the SEC. The Disney Co., who owns ESPN and ABC want the highest return on their investment and they don't get that return by ripping their own product. A&M to the SEC is bigger ratings for their SEC package, it brings in the whole Texas media market. Stop listening to Rush.

Guest
Guest

Great summary. But, wait...isn't it ironic that the LHN mktg. banner is at the top of the page? Too funny while reading point 1.

houstonvol
houstonvol

One item that is overlooked with UH - it is currently fundraising to build new football and basketball stadiums on campus. Receiving a $10million dollar gift just this week toward the football stadium. The base stadium will hold 40k, and can be expanded to 55k on the same foundation. So don't count out UH. Remember, UH has a lot of support in the state legislature. I have been saying one for weeks is one of the greatest "gifts" that TAMU is going to give to Texas is to handcuff them to the other Texas universities. Texas will not be able to make a move that will harm the other public universities athletic programs. There is a large block in Austin that has been fighting for years to get UH into the B12, and with TAMU leaving see it as the perfect opening to move UH up. There is even talk of UTSA.

Tiger
Tiger

I don't think there is any possible way UH would be invited to join the Big 12. As Clarence points out, they have a minor league operation in the world of big time athletics. They have small facilities and very little fan base. In the days of the SWC, Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M fans invariably outnumbered UH fans at Cougar home games. Also, in the post SWC world, Texas agreed to play the Cougars in Houston. UH demanded that the game be held at its on campus Robertson Stadium (32,000 seating capacity). Texas wanted the game at a larger stadium in Houston, but agreed to play if additional temporary seating was added. UH agreed, but then on the eve of the game, the seating was declared unsafe and unusable. It was argued thatUH was intentionally neglectful on the issue because the temporary seats were almost exclusively Texas fans. Anyway, DeLoss Dodds and the Texas Athletic Department essentially vowed not to play UH in the revenue sports again. (and they haven't). I don't see Texas or OU having any interest in playing in a bandbox every other year.

Clarence
Clarence

I think you might not understand some of the dynamics with UH in Texas. Lot of media types portray A&M as having "Little Brother" syndrome, but that is a compliment in comparison to how UH is looked down on by UT and even A&M. UH has a decent sized campus and enrollment, but it is still largely a commuter college and has smaller stadiums than other Big 12 schools. When they were making a name as a football (Bill Yoeman's Houston Veer, Andre Ware, Klingler, run&shoot, etc.) and basketball power (Big E - Elvin Hayes, Phi Slamma Jamma, etc.) they played at Houston's professional team stadiums, and never developed the college type atmosphere. Now their programs carry just a fraction of the prestige as those earlier teams, and the Cougar High image becomes a major impediment to joining the Big12. Akin to asking a super model to go shop for clothes at Walmart. Longhorns will go with 9 teams before they share with UH. They also will never let TCU into the party, but those dynamics are another story.

Michelle
Michelle

This is one of the few places to get an honest breakdown about this whole Big 12/SEC mess. Thanks for keeping it real. Even if A&M doesn't go to the SEC, you've earned a new fan and reader.

Steve on Cow Bayou
Steve on Cow Bayou

So why is it so much worse for the SEC and Texas A&M to be talking with one another now?

Call me a conspiracy nut, but last year, the Longhorns were flirting with the Pac 10 expansion, so the media was okay with that. This year, the (mostly) liberal press would love nothing more than to take pot-shots at America's greatest college football conference (the SEC).

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

I don't think it has been ESPN that has been bashing the SEC, but other members in the print media have been doing that. I'm not saying that there is a "liberal" media conspiracy, but there have definitely been people criticizing the SEC and A&M.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

Don't ever underestimate the power of the Texas legislature. UTSA is only on the table as a nuclear option if the B12 falls apart and Texas forms it's own conference or Fiefdom so it would have a place for all sports and could dictate football scheduling. There is no talk of UTSA to the B12, only if Texas tries to form their own conference as an independent. The only Texas school mentioned for the B12 is UH. Which if/when TAMU leaves, the Texas legislature will force Texas, Baylor and Tech to get UH into the conference. They did it 20 years ago blocking UH and getting Baylor into the conference, and now they want to protect one of the other major public universities in the state.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

UTSA isn't even FBS, at least not yet. They haven't even had a football program until recent years or am I incorrect in that? Regardless of politics I think a new Big 12 member from the state of Texas would have to have some measure of viability or I would see the other non-Texas members voting against them.

david
david

the reason UT wont play UH is because it seems like everytime they did play at any sport, UH won

@mikerapp
@mikerapp

The apparent fact that TCU is more likely to be in the Big East than a floundering Big 12 is all the proof you need to see why yet another Texas-based collegiate sports conference is doomed to inevitable collapse. The powers that be in Texas continue to not get it when it comes to building a conference.

gwguerrilla
gwguerrilla

UTSA plays their first game ever September 3rd. Give them 20 years and they may be ready for a big time move but not yet.

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