According to columnist Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports, that has been the reaction of college administrators to the news that the Pac-12 had spurned the advances of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Texas in conference expansion. That goes for a lot of fans, too, who are ready to see this mess resolved.
Pac-12 head honcho Larry Scott took an obvious shot at Texas in his statement about the conference’s decision not to expand, but there’s little reason to think anyone in UT’s administration gives a rat’s ass. Clearly, Texas was unwilling to budge on the parameters of TexPN, which should leave no doubt about the Longhorns’ objectives in the process. (I doubt you had any, but just in case…)
Of course, the Pac-12′s decision seemingly has far greater ramifications for OU, which has made its feelings on the state of the Big 12 known in the past few weeks. The “list of demands” OU has for sticking with the conference places much of the blame for the conference’s dysfunction at the feet of commissioner Dan “The Natural” Beebe, but the real issues clearly lie in the Oz mentality prevailing throughout the league. When no one trusts anyone, it’s easy to read diabolical intentions into everything.
Now, we’re left facing the reality that without major changes, this yearly realignment drama in the Big 12 will continue unabated. It will be like the Saw movies – gruesome, sickening and perennial.
For the good of everyone, hopefully the latest realignment crisis did at least illustrate to Texas the perils of its relationship with the Worldwide Leader. As Bobby Burton wrote yesterday, ESPN’s blatant disregard for the will of the conference, as well as the NCAA, touched off all of this animosity. For OU, the Pac-12 started to look appealing once it became clear ESPN viewed the Big 12 as a vehicle for monetizing the Longhorn Network. That’s going to lead to unavoidable conflicts with league members – excluding UT, of course – and, yet again, push them to look for conferences where they’re not forced to constantly push back against ESPN’s shenanigans.
Essentially, the ball is back in Texas’ court. If the Longhorns really do want to keep the Big 12 together, they will have to take some responsibility for keeping ESPN in check.
No one, Texas included, really wants to see OU head to the SEC.