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June 9, 2010
Source: Nebraska regents clear path to Big Ten
The Big 12 appears to be dead.
A source close to the Nebraska Board of Regents told Orangebloods.com the regents informally agreed Wednesday to move to the Big Ten and that a formal announcement Nebraska is leaving will come Friday.
Sources close to Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech have suggested to Orangebloods.com over the last week that if Nebraska leaves, the Big 12 can't be saved.
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds and president Williams Powers gathered UT coaches today at 2 p.m. CT to tell them they did everything they could to save the Big 12 but that they were unsuccessful.
Just as Orangebloods.com was first to report last Thursday, the Pac-10 will invite Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Colorado.
And it appears those invitations will be accepted.
According to sources, Colorado will also opt out of the Big 12 and accept an invitation to the Pac-10.
A legislative source with knowledge of Texas A&M said officials from A&M and Texas will meet on Thursday to discuss all the goings on and to make sure they are on the same page if the Big 12 falls apart.
According to sources, A&M and Oklahoma both have had conversations with the SEC. A&M's conversations with the SEC may have been to appease A&M regent Gene Stallings, who won a national title as coach at Alabama and would love to see the Aggies in the SEC.
But Orangebloods.com has learned Gov. Rick Perry, a diehard Aggie, will work to make sure Texas and Texas A&M stay together.
Other sources have said that Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will do whatever Texas and A&M are doing.
A source said Texas and Texas A&M remained steadfast in lobbying for the Big 12 to stay together until Nebraska's decision to leave became evident.
Sources said the six Big 12 schools would begin participating in the expanded Pac-10 beginning in 2012. That should make for an incredibly uncomfortable next two football and basketball seasons with the schools who could be left behind.
What remains to be seen is if there will be any schools left to collect the buyout penalties of $10 million for bolting the conference. You need a super majority of nine votes to dissolve the Big 12.
But with the Mountain West putting off its vote on Boise State on Monday, it's obvious there will be bidders for what's left of the Big 12.
Missouri, which sent its Big 12 brethren scrambling a year ago when its governor said he thought the Big Ten would be a good fit for the Tigers, still appears to be waiting for an invitation from the Big Ten, according to multiple sources.
An athletic director with knowledge of the Big Ten said, "Missouri is getting cold shoulder from Big Ten."
Joe Schad of ESPN reported Wednesday that the Big Ten list of interest for expansion goes like this: 1) Notre Dame 2) Nebraska 3) Rutgers and/or Maryland.
The deadline for the Big 12 to pledge allegiance to each other is Monday. With the conference seemingly coming apart, the question is if there will be a super majority of nine votes needed to dissolve the conference.
Nebraska's regents have a formal meeting in Lincoln on Friday. That's when it's expected an official announcement about Nebraska's departure will come. Although, news breaking could expedite that announcement.
BIG 12's FINAL SUPPER ON JUNE 14?
Two different executives in the Big 12 confirmed to Orangebloods.com Wednesday morning the hard deadline for Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado and the entire Big 12 to pledge their allegiance to each other is Monday, June 14.
A high-level executive at a Big 12 institution said there had been informal conversations about who to add to the Big 12 if schools start to leave. Those schools have included BYU and Air Force.
But that same executive as well as others in the Big 12 South have told Orangebloods.com the conference will not survive if Nebraska leaves - no matter who else stays or goes.
If Nebraska were to stay in the Big 12 and Missouri and Colorado were to leave, for example, the sense is the Big 12 could attempt to add schools like BYU and Air Force to the Big 12 North and move ahead.
BAYLOR'S FIGHT FACING RESISTANCE?
Since Orangebloods.com reported last Thursday that the Pac-10 was looking to add the Big 12 South (minus Baylor) and Colorado, legislators and lobbyists loyal to Baylor have launched an all-out effort in the Texas Legislature to ensure that Baylor remains with the rest of the Big 12 South if it were to move to the Pac-10.
That effort appears to have fallen short, because Colorado officials, who met Tuesday night, have agreed to accept a big to the Pac-10, according to multiple sources.
One top source close to the possible merger between the Pac-10 and six Big 12 schools said some schools in the Pac-10, including California-Berkeley, have a real issue with adding an institution with religious ties like Baylor to the conference.
It has been expressed to Orangebloods.com by a top collegiate executive that any movement toward four, 16-team super conferences will be met with resistance by Congress.
The executive said that could be bad news for college athletics because Congress has already taken some cursory looks at the fact athletic departments enjoy a tax-exempt status as part of their universities.
The executive said if it appears the rich are getting richer in college athletics, there will be a hard look at whether to take away the tax exempt status of athletic departments.
"And it won't just be Orin Hatch (a member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee from Utah and longtime BCS critic) looking into this," the source said.