Many of the things which seemed to put this move to a new conference into motion, seemed to stem from the recent Big 12 Meetings.
Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman made some comments which indicated that there were some mixed messages, especially following the rumor, which was verified, that the Pac Ten was in discussion with the member institutions of the Big 12 South.
Perlman indicated that there was a plea for Nebraska to remain. But based on what was already fairly public knowledge that both Missouri and Colorado had been looked at as potential members of other conferences, Perlman indicated that he asked if both Colorado and Missouri had made the move, would the other institutions still make a commitment to staying in the Big 12.
At that point there was no commitment made in regard to staying if those two institutions went to other conferences.
Perlman also indicated conversations between he and Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe, which involved Beebe asking for a public commitment from Nebraska to remain in the Big 12 for the foreseeable future, up to the date of 2016. Given that shallow of a timeline, Perlman said that he didn't see that as a major dose of comfort when it came to the viability of the conference as a whole.
Another issue which seemed to be a tipping point of this decision came from a request by Perlman that the media rights for the institutions within the conference, be held by the conference itself, instead of the current status, which sees many institutions holding many of the rights themselves. Perlman indicated that the University of Texas was not willing to follow that line.
Athletic Director Tom Osborne also indicated that some of the Universities which were courting the idea of going to another conference, were in discussions with as many as three different leagues for that purpose.
Again, not a glaring statement of stability for the Big 12.
Osborne also addressed some of the concerns which he indicated seemed to be the most prominent from the fan base concerning this potential move.
There will be a press conference later this afternoon where the media will be able to cover as many bases as possible in regard to all the concerns or questions about this epic move for the University. The summary, though, seems to be that Nebraska was certainly open to staying in the conference. But because it was apparent that Missouri was very open in leaving and Colorado had long been speculated as wanting to go to the Pac Ten, there was no guarantee that the conference would remain intact.
And without the commitment from the southern teams to some form of solidarity in the face of the potential departure of those two member institutions, Nebraska seemed to feel uncertainty about not just the future of the league, but their own future, as well.
Perlman and Osborne both indicated that from a timing standpoint, it was almost a now or never decision for them. From the discussions Nebraska started with the Big Ten and the agreement that both seemed to share many of the same ideals in regard to academics and athletics, the timing seemed to be right to make this particular move.
We'll have a lot more on this later on after the Q&A with both Perlman and Osborne as Nebraska gets ready to make this history making move for the program.