Big 12 Conference

Big 12 Decides To Reduce Public Squabbling

Big 12 athletic directors and presidents are in agreement that conference leadership, specifically commissioner Bob Bowlsby, needs to become the voice of the conference.

Over two days in Dallas where the Big 12 Conference athletic directors met on Thursday and the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors (Presidents and Chancellors) met on Friday there was little decided, at least little announced as being decided.

There was one key announcement and will go a long way toward stabilizing and perhaps making the Big 12 Conference a more powerful force among the Power Five leagues in Division I college athletics. While it might not be as entertaining for both the media and the fans, the Big 12 Board of Directors announced they would speak with one voice in the immediate future and that is Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. 

Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz is chairman of the Board of Directors. While he agreed there were varying opinions and views in the room he also said there were more similarities than differences on where the Big 12 needed to go. 

Sitting next to Bowlsby, Schulz went on to say that it was a wise move for the Big 12 school leaders to keep the chatter down and speak as one through the veteran commissioner.

"At some particular point, sort of like a family argument, is it better to do it in Applebee's or is it better to do it t home?" Schulz said. "I think we're at a point that we decided today that when we have a family argument, we're going to do it at home with the door shut."

The references come primarily with the free wheeling comments made recently by University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who has been very vocal about addressing three primary issues with the conference: expansion and getting back to 12 member schools, football championship game and how it pertains to Big 12 teams opportunities with the College Football Playoff, and that the league has no third tier conference TV network like the SEC, Big 10, or Pac 12 because of the Longhorn Network.

The Longhorn Network, which has been a financial disaster for owner ESPN, is a $15 million cash cow for the school annually. The rest of the conference badly wants a conference network but the Longhorn Network has prevented that from happening.

It also appears that the Big 12 athletic directors and Board of Directors were smart in that they brought to the table a lot of information, facts, and figures for everybody to study, take home, and digest. No decisions were made and according to both groups no votes even taken, except the vote to go with one voice. 

That is a smart deal as it should take out some of the antagonistic and detrimental and emotional moves that can often stifle real valuable and productive change. So when will the change come? The votes and the action are likely to come after the study over the next several months as the groups will reconvene May 31-June 3 for the Big 12 Conference Spring Meetings.


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