The Big 12 Conference decided to publicly reprimand Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville for his comments made on a radio show Tuesday.
"Tommy Tuberville's comments were unfortunate, and contrary to the very strong feelings of unity expressed publicly and privately by the Big 12 Board of Directors and athletic directors," said Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe in a statement on the conference's website. "Coach Tuberville has admitted that his comments do not reflect his true feelings of respect for the Conference, its leadership, and his excitement about its future and has apologized to the Conference and its members. In deciding to reprimand Coach Tuberville, I took into account that this is a first-time offense and that he has committed to adhere to the rules and contribute to strengthen the Conference. If not for these factors, a more significant penalty would be assessed, and will be if there are any future violations."
Yes, this is nothing more than a giant slap on the wrist to a coach who was doing nothing more than simply speaking his mind and voicing his opinion, much like many other Red Raiders have in the last two weeks since the new 10-team University of Texas-Oklahoma Conference — sorry — I meant the 10-team Big 12 Conference was settled. It's a slippery slope when you talk about those above you.
For those of you who missed the interview or the dozens of articles and blogs written since then (See "The Week That Was"), here is the snippet the Big 12 must have been referring to as "a violation of the Big 12 Conference's Principles and Standards of Sportsmanship, prohibiting public criticism of members."
"Being here for six months, I've just kind of noticed there's just not a lot of camaraderie in this league like you have in the SEC," Tuberville said. "… It starts with the commissioner. And I think [SEC commissioner] Mike Slive has done a good job. [Former SEC commissioner] Roy Kramer did a good job of building a base where everybody was on the same page. And that just has not happened here in the Big 12. It's just a matter of time, to be honest with you, unless they get everybody on the same page."
Public criticism of its members? I didn't see that in this text, or the next. Tuberville simply said that based on his experience in the SEC and his short time with those from the Big 12, he sees a difference in how the members are united, or really in my mind, a lack of unification. Many see that the "Super Conference" scenario is more than likely to happen in the near future, making it hard for a 10-team conference to survive, especially given the TV revenue sharing in the Big 12 compared to the Big Ten and SEC.
"I don't think this conference will last long because there is too much disparity between all the teams," Tuberville said of the new Big 12. "In the SEC, for instance, Vanderbilt makes as much money in the television contract as Florida. Everybody is good with it. Everybody is on the same page. Everyone gets the same votes."
But there are plenty of reasons to think Tuberville should be playing on the same side as the conference and fighting for the Big 12's survival, not criticizing it. He has not coached a game in the conference yet, and there are many who think the Big 12 will be a solid conference for the next couple of years. Because let's face it, a team can still punch a ticket to the national championship by running through this conference undefeated. That's something you sometimes can't put a dollar sign on.
Now, any plans on getting further comment from the Big 12, forget about it. This situation typically calls for the "We consider this a past issue and we are moving forward" answer. And to some degree, that's the way it needs to be with kickoff just around the corner. Settle everything on the field, keep recruiting harder and getting better, and maybe Tech will be the big gorilla one day.
Travis Cram is the Managing Editor for RaiderPower.com. Follow his daily updates and news on Twitter.