The Big 12′s 10 future athletic directors met Monday and Tuesday — no Nebraska’s Tom Osborne, no Colorado’s Mike Bohn — to discuss the future of their league, and nothing was determined. Nothing was supposed to be.
This was a structural meeting. A how-are-we-going-to-decide-things meeting. There are a ton of issues to discuss, from scheduling to championships to leadership structure to marketing, but the trimmed down Big 12 is in its infancy. Truth is, the Big 12 doesn’t even know for sure when its 10-team version will begin.
When Colorado bolted for the Pac-10, the Buffs said they would begin play in the 2012-13 school year. But when Nebraska took off for the Big Ten a day later, the Huskers said they were leaving next summer, the 2011-12 school year.
And last week, when Utah joined the Pac-10, the Utes said they would begin competition in 2011-12. That has led to much speculation in Boulder, Colo., that the Buffs would move up their timetable and be gone from the Big 12 by next summer.
But Big 12 officials don’t know for sure. That might need to be the first order of business; when the change will occur.
All this speaks to the wildfire-nature of the conference realignment earlier this month. A Big 12 athletic director told me he remains mystified over why things went into overdrive, that all the concerns and questions by all the schools involved were legitimate, but some kind of cosmic force made things happen at warp speed.
Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott said on Doug Gottlieb’s radio show the other day that he believes the Big 12′s famous ultimatum to Nebraska during the Big 12 meetings in Kansas City on June 4 accelerated the process. That forced the Big Ten to fish or cut bait on Nebraska, and the Huskers accepted the ultimatum and bolted. And you know the rest.
Colorado made its plans thinking four or five Big 12 South schools would follow along, so summer 2012 was the target date for a Pac-16. Then the Buffs discovered that plan was derailed, so anything is back on the table.
Look for Colorado to go ahead and take off next season and for Big 12 football 2011 to be a 10-team league. But the conference does not know for sure.