Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe says league presidents repeatedly have indicated a preference for moving around their marquee events: the football title game and basketball tournament.
But, said Beebe, "they haven’t seen this.”
Beebe spoke while standing on the west-end landing of Jerry Jones World, the Dallas Cowboys’ new $1.4 billion stadium, and the message was clear.
Big 12 football seems headed for a permanent home in Arlington, Texas. The stadium is too nice, too new, too loaded with amenities, to think about returning to the aging Alamodome or to frigid Arrowhead Stadium.
"Something else, something else,” Colorado football coach Dan Hawkins said after touring Jerry Jones World. Hawkins seemed ready to cast his vote for Arlington, saying he preferred to take weather out of the championship equation.
"I think that’ll be under serious consideration,” Beebe said. "Lock it in, now you have a chance to build a fan base that’s going to go every year. That’s attractive in football.”
Not so in basketball, where each school’s fan base contributes in varying degrees to the total mass.
But anchoring the football game to a permanent location could create political pressure to do the same with basketball. And that would be bad news for Oklahoma City.
If the North demands equality for football staying south, Kansas City is the answer for basketball.
"I just can’t imagine Oklahoma City would not be in the mix of the basketball championship,” said Tim Brassfield, executive director of OKC’s All Sports Association.
Oklahoma City hosted Big 12 Tournaments in 2007 and 2009. The 2007 event set attendance records for both men and women; the ’09 attendance was down a little, presumably because of the economy.
Beebe and other Big 12 officials wouldn’t bite on the basketball-anchor question. Beebe called Kansas City’s Sprint Center "fabulous” and Oklahoma City "splendid” for basketball. "We’ll have several options.”
But the North schools have grown fond of playing December football 480 miles north of the Red River.
Kansas City has hosted five Big 12 football title games.