Share “Berry Tramel: There's no saving the Big 12”

by Berry Tramel Published: June 13, 2010

Joe Castiglione sounded down the other night when we talked. Really down.

Maybe it's the 16-hour days required when your conference has hit an iceberg and your school's future sits squarely on your shoulders.

But Castiglione sounded grim not from fatigue, but from regret. Regret that the Big 12 was endangered, and salvation seemed near impossible. Joe C. talked bravely that he would fight on to try and save the league he helped found as the Mizzou athletic director and helped dominate as the Oklahoma AD.

I wish we had been speaking in person. Not to offer him a comforting hand on the shoulder, but to shake some sense into him.

Save this shipwreck of a conference? Why on turf would anyone want to do that?

A 10-team league, down from 12 and missing one of its three marquee members, trying to stay together after all the backbiting and threats and ultimatums? Ask Texas Tech and Oklahoma State to give up their life rafts to help out Missouri, whose governor took pot shots at their academic standing?

Try to keep these 10 schools together, knowing several will remain hot tickets on the conference market? Think about keeping the doors open, knowing a Texas or an Oklahoma or an A&M could bolt in a year or two, only this time the cushy fallback position of the Pac-10 might be unavailable to others?

That's no way to live. That's no way to conduct business. That's no way to watch out for your school.

Sure, the left-out universities — call them the Oceanic Five; they're about to be Lost — are begging and pleading for some kind of reconciliation. There could be a last-ditch meeting Monday, just to see if a television network can promise enough money to keep Texas in the fold.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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