Football and its big TV dollars are the driving forces behind the possibility of conference realignment. Yet in the scenario of realignment, football wouldn't be the only sport affected. A major shift in the conference landscape would significantly affect non-revenue sports across the board, especially baseball, where 50-plus game schedules require significant travel. "As far as realignment, we're just a mosquito on top of the water, waiting for a fish to grab us,” Texas said Augie Garrido said. "Very few things are done because of baseball. It's about football. So I guess we're going to do what they tell us to do.” In the event of realignment, baseball teams could be told to hit the road. Or the air. At the moment, in the Big 12, travel is relatively light. Because both Colorado and Iowa State don't field baseball teams, the longest distance between league schools is roughly 800 miles, when Texas A&M (College Station) takes on Nebraska (Lincoln). Most of the trips, however, are driveable; the longer distances, short plane rides. That would all change, if, for example, Missouri and Nebraska left for the Big Ten; Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State bolted to the SEC; or Texas split to the Pac-10. "This is way above anywhere I sit. But I think the more travel you do, it's not only about the expense, it's where it contradicts the NCAA's value on the student. Where all of a sudden does that go?” said Garrido, who's been a Division I head baseball for 40 years. "You're playing all these games, and then all of a sudden you're traveling, and if you can't get flights, now if you start to charter, you're doing $50,000-80,000 a trip. What about time? The issue is connected to time, which is mandatory for studying.” A weekend trip during the school year from College Station, Texas, to Gainesville, Fla., could put a much greater strain on student-athletes than a trip to Waco, Texas. "I think it would,” said Texas A&M coach Rob Childress. "(Playing in the SEC) sounds like it would be a lot of fun. But when you start talking about our school, joining the SEC would result in a lot of travel.” While baseball coaches hope they'll be considered during realignment talks, decisions won't be made because of them, or their programs. "Don't think I haven't thought about it,” admitted Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway. "When I first heard about it, the possibility of Nebraska and Missouri leaving, I started thinking, who could potentially be. ... right then, I stopped. I'm the baseball coach. We understand, we're a baseball program within the athletic department. We're proud of football. It's the program that drives (the athletic department). It's the engine. We understand that. "My bosses, Joe (Castiglione), President (David) Boren, they're going to tell us who we're going to go play. What needs to be done in the best interest for our university will be done. I just hope it works out for the best for all of our sports, including baseball.”
Big 12 Tournament→OU 13, Kansas State 2: Sooners' Garrett Buechele hits two homers in rout of Wildcats. →Texas A&M 9, Texas 3: No. 1-ranked Longhorns exit Big 12 tournament winless. →Q&A: Missouri's Ryan Gebhart talks about his first career home run in Missouri's win over Texas Tech. Pages 4-5B
Today's gameBig 12 Championship: Texas A&M vs. Baylor →When: 1 p.m. →Where: Bricktown Ballpark →TV: FSOK (Cox 37) →Tickets: $10 tickets are available for the game at the box office or by calling 218-1000.