Perry is a former Texas A&M yell leader. “After the Aggies leave school, they're still looking for a yell leader,” Pickens said. He said he told Perry to be that leader.
But A&M vice president for communications Jason Cook, responding to Pickens, said, “Texas A&M has made our intentions perfectly clear. We do not intend to be a member of the Big 12 past this season.”
Another source from a Big 12 school said OU's demands could prompt Texas to compromise. If the Sooners and Cowboys leave the Big 12, Texas is not likely to stay and almost surely would have to acquiesce on its network anyway, in some other league. Why not give in and keep the Big 12 together?
“You've got to have some of these items of trust,” the first source said. “Some clear understanding of what individual networks can do.”
The source said OU's goal is not to run the Big 12. He said OU's goal is to not have any school run the conference.
And the impression has been that Texas, via Beebe, has run roughshod over the Big 12.
“The perception is, he answers only to one school,” the source said. “That does not work.”
The source said Beebe made the decision that appeasing Texas was the Big 12's best hope for stability. “He made the wrong decision,” the source said. Instead, that led to instability, with the departure of Nebraska and now A&M.
The source said Big 12 presidents view Beebe as a commissioner serving only one school, Texas. They lay Nebraska's departure in June 2010 at the feet of Beebe.
“When a commissioner has a tin ear to what's happening in Nebraska and doesn't get himself up there…” the source said.
Ironically, the source said, Texas supported another candidate for commissioner four years ago, when Beebe was hired, while OU supported Beebe.
The source also said Beebe left items off the conference agenda that could have helped corral The Longhorn Network, such as a conference game being televised.
“The best commissioner's a consensus builder,” the source said. “We need a consensus-builder commissioner.
“You take the Big Ten, SEC, the Pac-12, their conference office runs circles around our conference in capability, not to mention bias. This commissioner totally cost us Texas A&M.”
The source said that OU could even push for revenue-sharing of individual networks. Texas is reaping more than $12 million a year from its ESPN contract with the Longhorn Network.
“What if we share a small percentage?” the source asked. “That's a real strong show of support. Where's anybody going to go in any other conference that doesn't want all your network? Wouldn't it be a nice show of good faith?
“It would be making sure the conference was even-handed and stable.
“It's true there's some things in favor of the Pac-12. Plain stability. We don't want to have to do this every year. What do we do? What do we do?”