Dan Beebe Rip VanWinkles the Big 12

Brian Graham, KCSportsNation

After Texas A&M, one of the Big 12 Conferences “big three” along with Texas and Oklahoma in the “Big 12 money grab” announced September 2 that it was leaving the Big 12 Conference, certainly destined for the SEC, the question remains, what will conference commissioner Dan Beebe do next? The question should read, what will Dan Beebe DO because he has not done anything in the past 15 months besides sign a long-term, lucrative football television contract. What he should do is resign. If the man had any integrity, he would. But he doesn’t, so he won’t. So now it’s up to the Big 12(-3) Conference Athletic Director’s, curators and presidents to ALL call for Beebe’s immediate resignation. There is no one else to blame for the Big 12 losing 25% of its membership in a year’s span, while other power conferences have stayed idle or added teams. All the while, Beebe sits idly by and does nothing besides saying things like, “We’ll be OK as long as we have Texas.” He is not proactive. He isn’t even reactive. He does nothing. In a time when conference realignment and expansion is a certainty, how can any member institution of the Big 12(-3) conference feel comfortable with Dan Beebe leading the way when Beebe is doing nothing more than steering a sinking ship?

Beebe’s lack of leadership speaks volumes about the state of the Big 12 Conference and if Beebe remains in power, the Big 12 will be gone, dissolved, crumbled by July 2013, if not sooner. Of course, Beebe is really at the mercy of the remaining institutions and what they decide to do. Beebe has been at the mercy of Texas, the real leader of the Big 12. Beebe is just the puppet.

While the Big 12(-3) has lost three members, other conferences have been proactive. The Pac-10 (12) added two teams (Utah, Colorado), one who just so happens to be from the Big 12 (not that they’ll be missed), increasing its membership by 20%. The Big 10(+2) stole Nebraska from the Big 12, the SEC now has Texas A&M, who is ending its long-time partnership with Texas and walking away from a long-time rivalry, as well as committing virtual football suicide leaving a conference where they were barely on life support over the last decade for an even better (the best) football conference and even the lowly Big East, easily considered the lesser of the BCS conferences expanded by adding TCU, a traditional football power that would have been perfect for the Big 12(-3) since they are in the Big 12’s backyard.

Beebe claims that the Big 12 “will move forward aggressively exploring its membership options.” Too late Beebe. How about you have a little initiative and insight and are the first conference to add teams. Now, what institution would come to the Big 12(-3), a conference that is obviously unstable and could be gone within a few years. If Beebe were a contraceptive, he would clearly be the Day After pill, as he always a day late. SMU is the only school to express publicly interest in the Big 12. But they offer nothing to the conference. The Big 12(-3) does not need Dallas since Texas takes care of that market. Others schools discussed have been Houston, like SMU, is from Conference USA and former member of the old Southwest Conference and BYU, a current independent in football and member of the West Coast Conference in other sports who has a very lucrative TV deal with ESPN. The latest popular school out there is Pittsburg, which does not make much sense, but according to powermizzou.com writer Gabe DeArmond, “People from multiple Big 12 markets are hearing this.” Orangebloods.com writer Chip Brown also reported this on Texas’ site. But none of this makes any sense for any of the school’s. It would be a great move for Houston and SMU to attach themselves to a BCS conference, but is it safe to join an unstable conference that in all likelihood is dying? Pittsburgh makes no sense at all. In the end, it doesn’t really matter, as Beebe has missed the boat. No institution in their right mind would join the Big 12. It may even be too late for someone else to lead the Big 12(-3), but if the conference wants any chance at existing it can not be under the leadership, or lack there of, of Dan Beebe.

Now back to A&M. The Aggies have been in the same conference for nearly a century, with the onset of the Southwest Conference in 1914. So why would they leave Texas (and Baylor, who has also been in the same conference as the 2 schools since 1914) after all this time, ruining tradition and jeopardizing one of the nation’s best rivalries? According to Texas A&M, things have changed drastically since it committed to the longevity of the Big 12 last summer. Athletic Director Bill Byrne said the exit of Nebraska and Colorado and the creation of Texas’ Longhorn Network made the Big 12 “considerably different” even with A&M as one of the beneficiaries financially. It seems the later, the Texas Longhorn Network, and Beebe doing nothing about it, sent Texas A&M packing. Leaving the Big 12 “is in the best interest of Texas A&M,” said university President R. Bowen Loftin. He continued, “We are seeking to generate greater visibility nationwide for Texas A&M and our championship-caliber student-athletes, as well as secure the necessary and stable financial resources to support our athletic and academic programs. This is a 100-year decision that we have addressed carefully and methodically.”

Texas A&M, which has been in the Big 12 since its founding in 1996, said it will submit an application to join another, unspecified conference. Everyone knew that conference would be the SEC. If accepted, which it was Monday A&M would leave the Big 12, effective June 30, 2012.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive confirmed A&M’s path to the SEC Monday night.

“In the 78-year history of the SEC, the conference had accepted the membership applications of only two institutions—Arkansas and South Carolina,” he said. “Texas A&M is now the third.”

Beebe continues to say the same thing over and over again like a broken record, “The presidents and chancellors of the remaining member institutions are steadfast in their commitment to the Big 12.” But he is doing nothing about it. And he will continue to think it is OK as long as Texas is fat and happy, and to a lesser extent Oklahoma. The conference will remain intact as long as both institutions remain members. Not so fast. Throw Mizzou in the mix. If they leave, the conference will cease to exist. It will be unable to function with eight teams. Mizzou could turn this into a pay ay and demand the money that A&M was set to receive and become the third big dog in the conference. But that still might not keep the conference together. If college football is on its way to 4 16-team power conferences, the Pac-12, SEC and Big 10(+2), conferences with commissioners that have been ahead of the curve, will survive, grow and continue to proper. The ACC and Big East would merge into some sort of a conference as some of their teams are sucked up by the other conferences, and the Big 12 will be DEAD. Oklahoma and Texas are in the position where they can call any conference in the nation right now and tell them they want into the conference, and the conference would open their arms wide open and let them in. Missouri does not have that luxury, but if they were lured away, the conference’s chances of surviving, which is already low, diminishes greatly.

Beebe is in a rare situation of running a conference that is ran by a university, Texas, instead of by a commissioner. He allowed Texas to be the dominant university financially and politically, turning him into a puppet and running Nebraska and Texas A&M out of town. Now Texas has all the power, and they are credited with saving the conference, whenever they, because of Beebe, ruined the conference, ultimately killing it. Beebe thought he needed Texas to keep the conference together. Instead the power he appeased to them, is killing it. And he is going down with the conference as he sits back watching it sink.

Dan Beebe, man-up. Admit your mistakes and resign.

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