Well, leave it up to the Texas Longhorns to mess up a conference before it even has a chance to form. The University of Entitlement was told strongly on Tuesday night that there would be no special deals passed out by the Pac-12 and just the fact that Texas was expecting one was enough to shut down the discussion for expansion. Before you get too upset keep in mind that just over a month ago the SEC said they they were fine where they were as well but now they're just a bunch of pending litigation away from adding Texas A&M and somewhere down the road a 14th team.
There are a few things to keep in mind here when asking the question of where do we go from here?
- This was an indictment against Texas and not Oklahoma. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott was so dead set against the Texas attitude of special privileges that he himself didn't endorse the four Big 12 schools. He also knew that the Pac-12 presidents wouldn't go for it either.
"After careful review we have determined that it is in the best interests of our member institutions, student-athletes and fans to remain a 12-team conference," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. "While we have great respect for all of the institutions that have contacted us, and certain expansion proposals were financially attractive, we have a strong conference structure and culture of equality that we are committed to preserve."
- This doesn't mean that the Oklahoma to the Pack 12 scuttlebutt is over. Again, look back to the Texas A&M saga just a month ago. The SEC was against expansion until the Aggies applied and that very well could be the case for the Pac-12. No one has officially applied yet, thus meaning that no one has officially been rejected.
- Oklahoma remains in the driver's seat here. Its no coincidence that this process was moving along smoothly until the Longhorns were actively involved over the last week or so. Everyone knew the LHN would be an issue here and with neither the Pac-12 or Texas willing to budge it was only a matter of time before things fell apart. The LHN is now officially the albatross around the UT neck (or you could go with Scarlet Letter) and Oklahoma has shown no desire to follow them down the path of destruction.
- Changes in the Big East open up some doors for the Big 12. Does anyone actually believe that TCU is actually going to the Big East now? Not me! They are now waiting to see if the Big 12 can stabilize and will be knocking on the door, along with BYU, shortly. Could West Virginia be coming along as well?
- If Oklahoma stays in the Big 12 it will be with some serious changes. David Boren reiterated again on Tuesday night that the Sooners would be interested in staying in the conference if there were some changes involved.
"We were not surprised by the Pac 12's decision to not expand at this time," Boren said. "Even though we had decided not to apply for membership this year, we have developed a positive relationship with the leadership of the conference and we have kept them informed of the progress we've been making to gain agreement from the Big 12 for changes which will make the conference more stable in the future. Conference stability has been our first goal and we look forward to achieving that goal through continued membership in the Big 12 Conference."
To me this gives a bit of credibility to the story that broke earlier on Tuesday that Oklahoma would consider a reformed Big 12 that no longer includes Dan Beebe as a member.
- Texas no longer has the Pac-12 to fall back on. Thus they are close to being out of bargaining chips with the ACC and independence being a far cry from having an ace in the hole. Its becoming more and more evident that they are going to have to make some changes with their network structure if they intend on having a legitimate conference around them in the future.