A few weeks ago, I had the chance to talk with Kansas State athletic director John Currie about what it was like for him dealing with the conference realignment scare of 2010.
How did he handle it? How stressful was that time? What did he learn? Those type of questions.
The conversation came near the end of June, when he was so confident about the makeup of a 10-team Big 12 that he said, “We emerged stronger than ever as a league and we have a great, great future.”
Today, I’m guessing he would say something a little different. Now that the rumblings of Texas A&M plotting a move to the SEC have gone national, there is concern across the Big 12.
A lot of dominoes need to fall in just the right way before panic sets in as it did last summer, when it briefly looked like teams such as Kansas, Missouri, K-State, Baylor and Iowa State would be left without a conference to call home.
This whole act could be nothing more than a bluff from the Aggies, the SEC expanding to 13 doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and there’s a decent chance the Big 12 could survive the loss of A&M and continue as a nine-team league.
Still conference realignment is once again a topic of conversation.
One thing that should help everyone involved this time around, should serious negotiations need to be made, is that they’ve been through this dance before. Here is how Currie remembers it:
“It was really intellectually stimulating because there was a lot happening that you had to try and figure out,” Currie said. “You had to think ahead and try to anticipate moves and make sure we picked the best route for Kansas State. There’s not a whole lot of reason to go back and examine that whole scene, but we were working really aggressively in that.
“There were some really interesting scenarios for K-State that I think could have been very positive, but the number one goal the whole time was to keep the Big 12 together, because we knew what we had was very special and very viable.
“The thing that caused anxiety last summer was that I knew how important the Big 12 was to our university and to our fans and to our region. From an economic standpoint, to a sense of pride standpoint and to the history of our rivalries, being partners with four of the schools since 1905 and five of the schools since 1907, or something like that, those are very special relationships.
“I knew that was going to be the hardest part, if that hadn’t worked out. It would have been such a blow to the psyche of our folks. I saw the passion that our fans had for the Big 12 and what it meant to them. So I worked very hard to make sure we ended up with a positive outcome.”