Big 12 can prove growth at Media Days

I had a good laugh after taking this picture at Big 12 Media Days last year.

There on stage stood the majority of the conference’s football coaches in different outfits, not exactly sure what to do in front of a big media crowd. Behind them was a hired announcer with a microphone, excitingly telling everyone to take out their cameras because, as he put it: “It’s rare you have the chance to get all 10 coaches in the Big 12 together for a picture.”

Incredibly rare considering all 10 coaches weren’t even up there. If you look close, Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville bailed on the event. We were later told he was playing golf at a Red Raiders function.

Still, I had a new camera in my right pocket, so I took it out and snapped the bad boy you see above. Glad I did, because it provides a perfect snapshot of everything that was wrong with the Big 12 back then.

Former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, who stepped down under considerable fire a few months later, didn’t have control of the conference. There were rumors Texas A&M wanted out (turned out the Aggies were already tunneling under the fence), Missouri wasn’t exactly happy either (the Tigers are now in the SEC with A&M) and everyone was angry at Texas because of The Longhorn Network, and then … this.

Beebe couldn’t even arrange for all 10 of the Big 12′s coaches to show up for a picture.

Ouch.

Making the moment even more embarrassing, the photo-op came in the middle of an over-the-top presentation that began with Beebe walking on stage with the theme music from “The Natural” blaring behind him.

Instead of addressing the problems that existed within the league, the Big 12 tried to impress onlookers with a ridiculous show of smoke and mirrors. It didn’t work. The league almost crumbled.

The conference has come a long way since then, of course. Lengthy, mega television deals have been signed, granting of rights have been agreed to, a new commissioner has been hired, The Longhorn Network is no longer hated, The Champions Bowl looks like a trendsetter and TCU and West Virginia are thrilled to be the new kids on the block.

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K-State issues statement on Big 12

Kansas State officials said they were committed to the Big 12 when Texas A&M was considering a move to the SEC, and their stance hasn’t changed now that the Aggies are officially on their way out of the Big 12.

“K-State remains fully committed to the Big 12 Conference and continues to be excited about its future,” said K-State president Kirk Schulz and athletic director John Currie in a joint statement.

“There is great solidarity among the nine league institutions and an eagerness to achieve the stability our students, fans and alumni deserve. We remain actively engaged with our conference administration and fellow presidents and athletic directors in proactively determining our next steps.”

Big 12 Board of Directors Chairman and University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton released a similar statement this afternoon.

“The chancellors and presidents of the Big 12 are committed to keeping our conference competitively and academically strong,” Deaton said. “We have a process in place that enables us to move aggressively regarding the possible expansion of the conference and to assure our members and student-athletes that we will take advantage of the most productive opportunities in the best interests of all.”

And here’s one more statement from Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe:

“The presidents and chancellors of the nine remaining member institutions are steadfast in their commitment to the Big 12. As previously stated, the Conference will move forward aggressively exploring its membership options.”