Lower than every week in the past, overpaid and ineffective NCAA president Mark Emmert publicly prompt decentralizing and deregulating the longtime governing physique to offer extra energy to conferences and particular person colleges.
As Texas Longhorns management prepares for that probably seismic change and appears forward to a future that won’t embrace continued participation within the Massive 12 Convention, the time is quickly approaching for Board of Regents chairman Kevin Eltiffe, college president Jay Hartzell, and athletics director Chris Del Conte to make daring strikes.
In a narrative first damaged by the Houston Chronicle, that daring imaginative and prescient for the long run consists of potentially joining the SEC with Oklahoma as faculty soccer strikes in direction of a 12-team playoff that makes the additions extra interesting for the SEC.
“With an expanded playoff, the addition of Oklahoma and Texas to the convention would create extra premier common season video games with out threatening the potential for the SEC to get a number of groups into the playoff,” an SEC supply told DawgSports.
Certainly, the creation of 16-team tremendous conferences might assist guarantee extra assured playoff spots for the SEC and different tremendous conferences towards a backdrop of adjusting tv utilization by followers.
As ESPN and FOX declined to interact in early negotiations with the Massive 12, the tenuous place of the convention shifting ahead previous the grant of rights that ends in 2025 certainly turned clear to college management and matches with the timetable of curiosity within the SEC.
A transfer to the nation’s finest soccer convention and a willingness to precipitate the beginning of a serious spherical of realignment stands in stark distinction to the unaligned and staid choices made 10 years in the past.
Confronted with the prospect of precipitating the same stage of realignment by creating the Pac-16, Texas president Invoice Powers and athletics director DeLoss Dodds as a substitute opted to stay in a diminished Massive 12 and create the Longhorn Community, a profitable improvement for the college, however a call that made the Massive 12 a zombie convention shambling by the decade-plus earlier than the expiration of its grant of rights.
Put into perspective with the good thing about hindsight, the concentrate on lecturers and unwillingness to look east to the SEC mixed with the notion that Texas bullied smaller colleges resulted in key departures from the Massive 12 and an final lack of imaginative and prescient from college management.
A minimum of the choice to not create the Pac-16 was the best transfer, however as a Massive 12 supply told Stadium’s Brett McMurphy, “This was inevitable.”
With no cheap choices to increase previous 10 groups and a second-tier Energy 5 product to promote to tv carriers as consumption habits shift in direction of streaming, it’s solely been a matter of time earlier than the 2 largest colleges within the Massive 12 regarded for higher choices.
Now it seems a college management group that was lengthy dysfunctional, partly due to presidents extra inquisitive about lecturers or a Board of Regents loaded with Rick Perry cronies tired of really advancing the pursuits of the state’s flagship college, is able to make the strikes postpone 10 years in the past.
Leaving the Massive 12 early seems unlikely — Texas and Oklahoma would owe in extra of $70 million apiece along with “all precise loss, harm, prices, or bills.”
However the Longhorn Community looks as if much less of an obstacle with a number of reviews indicating that Texas is keen to get out of its cope with ESPN with the prospect of constructing more cash within the SEC — the convention simply signed a roughly $300 million-per-year deal with Disney final yr that begins in 2024.
And there’s little doubt that ESPN could be joyful to flee from its Longhorn Community obligations after the failures by Texas to achieve soccer and difficulties securing carriage agreements made it a money-losing venture to the tune of almost $50 million by its first 5 years.
The most important hurdle for Texas and Oklahoma to clear is present SEC membership — in line with bylaws, 11 of the 14 packages have to increase an invite to new members.
Texas A&M, scared to lose its recruiting benefit as the one SEC program within the state of Texas and content material to remain out of the prolonged shadow solid by its huge brother, instantly got here out as vehemently against the additions.
“We need to be the one SEC staff from the state of Texas,” Texas A&M athletics director Ross Bjork advised reporters at SEC media days, according to Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated. “There’s a purpose why Texas A&M left the Massive 12 — to be stand-alone and have our personal id. That’s our feeling.”
Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman reviews that Missouri, apparently nonetheless bearing a grudge from its personal departure from the Massive 12, would additionally vote against the additions.
However would two different colleges be a part of these packages in conserving the SEC growth from occurring? Would the SEC actually enable its two most up-to-date additions, neither of which have notably spectacular resumes within the convention, to maintain the convention from solidly securing the SEC’s place because the nation’s foremost soccer league shifting ahead? From making much more cash?
These two colleges could also be on the verge of a impolite awakening about how a lot energy they actually wield of their new convention because the SEC considers whether or not so as to add the fourth-most winningest program in faculty soccer historical past and the sixth-most winningest program in faculty soccer historical past.
A&M doesn’t crack the highest 20 and Missouri barely ranks inside the highest 50.
John Lopez believes there may be “a lot of momentum” for the strikes to occur as Texas presumably learns from its previous errors and guarantees to play higher with others as a a lot much less dominant and way more equal member of the SEC. The final decade has actually supplied loads of room for the college to find some humility.
If there may be really important momentum for Texas and Oklahoma to hitch the SEC, Texas A&M and Missouri could not be capable of scuttle the growth as Texas management lastly makes its huge play to finest place the college in a rapidly-changing panorama.