Kansas regents push up Big 12 talks

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 | 2:29 p.m. CDT

TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday moved up the time of a scheduled executive session to discuss the future of the Big 12 Conference, and how any changes would affect Kansas and Kansas State.

Regents Chairman Ed McKechnie said the board would meet Wednesday afternoon instead of Thursday because of the pace of discussions taking place throughout the conference at various levels.

"Our priority is to have Kansas and Kansas State be together in the Big 12," McKechnie said. "It appears that we are making great progress toward that.

"I think the Big 12 is the best place for KU and K-State to be, and I hope that we are on the cusp of that happening."

Officials at Kansas and Kansas State declined to comment and deferred all questions to the nine-member Board of Regents. The executive session will be part of the board's scheduled monthly meeting in Topeka.

Regents have been watching closely as rumors about the conference dissolving have swirled, hinging on the possible departure of Oklahoma and Texas.

On Tuesday, the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors decided not to expand, quashing speculation that Oklahoma and Texas would be joining former Big 12 member Colorado, which joined the Pac-12 this season.

Texas officials said Wednesday that they were open to restructuring revenue contracts shared with the remaining Big 12 members. Texas President William Powers said the top priority was to bring stability to the conference.

McKechnie said a stable Big 12 would be in the best interest for Kansas and Kansas State, but declined to say how that could be accomplished.

"I think we have a lot of smart people to figure that out," he said. "This is all about TV sets. We're a small state, that's the problem."

McKechnie said a reconstituted Big 12 was the best arrangement for the Jayhawks and Wildcats, whether it adds more members or not.

"What is the right number? We have an awful lot of people who make an awful lot of money and the need to tell us that," McKechnie said.

He said that he hoped Texas A&M could remain part of the conference and not move to the Southeastern Conference next July as has been announced.

"If everything gets fixed, I would love for A&M to stay," he said. "But we need to be the Big 12 in more than name only. Our name ought to reflect who we are."

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matt arnall September 21, 2011 | 3:19 p.m.

Missouri should go to the SEC. Texas and Oklahoma are much too full of themselves and are looking to go wherever they can benefit the most. They would have gone to the PAC12, but those schools were not willing to bow down to what OU/UT demanded. The Big 12 was in trouble as soon as they let schools go without replacing them. What kind of thinking that was, I can't tell, but for many reasons we need to be in a conference that is going to be there in the future and I don't see the Big12 being there. Aldon acts so suprised in every interview I see with him that the 12 is going down, and Bebee has not been a strong leader of the conference by letting schools go while sitting on his hands and doing nothing to replace them. The SEC is a strong conference and would best suit MU going forward. We should look out for ourselves first. We can be sure that is what UT/OU are doing.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith September 21, 2011 | 3:56 p.m.

If you believe Missouri is a Southern state then the SEC makes sense. Geographically, Missouri is bounded by three states with SEC teams: Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas. It's also bounded by three states with Big 10 teams, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska, but the Big 10 hasn't shown much interest.

On the other hand, geography doesn't seem to matter much. For example, University of Colorado teams now compete in the PAC-12. Maybe I should look into some Pacific Ocean beach property in Colorado. :)

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