College Football’s First Nuke: Burnt-Orange Glow

August 26 ESPN and the University of Texas will unleash an inconceivable college football recruiting beast on, at the very least, the Big 12 opponents of the Longhorns.

Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe: Father Of College Football Recruiting's Nuclear Age

(Big 12 Boss Dan Beebe: Father Of ESPN-Led Nuclear Recruiting Age)

Last month ESPN Programming VP Dave Brown, who oversees the Longhorn Network, said during an interview with ESPN Austin affiliate KZNX-FM that ESPN will broadcast high school football games inside and outside the state.

On July 14, the HOUSTON CHRONICLE reported that Longhorn Network partner ESPN will, according to Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds, “select the games based on what they [Longhorn Network management] feel is best.”

ESPN Longhorn Network VP Brown to KZNX on what those “best” high school football games - to be aired nationally on the Longhorn Network - will be:

“We’re going to follow the great [high school] players in the state. Obviously a kid like [unsigned Texas verbal commit] Johnathan Gray. I know people [Longhorn Network subscribers] are going to want to see Johnathan Gray, I can’t wait to see Johnathan Gray.

“Feedback from our audience is they just want to see Johnathan Gray run whether it’s 45-0 or not, they want to see more Johnathan Gray. So we’re going to do our best to accomodate them [Longhorn Network subscribers] and follow the kids who are being recruited by a lot of the Division I schools. Certainly some of the kids Texas has recruited and is recruiting and everyone else the Big 12 is recruiting.

“One other thing, you may see us, I know there’s a kid [unsigned Texas verbal commit] Connor Brewer from Chapparal high school in Arizona. We may try to get on one or two of their games as well so people [Longhorn Network subscribers] can see an incoming quarterback that’ll be part of the scene in Austin.

ESPN’s move to nationally televise high school football games of unsigned, prospective University of Texas student-athletes - and prospects who are still up for grabs - gives the Longhorns the equivalent of college football recruiting’s nuclear bomb, with UT free to use it while vying for recruits against Big 12 opponents and beyond.

Indeed, Texas AD Dodds sounded downright Oppenheimer-ish to the HOUSTON CHRONICLE as he awaited delivery of UT’s first ESPN-made recruiting game changer:

“We understand that this is a new world and that we’re leading the way in an area that is new to us and new to the NCAA and new to ESPN. Like everything else, we will do it in a first-class way, in the light of day.” 

Welcome to the NCAA’s brave new world! (Pay no mind to that unnatural burnt-orange glow Baylor fans, it’s perfectly safe to touch and taste.)

Brooks is on Twitter and Facebook

Big 12 To Pac-10 On CU: You Invite It, You Own It

Here’s some Tweets I posted Sunday morning about the prospect of the Pac-16:

Utah to the Pac-10

If you asked the man who runs the Big 12, Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds, if he’d take back Colorado at this point - without Nebraska - wonder what he’d say?

For the uninformed, that’s a rhetorical question.

Now, what’s my basis for Utah joining the Pac-10?

Read more…

Two Secret Weapons Blowing Apart The Big 12

With the Big 12’s demise now seemingly imminent, what caused such a powerful college sports player to collapse almost overnight?

Kevin Weiberg Chris Bevilacqua

(Kevin Weiberg and Chris Bevilacqua)

It wasn’t just the defection of the Nebraska. In fact, it probably has more to do with two guys you never heard of than anything that’s been reported in the past week.

The prospect of an increased annual television payout from Fox is what first led Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds to meet with Pac-10 officials three weeks ago in Austin to discuss a possible exodus of Big 12 schools to the Pac-10.

So where did that new television plan come from? Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott certainly had something to do with it, but the magnet that is the Pac-10 for Texas is more about two Scott hires than the commissioner himself. Read more…

Texas A&M: No SEC Invite, No 72-Hour Deadline

Chuck Carlton of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS has this Saturday:

Texas A&M fan

Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott was en route from Colorado to the states of Texas and Oklahoma with invitations in hand, a source familiar with the process confirmed.

If the Aggies cannot commit, the Pac-10 is prepared to invite Kansas with its great basketball tradition. While the Jayhawks are desperate to find a landing spot, they would have to leave in-state rival Kansas State, a political problem.

Meanwhile Kirk Bohls of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN reports that Texas A&M does not have an official invitation to join the SEC but does have a “firm” invite from the Pac-10.

Texas A&M does not have a firm invitation to join the Southeastern Conference and may not receive one at all, a very highly-placed school official at one of the Big 12 schools expected to leave for the Pac-10 Conference no later than Tuesday told the Statesman on Saturday afternoon.

“They don’t have an offer,” said the high-profile figure, who is heavily involved in these conference realignment negotiations. “They do not have an offer. They can’t.”

The school official said, “I don’t think they are risking anything (by A&M’s indecisiveness), not if they’re looking (at the SEC).”

He confirmed that is because A&M knows it has a solid invitation to join the Pac-10 along with Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott is in the process of visiting those Big 12 schools between now and Tuesday when the board of regents for Texas and Texas Tech meet in separate meetings.

“He’s trying to hit everybody,” the source said of Scott. “He’s among some of the schools now. He won’t be here on Tuesday.”

If A&M were to try to secure an invitation to the SEC, the source said the Pac-10 would seriously consider Kansas.

When asked today by the ASSOCIATED PRESS if the Pac-10’s Scott was indeed en route to Austin, Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds said, “could be.

How much time will the Pac-10 give A&M to make an affiliation decision? Read more…

NU Regents Chairman: Big 10 Reports ‘Inaccurate’

Brian Christopherson of the LINCOLN JOURNAL-STAR reports Nebraska Board of Regents Chairman Bob Phares said Wednesday evening that he had no knowledge of the school receiving an invitation to the Big Ten and that, “a report being circulated this afternoon among sports media stating that the University of Nebraska Board of Regents ‘met informally’ today and have ‘agreed to move to the Big Ten’ is not accurate.

Texas Coach Says School AD did not say Big 12 is dead

Chip Brown of Texas sports website Orangebloods.com reported earlier today:

Nebraska regents have informally agreed to leave for the Big Ten. A formal announcement will come Friday.

More from Christopherson on NU Regents Chairman Phares:

I asked Phares about reports circulating through cyberspace that Nebraska’s Board of Regents have agreed to move to the Big Ten and that a formal announcement Nebraska is leaving will come Friday.

Phares answer: “First of all, there are several factual errors. No. 1, there’s been no vote by the board at all. No. 2, as I understand it, there are no invitations that are extended. You decide if you wish to make an application and then they react to your application.

ESPN.com reported earlier Wednesday, “a source close to the Nebraska program told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that athletic director Tom Osborne informed some staff members within the past 24 hours that the Cornhuskers were going to make the move to the Big Ten conference.”

Christopherson revealed after Mortensen’s report Wednesday evening that, “The Journal Star has spoken to coaches from three different sports who said there has been no meeting with Osborne since last Friday.

Phares added to the Journal-Star: “I heard that there were reports that Tom Osborne had advised all of his staff that it was a done deal. You can talk to Tom and see what his comment is. I would be immensely surprised if that was the case, because as I said there’s been no vote by the board and no formal decision.

Also today, Orangebloods.com reported: “Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds and president Williams Powers gathered UT coaches today at 2 p.m. CT to tell them they did everything they could to save the Big 12 but that they were unsuccessful.

The AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN’s Alan Trubow reported after that Orangebloods.com report: Read more…

French Revolution In Offing For NCAA Monarchy?

On Feb. 1, I was told by a prominent network television executive that the NCAA had approached CBS, ESPN and other network television outlets about expanding the NCAA basketball tournament to 96 teams. The idea, if executed, would have an enormous impact on NCAA members schools that supply the teams for the billion-dollar enterprise.

NCAA Facing French Revolution

After I broke the news, I was amazed to find out that the Athletic Director who runs the most profitable university athletic department in the NCAA, DeLoss Dodds at the University of Texas, had no idea that the NCAA was considering expanding the men’s basketball tournament to 96 teams.

The day after I published my piece, USA TODAY reported that Dodds said of March Madness expansion:

“If they’re having discussions about those things, they should be more public and more open so people can weigh in on what the issues are and what the benefits are and what the downsides are.

“I don’t know their process, but their process seems to be pretty hidden.”

Probably the most powerful man in collegiate athletics outside of Indianapolis, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, voiced similar concerns to SportingNews.com on Feb. 2:

“I’m not looking to see the basketball season made less relevant because we do an expansion without knowing a lot about this.”

On March 30 Delany, who chaired the committee that oversaw the NCAA’s expansion to a 64-team men’s NCAA basketball tournament, told USA Today that an expansion to 96 teams was “probable.”

Last week the NCAA announced it would not be expanding to 96 teams - for now.

So perhaps the two most powerful men in collegiate athletics not under the employ of the NCAA or a television network, Jim Delany and DeLoss Dodds, were completely out of the loop on the NCAA’s 96-team expansion plan.

NCAA senior vice president Greg Shaheen, who oversees the men’s basketball tournament, gives a clue to USA Today why Dodds and Delany weren’t in the loop:

Countering those concerns, Shaheen says the late NCAA President Myles Brand kept university presidents on NCAA boards informed “for several years” of the association’s study of the issue, including the potential for tournament expansion.

Translation: The 18 university presidents on the NCAA Board of Directors knew what was going on, along with Shaheen, his NCAA interoffice associates and network TV execs. That’s it. And those individuals have the power to do whatever they want, including expanding the tournament to 96 teams without the consultation of anyone.

So Dodds and Delany, who are among those most responsible for creating the revenue that justifies the very existence of the NCAA, have absolutely no say on an issue that could have an enormous financial impact on all NCAA schools.

Now, think about who the central figures are in those super conference talks you’ve been hearing about.

Dodds and Delany. Read more…