There is lack of job security. There is a severe lack of job security. And then there was the tenuous situation between the Big XII, and conference commissioner Dan Beebe. The two sides have famously clashed for a while now, and it was almost assured that if the conference were to be saved, Beebe would have to go. Well with news on Tuesday that Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech were staying put, something had to give. That something was Beebe’s job, which he no longer has effective Thursday night.
This from a wire report released earlier this evening:
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe is out after the conference nearly collapsed for the second time in just over a year.
In a statement, the Big 12 said its board of directors and Beebe reached a “mutual agreement” for Beebe to leave the job immediately.
Well, that settles that then.
As we just mentioned, this news is about as shocking as a drunken fist-fight on the Jersey Shore. The Big XII has been unstable for the last two years, with Colorado, Nebraska and Texas A&M all leaving for greener pastures of other conferences, and the four previously mentioned schools from Oklahoma and Texas likely doing the same, had it not been for a rejection from the Pac-12 earlier this week. When it became clear that Oklahoma in specific might end up staying in the Big XII, reports immediately surfaced from the Oklahoman and other outlets that the brass from Norman wanted Beebe out, effective immediately. That became official today.
Of course the obvious point of contention with Beebe, was the belief that he was- for lack of a better term- in bed with DeLoss Dodds and the good old boys down in Texas. Beebe was ultimately the one that gave the green light on the Longhorn Network, the same network that the Pac-12 (then the Pac-10) refused to accept as part of the school’s admittance into the conference back two summers ago.
Clearly though the Pac-12 was onto something (as Larry Scott almost always is), as the station has driven a wedge between the Longhorns and just about every other conference rival in the Midwest.
From the start it has seemed like Texas (and their corporate partner ESPN) have been willing to push the bounds of not only journalistic integrity, but also any sort of integrity period, as well as any common decency to their conference rivals. Whatever inherent advantages that the school had by having the network were only intensified when Texas decided to broadcast high school games of Longhorn recruits in the summer, before an NCAA moratorium put a hold of that. Even still, the network has frustrated others in the conference by continuing to show high school highlights, and even agreed to move a second Texas game to its airwaves as well.
Really, whether it’s fair or not to Texas, that Longhorn Network is in large part which almost led to the demise of the conference as a whole. Former member Nebraska had plenty of choice words for Texas on their way out of the conference a year ago, and Texas A&M had similar sentiments this year, as they’ve gotten set to depart for the SEC. Once it was announced earlier this week that everyone in the conference was staying put (the Longhorns in particular), someone had to fall on the sword, and that was Beebe.
What’s interesting now though, is what’s next. For starters, former Big 8 commissioner Chuck Neinas has been named as interim commissioner of the conference, and his first order of business is trying to figure out a way to keep everyone happy going forward. It has already been reported that Oklahoma is looking into starting their own television network, so maybe that’ll quite the quells from Norman for now.
And then there’s this: Just because the Big XII survived, doesn’t mean that it’ll necessarily stay where they’re at with nine teams. There has already been chatter about expansion, with the possibility that TCU- which was expected to head to the Big East- could come into the mix. This conference may be stable for now, but it doesn’t mean that they won’t try to get to at least 10, or maybe even 12 teams again going forward. Which could lead to even more he-said, she-said, shady, backroom realignment chatter.
Of course of all ancillary things there are plenty more too. Beebe was supposed to part of the NCAA Basketball Tournament Selection committee next March, a post that he may now have to vacate. Adding intrigue to the situation is that the Committee Chair is former UConn Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway, who was also forced to vacate his position this summer as well. It may have been announced as a “retirement,” from UConn, but there was nothing voluntary about it.
Then finally, there is maybe the most important question in this whole mess, which is this: What becomes of the fake Dan Beebe Twitter account?
Follow Aaron Torres on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.