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UT and OU Reaching Out to Join SEC

Discussion in 'Football: NFL, College, High School' started by MadMax, Jul 21, 2021.

  1. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member
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    [​IMG]
     
  2. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast

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    Needs more bowties and confederate flags.
     
  3. DonnyMost

    DonnyMost clean your room bucko
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    This went from interesting to downright enthralling with this ESPN meddling stuff.

    Now the Big 12 is in the middle of a full blown prisoners dilemma.

    I never would have thought in a million years the AAC would put Big 12 out of business, but here we are.

    Lesson learned. You don't **** with the Mouse.
     
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  4. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    After adding Oklahoma and Texas, what is the SEC’s endgame? The rest of the NCAA fears a super league

    SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is a voracious reader, and he loves to share the books he has enjoyed with the world. On Jan. 3, 2019 — four days before Alabama played Clemson for the national title in Santa Clara, Calif., and shortly before the other FBS commissioners placed Sankey on a working group to design a new model for the College Football Playoff — Sankey recommended a book that had been released a month earlier called “The Club: How The English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports.”

    The book explains how a select group of English soccer teams broke away from a longstanding, mom-and-pop-run, grassroots-based league to form their own modern, television-funded collective. (Any of this sound familiar?) The creation of the new league infuriated the English soccer establishment and enraged the purists in the fan base. (Any of that sound familiar?)

    It also became by far the most popular and most lucrative sports league in the world.

    The parallels between English soccer and college football are uncanny*, and for anyone watching the SEC pull the pin on another potential detonation of the college sports map by adding Oklahoma and Texas, it’s fair to wonder if this is one of the first steps toward college football’s version of a Premier League. With the business model in flux because of legislative action at the state and federal levels and because of a landmark Supreme Court ruling, the future of how college sports will be governed and organized is uncertain.

    But two things are certain: By working behind the scenes to add two of the strongest brands in college sports while simultaneously working to remake the ultra-lucrative postseason format in a way that benefits his league tremendously, Sankey made the SEC the most powerful league in college sports, and he created a current of fear and mistrust within the other leagues as everyone else tries to discern the SEC’s endgame. Does it simply want the most money, power and influence in the still-fractured world of college sports? Is it preparing for a world where the conferences — rather than the NCAA — set their own rules to avoid running afoul of the federal court system? Or is the SEC laying the groundwork years ahead of time for a top-division national college football Super League that lives under the SEC banner?

    *In a true case of worlds colliding, a former University of Texas regent even pops up in the book. Tom Hicks was a co-owner of Liverpool from 2007 to 2010. Meanwhile, the structure of the proposed 12-team College Football Playoff — with inflection points between No. 4 and No. 5 (first-round byes), No. 8 and No. 9 (first-round home games) and No. 12 and No. 13 (did you get in?) — resembles the Premier League table, with inflection points between No. 1 and No. 2 (did you win the league?), No. 4 and No. 5 (did you make the Champions League?) and No. 17 and No. 18 (did you get relegated?). Maybe the book was still fresh in Sankey’s mind as he helped craft the proposal?

    In the cases of English soccer and college football, television changed both sports from regionally rooted, high-passion, low-dollar ventures to multibillion-dollar businesses. For college football, it was a slower burn following the 1984 Supreme Court ruling in the University of Oklahoma’s lawsuit against the NCAA that returned control of college football television rights to the schools. It became abundantly clear that all members of Division I weren’t equal. Conferences started changing shape within a few years. The Big Ten added Penn State in the early 1990s. Around the same time, the SEC added Arkansas and South Carolina so it could stage a championship game. The Southwest Conference folded, and the remaining members teamed with the Big Eight to form the Big 12. Every time new TV contracts were about to be signed, another round of realignment took place. The ACC pillaged the Big East in the early 2000s. The SEC took Texas A&M and Missouri from the Big 12 in 2011 in order to launch its own cable network. The Big Ten, looking to expand the stable of brands and the local footprint of its cable network, added Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland during that period of realignment. And now, with the SEC about to start a new deal with ESPN and the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 soon to renegotiate their deals with their media rights partners, here we are again.

    For English soccer, the change happened much more quickly. While the SEC was working to add Arkansas and South Carolina on this side of the Atlantic, 22 English club owners spent two years trying to carve out their own league. Just like Power 5 members wanting autonomy to govern their more lucrative concerns without the Group of 5, FCS, Division II and Division III weighing them down, the 22 clubs wanted to grow the business by putting more games on television. They wanted to plow that money into stadium improvements that would allow for less prehistoric bathrooms. They wanted to lengthen halftime so fans could actually use those bathrooms. In short, they felt the others were holding them back. And let’s be honest: They wanted to make a ton of money.

    “But as the top clubs grew their ambitions, they came to see the rest of the English game as a burden,” authors Jonathan Clegg and Joshua Robinson write. “Anytime they tried to do anything, from putting names on the backs of jerseys to lengthening the halftime break, there were others digging their heels in for the sake of it. The big clubs were fed up. Why should the biggest potential football businesses in the country have their futures tethered to entities that moved at roughly the pace of tectonic plates? Their plan was to take the English soccer pyramid and lop the pointy bit off. The rest could fend for themselves.”

    Could college football at some point “lop the pointy bit off?” Or is that exactly what’s happening now? We’ll save the Alabama-is Manchester United-and-Auburn-is-Manchester City comparisons for another column, but given the current state of flux in college sports, it’s a legitimate question.

    Earlier this month, NCAA president Mark Emmert suggested to a group of reporters that it might be better if sports were governed individually and not by a body that covers them all. “We need to be ready to say, ‘Yeah, you know, for field hockey, field hockey is different than football. Wrestling is different than lacrosse,’ and not get so hung up on having everything be the same,” Emmert told the group, which included the Associated Press. It’s possible that the NCAA moves quickly to change its constitution and allow for such decentralization to begin soon. The NCAA’s NIL policy could be a blueprint of how the overall power would shift more to individual conferences and individual schools.

    All of this has led those who have worked at multiple levels of college sports to read the tea leaves.

    “Look at the big picture: This is a precursor of what’s to come, in terms of the super league, this is the first step,” former TCU, South Carolina and Texas A&M athletic director Eric Hyman told The Athletic’s Seth Emerson this week. “Part of the reasoning is the disenchantment with the NCAA — and I felt it when I was there, the leadership, eh, I’ll just leave my thoughts out — the leadership had much to be desired, and as time has gone on it’s shown. It’s just jumped out at you. As people see it’s just incident after incident where there’s not been the leadership that’s needed to be. So maybe schools have maybe outgrown the NCAA. And maybe it’s something I sense that this is something where they need to control their own destiny. They need more support. And so to me this is the first step, a precursor of what’s to come in the future of college athletics.”

    At this point, Sankey is the only person who knows exactly what the SEC’s ultimate goal is. Multiple sources inside the conference insist that there is “no grand plan” here, that what’s happening now is the result of a can’t-miss opportunity to add two blueblood college football programs in Texas and Oklahoma. But those same sources do believe that the league is positioning itself well for a world in which the NCAA is increasingly irrelevant — and a world in which the SEC can chart its own course as the nation’s preeminent college football conference (or division). It’s not a coincidence that the SEC is making moves like this with the NCAA weaker and more fragmented than it’s ever been.

    At last week’s SEC Media Days — two days before news of the pending defections of Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC broke — Sankey addressed the looming changes. In his opening remarks, he made clear the needs of the SEC differ from the needs of other leagues throughout the NCAA. “The expectations, demands and pressures that are present on the campuses of this conference are not uniform across all of Division I,” Sankey said. “And expecting every conference to come together to debate, discuss, and produce effective decisions for everyone is not our modern reality. We must begin to adapt.” As for how the SEC will choose to adapt, Sankey hasn’t offered specifics. But plenty of others have guesses.
     
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  5. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    One idea circulating amongst commissioners, athletic directors and even university presidents is that the SEC is positioning itself for future growth, perhaps leading to the eventual formation of a 30-something-team super league that potentially governs itself — a mini-NFL, if you will. It could even include collective bargaining and salaries for players.

    “They want to be a seat of power — the only seat of power,” one administrator outside of the SEC said. “This feels like a stop along the way. … But if that’s where it ends, then it’s purely a self-interested, to-hell-with-everybody-else (enterprise).”

    Added another, “It’s all greed. No one is thinking about what’s best for college athletics anymore.”

    A different source said that, if he were in Sankey’s position, he’d do the exact same thing, loading up on the best and most valuable football programs in the country in case there’s an opportunity to further consolidate power down the line. (Clemson? Florida State?) The idea of the SEC creating a new model for itself that is better suited for its football programs over the long term is appealing to those in the conference who feel that they’re held back by being under the same umbrella as Division II and III schools.

    Meanwhile, a veteran of the last round of realignment expects at least one other league to try to strike back so the SEC’s influence doesn’t dwarf everyone else’s. R. Bowen Loftin, who was president at Texas A&M when that school joined the SEC and chancellor at Missouri shortly after that school joined the SEC, thinks the Big Ten will have a hard time standing pat. Loftin thinks former commissioner Jim Delany would have had a move lined up already.

    “This can’t be over,” Loftin said. “There’s no way the other conferences can tolerate the SEC going this route. Especially the Big Ten. They like being the Big Ten. Delany was a powerful guy. He would have had his own reaction to this.”

    Delany served as a foil to longtime SEC commissioner Mike Slive; they provided checks and balances to each other during major decision-making processes. Right now, Sankey is operating without such pushback. Between the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12, there are three new Power 5 commissioners; two hadn’t previously worked in college sports at all, so they have not yet endured a round of realignment. Early indications are that those three commissioners have been in close contact and have discussed the need to be aligned in their actions and reactions. It’s possible that type of alliance can balance out the SEC influence moving forward, giving the rest of the Power 5 some agency “instead of being the tail of the SEC — and when they choose to wag it, we move from this way and that way,” as one source put it.

    Influence is one side of the coin. Money is the other. USA Today recently estimated that a 16-team SEC with Texas and Oklahoma could make as much as $1.3 billion in revenue for its 2024-25 fiscal year. That is essentially where the NCAA is expected to be with its revenue at the same time, meaning that the SEC will, in just a few years, match the NCAA in revenue generated. Part of that projection includes estimated revenue from an expanded College Football Playoff, which is separate from the NCAA. The pandemic, too, made clear how little control the NCAA has over football. Decisions fell to individual conferences, and the 2020 season began with six FBS leagues playing and four postponing their seasons.

    So, what comes next? The media landscape is constantly changing, and fans’ consumption behavior has changed. The SEC announced in December that, beginning with the 2024-25 season, ESPN/ABC will be taking over the Saturday afternoon football TV package, and ESPN/ABC will pay the SEC “in the low $300 million range” annually, according to Sports Business Journal. Industry sources believe that “content is king” in future realignment, as leagues focus on matchups they can offer in regular-season competition in all sports. Conferences, such as the SEC, are focusing on finding and enhancing value. In the streaming era, networks need content people are willing to pay for.

    Would networks be willing to pay for a college football Premier League? Absolutely. Of course, the real Premier League had to include the concepts of relegation and promotion as a nod to history. How would the world of college football feel about that? Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, whose team is nowhere near the bottom of the table, cracked last week that it might spice up the game if consolidation does leave only the teams currently at the top in the uppermost division of college football. “If it’s 25, if they break off and have a Premier League and if you don’t do well enough you get relegated to the other league,” Swinney said. “I don’t know. Isn’t that what they do in soccer? Maybe we should do that. Maybe we should have a 40-team Premier League with a 12-team Playoff and if you stink you get relegated to the other level or something.”

    Careful, Dabo. Greg Sankey might be taking notes.
     
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  6. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    And the messiness that came out of the Bowlsby Bomb neatly summed up the fraught landscape in college athletics. One athletic director summed it up this way Wednesday: “This has created a lot more mistrust, a lot more dissension and a lot more hard feelings. If anything, that to me is why [the expansion to a 12-team playoff] slows down.”

    Added another: “Most everyone in college athletics outside the SEC is mad as hell. This is a black mark on the enterprise ... federal intervention may be the last resort to save us from ourselves.”

    Chimed in another longtime college official: “An industry destined to blow itself up.”

     
  7. sealclubber1016

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    We're really close to the top programs just going premier league and saying f**k all you guys and the NCAA.

    The smaller schools know it, and that's why they're panicking (or mad whatever term you want to use).
     
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  8. gucci888

    gucci888 Contributing Member

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    Does an AAC team even accept a Big 12 invitation right now? Crazy to even contemplate this.

    Bowlsby has nothing to lose himself really so can understand him going scorched earth. But it seems all Disney has to do is announce (publicly or privately) that they don’t plan on renewing their contract which would send the entire conference and their teams into a complete death spiral. Or they can help broker deals and landing spots. If I’m any of the final 8, I’m taking the latter.
     
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  9. dumbartonbass

    dumbartonbass Contributing Member
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    If you go by the other thread on this topic, the Big 12 is about to have a lot of AAC, Big 10 and Pac 12 teams banging on its door in the name of "winning titles"
     
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  10. gucci888

    gucci888 Contributing Member

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    Pretty sure that OP is trolling all of us. Lol.
     
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  11. Ziggy

    Ziggy 99ers STAND BY
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    Lulz, they MAD-madddd.

    Super league with relegation spots would be so fun though. Gotta have those relegation spots. Give the pee-pee teams some hope and excitement. A Hunger Games if you will.
     
  12. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member
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    OLEDs > CRTs
     
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  13. gucci888

    gucci888 Contributing Member

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    If the Big 12 wants any shot at surviving, they need to replace Bowlsby immediately.

     
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  14. Major

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    I imagine lots of universities would actually love this. The ones on the inside of the (#30-40 in the SEC) bubble wouldn't, but everyone probably would?
     
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  15. Ziggy

    Ziggy 99ers STAND BY
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    Can OKST even afford to pay Mike Gundy anymore? Lulz. But serious.
     
  16. DonnyMost

    DonnyMost clean your room bucko
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    It's the ideal outcome.

    College football has never had a central governoring authority capable of pulling this off, but maybe Disney could do it?

    This whole thing is painful and weird but It feels like a transitional period.
     
  17. gucci888

    gucci888 Contributing Member

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  18. BigDog63

    BigDog63 Member

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    Not just this issue...don't care. That's not something a network should do to start with.

    How did ESPN's 'meddling' save the Big 12, anyway? By definition, meddling is negative.
     
  19. BigDog63

    BigDog63 Member

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    Haha, yes, that's true! Not unheard of, but ...

    Nah, no one is 'swooping in'. They will at least wait to see what they'd be 'swooping in'....to. Could be a pile of doo doo.

    Then again, if they become one of the super conferences (Pac 12 merger? AAC?), who knows.

    I do find it frustrating that this is holding up the expanded playoff deal. Don't need to know the conferences first, let that work itself out. Can always amend the deal as the conferences change. Doesn't really matter. The whole point of the expanded playoffs is they AREN'T just for the Power Five (or Four).
     
  20. Major

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    ESPN agreed not to re-open the TV contract when a bunch of schools left and instead split the same amount of money with fewer institutions, despite it being financially negative for ESPN. It's also part of why the B12 stuck with 10 teams instead of going up to 12. It made the the Big12's survival more viable.
     

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