In or Out: Nebraska and Missouri Given Friday Deadline by Big 12
Two sources confirmed to FanHouse on Sunday morning that Missouri and Nebraska were given a deadline of Friday to decide whether they are committed to remaining in the Big 12 or if they are going to explore the option of joining the Big Ten. Both sources also confirmed that the schools could be given more time, "but not much."
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe declined Friday in Kansas City to say whether a deadline had been set as he met with the media while the league board of directors ducked out the backdoor. But now it is apparent the league, spearheaded by both Texas and Oklahoma, has put its foot down with the two schools that are holding the conference up from moving forward.
If Nebraska and Missouri do not commit soon, apparently schools such as Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma have decided to accept an invitation to join the Pac-10 in the creation of a 16-team conference. The Pac-10 presidents and chancellors gave commissioner Larry Scott approval to pursue expansion which means invites to six Big 12 schools could be coming soon.
"It's a matter of people have to know whether they are in or they are out," a source said. "It's really that simple."
The problem is it isn't that simple for the Nebraska and Missouri, schools that are awaiting possible invitations from the Big Ten. But the Big Ten at this point has only committed to exploring the idea of expanding from an 11-team league to as many as 16 teams.
A source close to the Big Ten says the league is working with a couple different scenarios and therefore may not know which way it will go for another 18 months. One scenario has the league reeling in a "big fish" like either Notre Dame or Texas and stopping there at 12 teams.
If the Big Ten is unable to lure either power school, then it could invite five schools with Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers, Syracuse, Maryland and Pittsburgh all possibly in play.
So Missouri and Nebraska will be taking a huge gamble either way with a chance to more than double their annual conference take to as much as $24 million should the Big Ten come calling. Both schools could be left with nowhere to go if the Big 12 dissolves and Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Colorado or Baylor join the other three in the Pac-10.
One source said if Missouri and Nebraska if do commit to the Big 12, they must sign contracts with significantly higher penalties for leaving.
Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton declined to discuss any subject related to conference realignment when reached at home by FanHouse on Sunday morning. Nebraska president Harvey Perlman did not return a message left for him Sunday morning.
"You can speak to Dan Beebe (Big 12 commissioner) regarding what his concerns are regarding the Big 12," Deaton said when asked directly about the set deadline. "But we are proud members of the Big 12. We appreciate the interest in the university, but it has been our policy for some time about not making any comment about conference realignment."