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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Texas should look to join new ‘Big 12’


One could not blame Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany if he flinched every time he heard that word — or cursed Al Gore for having the gall to create the Internet.

With Big Ten expansion questions being fired at the conference commish every time he steps out of his inner sanctum, there are only two real ways Delany can deal with the offseason mayhem that has resulted from the rumor mill churning out Texas as the next logical candidate for the misnomer that is the Big Ten expanding from 11 teams to 12.


He can get drunk with Joe Paterno and fire off an email to Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds simply saying, “C’monnnnnnn.”

Or, he can take the advice of high school guidance counselors everywhere, and write up a pros and cons list for pursuing Texas.

Since I am mostly sober as I sit down to write this column, we will help our boy Jim with reasons both for and against making Texas the even dozen to the Big Ten’s bakery special. Since I am sure Jim has Texas’ best interests at heart too, this list will include reasons from both sides whether or not to make the move.

Pros — Big Ten Side

This one needs as few words as possible, and if you want to skip down to the Texas side, I don’t blame you. Texas brings huge TV markets, superb athletics, superb academics, a championship game — cha ching — and one of the top three recruiting beds in the nation. The increased competition would be a huge boon as well. The SEC doesn’t dominate football because it has Florida, the SEC dominates football because it has Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Auburn and LSU. Add Texas to Ohio State and whichever other Big Ten school overachieving that season, and there is at least an argument about which conference is top dog.

Cons — Big Ten Side

There actually are two cons for adding Texas, though neither should be worth halting any potential offers. The geography and travel expenses are a pain — as long as having no natural rivalries to pair with Texas — but the flow of green medicine should soothe this hurt pretty quickly. The assumption also goes that adding a 12th team means creating divisions for a championship game. To put it bluntly, championship game good, divisions really, really bad. Breaking up teams into divisions almost always requires separating some long standing rivals and as the soon to be Big XII South and North divisions go, one often becomes much more dominant than the other. Sure, it’s a minor concern, but an effort should be made to figure out a rotating schedule without the pain of divisions.

From the Big Ten side of things, the verdict should be an obvious yes. The Big East basketball conference has done nothing but get stronger since they bullied Conference USA, and Texas adds money, prestige, money, really nice weather and more than enough money to overcome any nuisances that naturally come with expanding.

So go ahead Mr. Delany, shoot that email over, drink in hand.

Pros — Texas Side

Money. Cash. Benjamin Franklin pictures.

Texas stands to gain a lot of this if they confuse literalists everywhere by making the Big XII=11 and the Big Ten balloon to 12. Still, hilarious nomenclature jokes aside, money plays into every decision NCAA teams ever make, and it might speak the loudest in this one. The Big Ten Network is reportedly dishing out anywhere from $17 million to $22 million to each school in the conference. For a gigantic athletic department, funding all the non-revenue sports remains the biggest challenge each year.

The school also fits in academically, something important for both the Big Ten and Texas. Depending on what arbitrary ranking you prefer — US News for me…mostly because they pop up first in Google — Texas always falls somewhere inside the top 20 for universities in the US. While this point isn’t as sexy as talking about Texas-Ohio State games every year, it is a major factor for both sides.

Cons — Texas Side


Not to the Big XII, which has only existed since 1996, but to rivalries with Oklahoma and Texas A&M. Public relations considerations have to be made, and DeLoss Dodds (what a boss name) does not want to be the one to tell Longhorns fans the Red River Shootout is ending. So to continue the rivalry, Texas would have to schedule Oklahoma and possibly Texas A&M as non-conference games each year, creating a brutal non-conference schedule every season when the norm is to load up on the Woffords and Cal Polys of the football landscape.

800 words later, the possible expansion basically comes down to what Texas values more: money or keeping rivalries intact.

If NCAA history has taught us anything, graphic artists should set out to redesign the Big Ten logo for the second time in 20 years, because in football terms, 10 will now equal 12.

Michael is a senior majoring in journalism. Think there is a better option than the Big Ten? Let him know at [email protected]

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