Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe drew a line in the sand, and now Nebraska, guided by the steady hand of Tom Osborne, is ready to cross it.
The Cornhuskers are expected to become a member of the Big Ten by Friday, according to a report by Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald.
Sources at two other Big 12 schools told Barfknecht that their athletic directors have instructed them to be ready by week's end for a briefing on probable Big 12 changes. Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman is expected to address the topic with the Board of Regents at its Friday meeting in Lincoln.
"There's a lot of information we really don't have right now," Osborne said. "Hopefully we'll get these put together in the next few days."
Osborne also said the move has nothing to do with any grudge he or other Nebraska officials might have against Texas.
"This is not a case of reacting to any one school," Osborne said, "particularly Texas."
As detailed last week on the Wiz, Nebraska was used to calling the shots in the old Big 8, but it has been taking orders from Texas since the creation of the Big 12.
The latest setback to Osborne and Company happened Friday at the Big 12 meetings, when Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, was named site of the conference title game through 2013. For years, the game was rotated between sites in North and South Division territory.
Osborne had earlier indicated that he wanted the game rotated annually, "but I don't think many people are listening to my thoughts on it."
Then came Beebe's ultimatum to Nebraska and Missouri, which has also flirted with the Big Ten, to commit to the Big 12 or else by this Friday. The problem for Beebe is that he had nothing to back up his threat. Or else what? Kick out Nebraska and Missouri? If so, why the threat?
Beebe's Big 12 is under attack from east and west. Reports continue to swirl that the Pacific 10 is going after six Big 12 schools — Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. After hearing the reports, new Baylor president Ken Starr — he of Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky fame — started grandstanding to get the Bears included in the Pac-10 package instead of Colorado.
Colorado officials, fearful of political clout from the Lone Star State, now appear to be fighting back. On Tuesday night, the Board of Regents held a 2.5-hour meeting to discuss conference realignment. The meeting was conducted almost entirely in executive session, according to the Boulder Daily Camera. Officials insist there is no offer in hand to join the Pac-10.
Texas politics should never be underestimated. When the Big 12 was formed in the mid-1990s, then-Texas governor Ann Richards, a Baylor grad, used her political clout and pressured state schools Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech to bring the Bears into the Big 12. Baylor is the only private school in the Big 12.
As for what might be left of the Big 12, the vultures are circling. Mountain West officials, who were expected to invite Boise State to join the league, have decided to wait to see what scraps remain from a Big 12 breakup.