August 18, 2011

Big 12 has few options if A&M defects

Here is this week's "Three and Out," a weekly feature that will provide a quick but opinionated take from Tom Dienhart on three hot topics.

1. Can the Big 12 survive? Speculation continues that Texas A&M will leave for the SEC at some point - which will cast further doubt on the future of the Big 12. The Big 12 has said it will "aggressively" pursue expansion opportunities if A&M bolts. It better, as some reports state that the league's 13-year, $1 billion deal with Fox for second-tier games would be adjusted if the Big 12 remained a nine-team conference. But what school would want to join this listing (or is it sinking) ship? Reports that the Big 12 will pursue Notre Dame are laughable. Explain to me how joining the Big 12 would improve Notre Dame's current situation? It wouldn't.

2. Seriously, who would join the Big 12? BYU may be the only "big" name the Big 12 would have a chance of luring. The Cougars begin play as an independent this fall in football. Perhaps BYU's biggest motivating factor for joining the Big 12 would be to find a better home for its other sports. BYU's non-football sports will toil in the rinky-dink West Coast Conference. Other than BYU, I think the Big 12's only other true prospects for expansion are schools looking to crawl up the BCS food chain. I'm talking about Houston, SMU and Air Force - hardly schools that would move the needle as far as improving the Big 12's TV demographic. Louisville and Cincinnati also have been mentioned as potential Big 12 targets, but their situation in the Big East is much more stable than joining a dysfunctional Big 12 that is at the mercy of whatever Texas wants to do. The commissioners of the ACC, Big East and Big 12 - the conference have-nots - reportedly will have a confab to discuss the changing conference landscape. It conjures images of three rabbits huddling in a cornfield, quivering with fear as hawks circle above. Banding together is a noble cause, but it's fruitless. If any members of those leagues get invitations to join the SEC, Big Ten or Pac-12, I think they would leave in an instant. It's every school for itself, no matter what you hear from athletic directors, commissioners and presidents.

3. All is not golden at Miami . Lost in all of the talk surrounding the recent allegations about the Miami program is that new coach Al Golden could end up being a victim. Apparently, Golden had no clue of the Nevin Shapiro issue before leaving Temple to replace Randy Shannon as Hurricanes coach. Evidently, Miami had sent some information regarding Shapiro to the NCAA last fall but didn't tell Golden when he was pondering taking the job. "If they knew this was percolating, I believe they did have a responsibility to tell me," Golden told the media Wednesday. "I believe they have a responsibility to tell [new A.D.] Shawn [Eichorst]. But, look, I'm happy here. My wife is happy here. We have great kids on this team. ... I want to make sure we get it right. As quickly as we can, get to the bottom of whatever happened, then we can move forward. The only way to do that is to cooperate with the NCAA and get the truth." Golden is taking the high road with all of this. But if he would want to walk away from Miami, he should be allowed to - with full pay for the length of his contract.

Tom Dienhart is a national senior writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dienhart@yahoo-inc.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.




 

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