Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Big 12 soap opera may have hit its soapy apex today when Oklahoma, fresh off a regents meeting that authorized president David Boren to take action regarding conference realignment, reportedly issued an ultimatum to the conference: either commissioner Dan Beebe goes or Oklahoma does.
Citing an unnamed source, NewsOK.com's Berry Tramel broke the news on Tuesday afternoon:
“It's going to take major, major reforms” for OU, and thus Oklahoma State, to consider remaining in the Big 12, the source said. “We'd have to have an interim commissioner.”
The source said the league presidents do not believe Beebe responded with adequate leadership to Nebraska's and Texas A&M's frustration. The Big 12 has lost three members in the last 15 months, and “the relationships were so bad (with) the commissioner,” the source said.
The frustrations on the part of Nebraska and Texas A&M alluded to here stem largely from Texas and its Longhorn Network, the Texas-only channel that had planned to feature high school games involving Texas recruits and at least one Big 12 conference football game. The high school programming plan was walked back after an outpouring of concern about the idea, but the damage was already done.
If the report is true, Dan Beebe is in a world of trouble. While the Big 12 could probably survive without the four teams rumored to be en route to the theoretical Pac-16 -- most likely in a merger with the suddenly fractured Big East -- it probably doesn't need to continue keeping a commissioner that such a high-profile member wanted gone. Anybody who ever said "no news is bad news" never had to keep a conference together, after all, and there aren't too many BCS-level schools that would be interested in joining up with a commissioner with such a poisoned reputation.
On the other hand, Beebe now has the opportunity to save the Big 12 a second time, this time by martyring his office in the name of the greater good of the conference. Of course, the downside to that plan is it leaves Beebe without a job at the Big 12, which would substantially reduce his interest in the welfare of the embattled conference.
Oklahoma has not confirmed Tramel's report at this point, and Beebe has not issued a comment about the situation yet either. In lieu of either, then, we advise that you start up "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men for the background, load up the Fake Dan Beebe twitter feed, and enjoy both simultaneously.