KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 11: A fan cheers in the stands during the semifinal game between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Colorado Buffaloes in the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 11, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
For weeks we've heard reports of the Texas A&M Aggies wanting to leave the Big 12. For weeks we've speculated that they will end up in the SEC and for weeks we've thought that the Longhorn Network and the Texas Longhorns have had
something everything to do with the Aggies impending departure. In the internet age, where speculation supersedes fact, we've all had a chance to digest a smaller Big 12.
But with the Aggies official announcement this morning, Big 12 fans should take a breath, walk away from the computer and understand the significance of the move.
The conference could hold together - if A&M is the only school to depart - and even gain a wider footprint if a school like BYU is added to the mix, but fans of the conference should be a little worried.
As Rock M Nation blogger Bill C. points out on the mothership, if A&M is the only school to leave, 'Expansionapalooza' (as Bill puts it) is put on hold. However if this triggers a school like the Missouri Tigers to head out, then the whole college world will be shaken. No conference will remain untouched. No rivalry sacred enough to ward off the almighty dollar.
When I was going to school in the late 90's, I hated no football team more than the Nebraska Cornhuskers. I hated when they came to town, with their 30,000 fans all clad in red. (No time more than this).
Now they are gone. No longer will they come around. Good and bad alike. Also, as of July, no longer can Big 12 fans take road trips to Boulder and root for their school. One of, if not THE, best college towns in the country is no longer in Big 12 travel plans.
Now, we will lose one of the best rivalries in the conference. Two schools duking it out in a state that prides itself on being big, yet isn't big enough for the egos of two massive collegiate institutions.
And now we have to ask ourselves, "What next?" If UT and A&M can separate, can Oklahoma and Oklahoma State? Can the I-70 corridor tri-valry of Kansas, K-State and Mizzou part ways? We're talking 100+ years of hatred, going out the door.
I get the monetary reasoning. I really do. But as a sports fan, don't you want to see these teams competing every year? And not just in a one-off game, but competing for a conference title. Competing for in-state bragging rights. Competing for the pride that goes along with winning.
I don't know what the solution is. Writing to the provost won't work, pleading with the university president won't either. These institutions have their minds made up, and are weighing their decisions based on Excel spreadsheet forecasts.
They are forgetting that without us, without the fans, no money would roll in. We need to somehow speak up. But I haven't quite figured out what to say.