Monday, May 10, 2010

What Does An "Initial Offer" (or a Denial by Nebraska) Really Mean?

Kevin Kietzman of WHB Radio (AM 810) in Kansas City reported today that the Big Ten had made an "initial offer" to Nebraska and Missouri to join the conference along side Notre Dame and Rutgers. University of Nebraska-Lincoln spokesperson Meg Lauerman responded that “The University of Nebraska has not been offered any opportunity to move from the Big 12."

So which is it?  Let's take a step back and realize this is a complex, legal issue and assume that both reports are substantially correct.  Why is that?  Let's read on in Kietzman's report:
While nothing can be approved until the Big Ten presidents and chancellors meet the first week of June in Chicago, the league has informed the two Big 12 schools, Notre Dame and Rutgers that it would like to have them join. 
Hmmm... so it's not an official invitation (since the Big Ten presidents and chancellors still have to vote on it), the Big Ten is laying the groundwork for such an agreement.  And since it's not an official invitation, there is no opportunity to move (yet) ...and thus the denial from the Chancellor's Office is technically accurate.

Think back to those awkward junior high days when boys and girls would go through the song and dance of "does he/she like me" long before ever agreeing to go to the school dance together.  All the time and effort went into the preparations, and the actual invitation usually ended up bieng a mere formality. All because nobody wanted to get shot down.

Same thing here. Remember how Steve Pederson never offered Houston Nutt the head coaching job? Or how Pederson never had an agreement with the University of Houston to open the 2005 season at Reliant Stadium? It all comes down to what the definition of what an offer is. Why play these games? Simple; nobody wants to be turned down. So we play this game of "If we ask, will you say yes?"  None of this is legally binding, but the negotiating process is well underway.

In the end, we'll probably never hear that the Big Ten has formally invited Nebraska, Missouri, Notre Dame, and Rutgers.  Instead, one day Harvey Perlman, Tom Osborne, Missouri athletic director Mike Alden, and others will magically
appear at a press conference in Chicago to announce the new "Big 14/16" or whatever this thing is going to be called.

So what about this Big XII/Pac Ten alliance idea? Interesting idea...but it sounds almost as forced as the Big 8/Southwest Conference merger. It sounds interesting until the Pac Ten goes ahead and grabs Colorado while the SEC goes after Texas A&M and Oklahoma.  Then the Big Twelve adds TCU (OK, that's not so bad), BYU, Utah (I'm still listening), Colorado State (uh oh), Houston (ummmm), and New Mexico (thud).

Whether we like it or not, the Big XII is going the way of the Big Eight, Southwest Conference, the AFL, ABA, WHL, and any other league that fell by the wayside. Tom Osborne and Harvey Perlman recognize this, and won't allow Nebraska to be left by the wayside. Fasten your seatbelts; the journey is now underway.

1 comment:

gmahaney said...

Big Ten? Is this really a possibility? It would be a huge change, but there would be some new rivalries that could eventually become historic. It would be nice to go out and destroy Michigan on the field after the nonsense in '97 (the split Championship).