The Big 12 has given Nebraska and Missouri an ultimatum for conference membership. The two schools have until Friday, June 11, 2010, to declare whether they are staying in the Big 12 or leaving for another conference. Really? This is the ultimate sign of desperation by the Big 12 conference officials. I find it hard to believe that the schools actually voted to issue this ultimatum. Six of the other 10 schools in the Big 12 have nothing to worry about if Nebraska and Missouri leave. Anyways, what good does this ultimatum do?
If I were Nebraska or Missouri, I would not respond. Go ahead, Big 12, kick me out. The worst thing that I see happening is the Big 10 does not extend an invite, so I have to go back to the Big 12 and say, "Sorry, will you let me back in?" I feel confident the Big 12 will say yes. The ultimatum makes it clear that the Big 12 has no "slam dunk" replacement schools, so when I come back as a known commodity, they will let me back in.
If Nebraska and Missouri do pledge loyalty to the Big 12, that is a slap in the face to the Big 10. This conference expansion carousel is still moving. The Big 10 might not be ready to extend an invite now, but maybe six months down the road will be. If you send the wrong message to the Big 10 you could kill your chances for the future. This is important because even with your commitment, Texas, Oklahoma, et al. can still bolt for the Pac-10, SEC, or something else. One thing we have learned already is that conference alignment is done on a school by school basis (with maybe the state of Texas being the one exception). Schools are making a decision based on themselves, not on how they may hurt/help the other teams in the conference by leaving or staying.
Yes, the ultimatum is a joke. The joke is the Big 12 officials, who are so scared of losing their job that they think they can use scare tactics to keep the conference from dissolving.