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Hocutt says Aggies' exit leaves Big 12 in 'nervous position'

Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt on Thursday acknowledged the precarious position in which the Big 12 Conference finds itself.

Posted: September 1, 2011 - 11:07pm  |  Updated: September 2, 2011 - 12:17am
Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt says the Big 12 Conference's immediate focus is getting back to 10 teams.
Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt says the Big 12 Conference's immediate focus is getting back to 10 teams.
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Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt on Thursday acknowledged the precarious position in which the Big 12 Conference finds itself. Texas A&M announced Wednesday this will be its last year in the league, and other members might be covertly making their own contingency plans.

“We’re in a nervous position,” Hocutt said, “and our commitment to each other face to face is that preservation of the Big 12 Conference is what we all need and what we desire. At the same time, to look at how vulnerable the landscape feels at this given moment, you cannot deny that.

“Is it a concern? Yes. That’s why I believe we have to get back to 10 members as soon as we can so we can solidify that we are together and we’ll have a league going forward.”

A&M’s pending departure means the Big 12 is losing one-fourth of its members in a little more than a year’s time, each to another major conference. The Pac-12 Conference annexed Colorado, the Big Ten picked off Nebraska and the Southeastern Conference is expected to take A&M.

“We’d be remiss if we said we were in a good position,” said Hocutt, who took over as Tech AD this year. “To be in this position two years in a row is not ideal. It’s not something that can continue to occur. It’s got to be resolved for the good of the group, and that’s what we’re working on today.”

The Big 12 Board of Directors has said the league would move to add one to three members as soon as A&M pulled out. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Thursday that Brigham Young has had discussions with Big 12 officials in the past week. BYU just left the Mountain West Conference last year, becoming an independent in football and a West Coast Conference member for other sports.

It has its own network, BYUtv, and an eight-year deal with ESPN.

Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Arkansas have been mentioned as other possible Big 12 targets. On Thursday, University of Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds told the Austin American-Statesman that Notre Dame is “not going to change” its longstanding status as a football independent and “is not an option.”

Asked if concessions could be made to attract new members, Hocutt said, “The conference is prepared to get the number to where it needs to go, given the parameters of the conference bylaws. In the situation that we have, we are unique in that our league does allow us to retain certain third-tier rights for broadcasting of events, and so that’s what separates us to a degree from other leagues. If that criteria helps grow our conference, then I think that can be an advantage for us.”

The Big 12 appeared on the brink of collapse in the summer of 2010 when the Pac-12 considered inviting Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to expand to 16 teams. That shift depended on UT moving. When the Longhorns opted to stay with the Big 12, that killed, at least for the time being, the possibility of any of the Big 12 South bloc going west.

Hocutt didn’t deny the possibility the Big 12 might be getting ready for more days and weeks that could mirror the summer of 2010.

“Growing up, being such a college athletic fan, rivalries and tradition were important and that meant something,” he said. “To see those things erode over the last couple of years is concerning. If you think back to last summer and how fast things were moving, it was an alarming pace. Hopefully, that does not transpire over the coming weeks, but it very well could again.”

Tech Chancellor Kent Hance said last week that keeping Tech in a major conference “has been a priority of mine for the last five years.”

That hasn’t kept Red Raider fans from worrying about the chance of their team being left out of a major conference.

“I would say to have confidence and trust that, when you look at what has transpired over the last decade at Texas Tech University, we’ve positioned ourselves for greatness,” Hocutt said. “When you look at over $250 million of capital investment in athletic facilities, we can stand shoulder to shoulder with anybody in the country.”

Hocutt also cited the Tech football team reaching a No. 2 national ranking in 2008, men’s basketball making two trips to the NCAA tournament round of 16 since 1996 and women’s basketball winning a national championship in 1993.

“We’ve proved that we can succeed at the national level,” Hocutt said, “and that’s been recognized throughout the country.”

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don.williams@lubbockonline.com • 766-8734

george.watson@lubbockonline.com • 766-2166

Fans want Pac-10

 More than 50 Red Raider fans responded to an unscientific poll on three A-J-related Facebook pages Thursday and overwhelmingly want Texas Tech to leave the Big 12 Conference for the Pac-10 Conference … without the University of Texas. People were given four choices, 1) adding one team to the Big 12 once Texas A&M leaves, 2) add three, or 3) join the Pac-12 with Texas or 4) without. Almost 80 percent picked the last option. Most of the responses were on our redraiders.com Facebook page. The reaction somewhat mirrors an August column by Don Williams, longtime A-J Tech football writer, who said Tech should look seriously to the Pac-12. To see the column, go to the following link on our website: http://lubbockonline.com/sports-red-raiders/2011-08-14/if-texas-am-leaves-tech-should-shoot-pac-12

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Univ of Miami

Anxious to know what our A.D. thinks about the shameful things going on under his watch & tenure at Miami?

Hance gave him a leg out just in time. How good a job could he be doing now for our money?

Where's Hance's big gigantic announcement of a replacement for A&M in the big 12??

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AJ will update this story

You know, every time it seems like a story just doesn't go Pastor Hance's way, and the blogs seem anti-theadministration, there is always a useless update that scrubs the blogs.

Has everyone else noticed that? It seems like the AJ carries the water for Pastor Hance and 'the tubster'. All in cahoots as we say in west TX's.

Anyway, what worries those of us wanting to go see TTU is that Rev Hance, and Buster (beetle) Bailey will prolong their inevitable departure. These two (minus myers) have ethical issues and you can see with the the addition of Hocutt (miami issues) and the Boozer Gillespie.

The story line is, "so long as they bring money, we don't care about anything else". Rev Hance looks very good within the company that he keeps. Lovely.

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Big 12

It would be a complete disaster for TECH to end up is some minor conference. Hocutt and the nits in the administration should start looking now and quit being Texas Bboy. Don't make the same mistake Missouri did a couple of years ago..........be proactive, bold and don't be afraid to step out and make a statement.

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Never Fear

My "Never Fear" comment was among those scrubbed. The AJ polices expression like a good Soviet oligarch. It wasn't even a "Leach" esque comment, just a broader expression of our misplaced priorities. It noted we should have no fear with all of this conference uncertainty, that Tech was undoubtedly going to land in a great conference with the leadership and backing of a South Beach criminal or purely inept AD, a lying lawyer lobbyist and the top notch integrity and character of ESPN supporting us (think Craig James and greedy corporate execs chomping at the bit to make high school athletes a commodity for sports media). Many years from now, after many a back room cigar and corporate power point presentation, Tech will be among the annointed 64 teams in the 4 super conferences, happy that more widgets/sharehold return modules, ugh students, choose a more popular/elite Tech, all the while sitting behind our country club super conference gates not at all caring about any one else affected or the values such a dollar-focused, "I got my own" approach promotes. It concluded with there will probably be plenty who convince themselves that such an approach is what Jesus would do, and God bless folks like Kent Hance. How long will it take comrad AJ to remove the comment?

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give me a break!

tech to the pac-10 without ut? are you kidding me? would never, ever happen. fact is, tech better beg ut to suggest to pac-10 officials that tech be allowed to come in as its little brother. everyone should contact ut pleading for them not to forget tech. otherwise tech will certainly end up in a non-major conference. best scenario for tech is for the big 12 to keep its current members and add 3 teams.

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