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College Sports, Division I, Education

NCAA Division I Conference Realignment and Fallout Update

ESPN.com reported in an article on September 23, 2011, two articles on September 24, 2011, (one on the Big 12 Conference’s hiring of an interim commissioner and the second on Texas A&M University’s intentions) and an article on September 25, 2011, the following fallout and consequences from this summer and fall’s movement (and threatened moves) of member institutions between Division I conferences:

  • The Southeastern Conference (SEC) announced Sunday that Texas A&M University will join the conference effective July 2012 and will participate in all sports during the 2012-13 academic year.
  • Big 12 Conference commissioner Dan Beebe “is out after the conference nearly collapsed for the second time in just over a year. In a statement, the Big 12 said its board of directors and Beebe reached a ‘mutual agreement’ for Beebe to leave the job immediately.”
  • The Big 12 hired former Big Eight commissioner Chuck Neinas as interim commissioner beginning October 3, 2011. Neinas “was a unanimous selection by Big 12 university presidents on a conference call Thursday”.
  • The Oklahoman reported “the University of Oklahoma would commit to staying in the Big 12 only if the conference ousted Beebe and added regulations on ESPN’s Longhorn Network”.
  • The nine remaining schools in the Big 12 “have agreed in principle to give their TV rights to the conference for the next six years”, which “would essentially handcuff the schools to the Big 12 by making them leave behind their TV rights and money if they break away or are poached by another league”. However, contracts have not been signed on this proposal, which would require the approval of at least some school governing boards.
  • Texas A&M University remains intent on leaving the Big 12 according to a statement made by Texas A&M president R. Bowden Loftin.

The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm has advised, and continues to recommend, NCAA member institutions conduct annual discussions (among all significant decision makers and stakeholders) on the short- and long-term strategic and tactical needs of the athletics department in several areas, including, but not limited to, competitive success and program development. The implementation of any strategies and tactics in the areas of competitive success and program development may involve or require changes in conference membership. Colleges and universities should be ready to make immediate decisions on conference membership that adheres to a strategic plan if another round of conference re-alignment occurs in the next five years.


About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, civil litigation, estate planning and compliance services.


One thought on “NCAA Division I Conference Realignment and Fallout Update

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