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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."




As I get older I tend to sometimes be less tolerant of change than I was when I was young. Oh sure, at 11 years of age, you don’t really care all that much if you use Suave or Head and Shoulders to wash your hair and it really doesn’t matter whether there is grape or strawberry jelly on your sandwich. As you get older things like that start to matter though. First it is not being willing to trade buying Skippy Super Chunky peanut butter for another kind and the next thing you know you’re mad because Orville Redenbacher is charging you the same amount for some bag of microwave popcorn that gives you only half as much as the old bag, but now makes a spiffy “bowl” to eat it out of!


So it was, the day my favorite college athletic conference (the Big 8) decided to bring in a rag tag bunch of looser Texas schools from the imploded Southwestern Conference to form the Big 12. Ughh…Big 12? I thought to myself at the time “this isn’t going to turn out well”. No, suddenly the conference schools I remembered and loved (with the exception of Nebraska-as I still hate them and Kansas-cause let’s be honest Kansas really isn’t a school) had placed some foreign universities upon the land…and I thought to myself where were we when the fox got into our hen house?


From the get go it was plain to see that Texas and their band of misfits held some sort of dirt over the rest of the conference, in the way you have that friend from high school that you never really want to make mad because they have some sort of knowledge that would cause you embarrassment in later life. It started going down hill, with only a few of the schools grumbling, but none of the old Big 8 schools smart enough to band together and take out the 20 gauge and do away with the fox until it was too late.


Soon it became clear that Texas was the bully of the playground and was going to call all the shots. The day the conference allowed them to play that role was the day the Big 12 should have officially locked the doors and turned out the lights. Nebraska was the first to throw a fit and walk home, taking their unlikely place in the Big 10, which interestingly enough suits me just fine because now their games can be on a network I don’t have to watch. Colorado was next and really became a footnote.


Mizzou, Oklahoma and Texas A&M have all dabbled in the waters and as of Monday of this week both Texas and Oklahoma had been given permission by their internal boards to leave the conference.


So let them leave I say! In fact the sooner we are all rid of Texas the better off we will all be. It was their lack of sportsmanship that caused this entire stink to start in the first place.


It should be up to the remaining members of the Big 8 (although I think Oklahoma could go the way of Texas and not be missed) to band together and reach out to other schools that make sense to form (or keep) the conference going. How about Air Force? Wyoming? Memphis? Oh sure, none of these schools is Notre Dame but then again neither is Kansas State or Oklahoma for that matter. The Big 12 commissioner has really mucked this up and done a poor job of managing the conference and yet he still has a job, which to be honest mystifies me, only because you and I have lost far less important jobs for less disastrous behavior haven’t we?


So it seems that maybe by the time you are done reading this column that the Big 12 may have very well self imploded and Iowa State and a few other universities will be scrambling to try to find a home. We’ve lost sight of what is important in college athletics, which is the fact that these are students…getting degrees. In fact why don’t we just hand them a diploma and a big fat check when they walk on campus and make the college game a semi-professional league. That’s where it may end up before it’s all done any way.


Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much hope that things won’t continue to change in the next few months, which is unfortunate really, and I hope that when the universities discover that no one will go to games because they are nine hours or more away that maybe they’ll look back and learned the lesson that a house (or conference) divided can not stand.


See you next week…Remember, we’re all in this together.