The last team to commit to stay in the Big 12 Tuesday was Texas Tech. But the Red Raiders want everybody to know that they were committed to staying in the Big 12 as soon as they knew the remaining nine teams were on board.
So, what took so long for Tech to tell us all of their commitment? Were the Tech regents so upset with the news that they were merely following Texas that they were indeed still threathening to bolt to the Pac-10?
No, not a chance. Especially since Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott told the Raiders that if Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State weren't headed to the Pac-10, then a Pac-10 deal that included Tech was also going to be pulled off the table.
Thus, once Texas decided to remain in the Big 12, the other teams -- including Texas Tech -- had no choice but to follow suit. Clearly, the Raiders don't have the power at this stage to call the big shots like Texas does, and that became crystal clear during these tough negotiations.
"It's a relief that it's over with and we're pleased,'' Tech athletic director Gerald Myers said. "The Big 12 has been a good conference for us, it's been a great conference to be in for our teams, the fans, the school, and we're looking forward to continuing all those rivalries and we're excited about what the future holds for us in the Big 12.''
Yeah, the Raiders are not exactly thrilled to learn that only Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M will split the possible $30 million that will be collected because Colorado and Nebraska are buying out their Big 12 contracts. But with no other viable option in place, the Raiders merely had to suck it up and move on.
"It's been kind of a rollcoaster, because three weeks ago it looked like it was coming apart,'' Myers said. "I know how the five schools felt that weren't included in the invitation to go out to the Pac-10, because prior to that announcement we certainly didn't have any options, and we became a part of that package.
"I'm just glad that the Big 12 was able to come together. The commissioner (Dan Beebe) did a good job of pulling everything together and I'm pleased that it's all worked out and we'll go forward with a strong 10-team league.''
Count Myers among those who don't believe the Big 12 lost much with the exodus of Colorado to the Pac-10 and Nebraska to the Big 10. After all, Colorado doesn't play several spring sports and is a cream puff in football and basketball, and Nebraska hasn't come anywhere close to being the national powerhouse that it was prior to Tech, Baylor, Texas and Texas A&M joining the then-Big 8 in 1996.
Besides, as Myers so aptly pointed out, there's another nugget besides the larger TV contract that is attractive to the Big 12 players and coaches.
'We get to play everybody (in football), and the luxury is there's going to be a true champion minus a championship game,'' Myers said. "And then you get to play everybody home-and-home in basketball, so the fans and teams will get to see all those teams on their home court and we get to travel to all of the other members in the league, so I think it's just a positive.
It's going to be strong as ever. The competition and the teams will be just as strong as they've ever been.''
That's why, despite not getting a cut of Colorado's and Nebraska's buyout, the Raiders are pleased they can again call the Big 12 home.
"I'm glad we got it all behind us and it's over with,'' Myers said. "I really am glad it's worked out.''
-- Dwain Price