Questions on Expansion
I received a lot of hate mail this week and a few nice ones too. (Thanks Mom!) I’ll try and lump a few of them together to save space, since they were all mad at me about one particular article, BYU’s Expansion Analysis:
– BYU has a 1st Amendment right to freedom of religion you dumb#%$*!
– Awful rightup (sic) on BYU, pushing them out for their beliefs is unconstitutional. You should be ashamed of yourself.
– You don’t know BYU if you think we discriminate against gay athletes who play us
– Some reporter you are, do some research first idiot, no one discriminated anyone.
– You totally got the attendance wrong, we support Olympic sports.
The Angry Internet
Dear Angry Internet,
I am not sure really how to address this one because this is neither my monkeys nor my circus. It stemmed from a comment within the intangibles section that read:
That lack of diversity causes concern with how BYU will fit with the Big 12’s culture and having 25 LGBT groups ally to send the Big 12 a letter asking them to shun BYU isn’t really a gold star in the diversity column for the Cougars, especially with the Big 12 pushing language into not only the bylaws but also each member’s operations that reflect their support of inclusion.
Now, first, I’m not a reporter. I’m an analyst. So let’s just clear that up right now. I didn’t report what occurred, I only used what was being reported and applied it to what the Big 12 may possibly do with BYU when it comes to expansion. Now that that is out of the way, let’s get to the heart of the matter.
If you’re ranting to me that BYU doesn’t have to change its policy and everyone agrees to the honor code when they enroll so it is individual choice, just stop. No one, especially me, has stated that BYU needs to change their honor code in any way, shape or form. BYU is fully protected by the first amendment for their religious freedoms, which includes how they live their life. At no point did I nor anyone I can find, state that their constitutional protections should be revoked. BYU doesn’t have to change a thing and no one can force them too.
This isn’t about them.
It’s about the Big 12.
The Big 12 is still healing from a major black eye due to sexual assaults at Baylor due to its honor code being used to discourage victims and work against Title IX regulations. Baylor’s code has since been reworked to be more inclusive and to fit with the culture the member institutions of the Big 12 are fostering and promoting.
This language is described in the current Big 12 handbook, which lays out all the rules of the conference, that reads:
Appendix III – Consistent with NCAA Constitution 2.7, the Conference and its Member Institutions are committed to cultural diversity, promoting respect and sensitivity to the dignity of every person and fostering participation of all in competition, administration and governance. It is the obligation of each Member Institution to refrain from discrimination prohibited by federal and state law, and to demonstrate a commitment to fair and equitable treatment of all student-athletes and athletics department personnel.
It goes on from there, but is pretty clear that the conference mission is to promote inclusiveness within its member institutions for all individuals. The groups writing the Big 12 have stated their protests are for the Big 12 to stand up for the ideals and culture the Big 12 has promoted, to not abandon that if they expand. They have not said BYU should be forced to change, even if they disagree with BYU’s code. BYU can continue to operate as it wishes, it doesn’t have to change anything.
That does not mean, however, that the Big 12 has to ignore it. If it is important to the Big 12 it should and would be a consideration for future members. And that is what is at issue here; the answer to the question, “Is the cultural promotion of inclusion for all students important to the Big 12?”
BYU does not need to alter its ideals and no outside group can make them.
The Big 12 does not need to alter its ideals and no outside group can make them.
And both entities are within their rights to do just that.
Now everyone settle down, you’re not a victim. Football season is just around the corner.
Here are a couple other articles for further reading:
Burnt Orange Nation – BYU should be left out due to Honor Code
Cougarblue – LGBT ED answers questions about opposing BYU’s candidacy
USAToday – Could BYU’s LGBT policies deter Big 12 move?
P.S. Upon further review, you’re right on attendance. Not all of the non-revenue sports are unattended as I implied, but many are. If it makes you feel any better it was anecdotal and didn’t affect the points.
My question: a Baylor site claims that six (6) current P5 schools have reached out to the Big 12 (“put out feelers”) about joining our conference. The one caveat many potential P5 schools would have in order to hop aboard the Big 12 train (and leave their SEC, Big 10, Pac12 or ACC brethren) is that the current Big 12 schools would all have to show “stability” by extending /renewing our GORs. Your thoughts on who might be looking to join us from other P5 conferences and the odds on B12 schools extending GORs to get some great new conference members possibly from the East?
The Not So Angry Internet
I’d like to start by thanking you for not yelling at me. It’s refreshing. Let’s break the rest of this out in two sections:
Six Power Five Feelers – I’m not privy to what site this is or what they are reporting and the number six seems specific. I don’t know who they are referring to be honest. What I have heard from a couple of people is that the Big 12 has definitely been contacted by several Power Five schools through secondary channels, and not just recently. This could likely be the representatives (e.g. boosters) of the Board of Regents to the Arizona schools and Colorado, as opposed to direct school to conference contact. However, Arkansas has talked with the Big 12 before and major boosters from LSU have also touched base at one time in the past. Apparently said boosters thought they’d have more success in the Big 12 than having to battle out of the SEC West. Remember, these are extremely rich people who run in similar circles regardless of state lines. Its casual, but they are influencers. I even heard once that movers and shakers from Kentucky and Kansas had a few conversations to boost Kentucky’s home conference slate for fans after the success of the last two Kansas/Kentucky regular season games. That being said, I will reiterate that these were just “what if” conversations, not “let’s make a deal”. Hopefully that will limit the amount of “So and so would never leave this and that” parrots who love to show up. The issue that I have with this “rumor” is timing.
Power Five teams cannot move fast, contracts and rights deals make untethering much harder than five years ago. And, if they did, it likely would be for a date closer to the media deal expiring than today. The only conference who could have schools move fast is the SEC and, while I’m not about to say absolutes, there isn’t a reason to make a change right now. Every school there has the luxury of sitting and waiting for whatever time they want.
Grant of Rights (GoR) Extension – This one actually has way more probability than the previous. Regardless of what happens with the Big 12, whether it is expansion or a renegotiation with the media partners and staying at ten, it will most likely involve signing a GoR for an extended period of time past 2024. If the media partners boost the television revenues for ten teams to keep pace with the Big Ten/SEC (See this article explaining the issue) to remove the pro rata language, the Big 12 will likely extend not only the contract, but the GoR for at least six years into 2030. If the Big 12 expands with Power Five teams, it will be a requirement for their making the move as they do not want to see Texas or Oklahoma leave after they get there. And, lastly, if they expand with 2-4 non-Power Five teams, a block of Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, TCU, and West Virginia will require that the GoR is extended for at least five years past the end of the next media deal to ensure it is not just a stop gap.
Thinking that the GoR will expire in 2024 after everything happening this summer is rather naïve. It is the outward indication to the world that the Big 12 believes in each other. The only option where the GoR isn’t extended is if the Big 12 ends up doing nothing at all.
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