What Happened to the Big 12?
Baylor University sits in the small city of Waco, Texas better known for BATF raids and boat races than religion these days. The school was founded and is run by the the Baptist General Convention of Texas, a denomination of Christendom. Students at Baylor are naturally encouraged to live the Christian life. You would expect that from a private university established by a religious group.
So what does Baylor do to promote good will and the spirit of Christian benevolence?
First of all, they get one of their largest supporters, graduate, and governor at the time, Ann Richards (hardly a bastion of Christianity) to use her political muscle to wedge them into the newly formed Big 12 college athletic conference. It is ironic that she was such a large supporter of Baylor herself being Methodist. Anyway, Baylor saw dollar signs and cha-ching! They won the lottery and got brought in to the ire of many who deserved they didn’t need to be one of the members of the defunct Southwest conference absorbed into the Big 8 forming the Big 12.
So, on February 24, 1994, the Big 12 was born and there was Baylor getting a nice slice of the pie they hardly contributed to. Okay, I don’t have a big problem with some members of a conference benefiting a little more than others. That is what conferences are for. They are an affiliation of schools who work together for the common good to compete in the larger NCAA landscape. However, Baylor enjoyed the teat of the Big 12 and have leached from it every penny they can get. For that, they should be humble and thankful, especially for a “Christian” university.
Now, the Big 12 is virtually paper–paper that is getting wetter by the storms it suffers every day with talk of members leaving. Last year Missouri started the talk of leaving but they were declined by the Big 10 and that gave Nebraska the idea to bolt since they were fed up with the University of Texas’ perceived ruling of the conference and tilting the revenues in their favor. Colorado left soon afterward.
They Tried to Keep an Oath
The remaining ten pledged to stay together for at least ten years but when Texas loaded their guns and fired a shot heard ’round the NCAA, Texas A&M shook their heads and said, “bye.” Texas shot was the Longhorn Network financed by ESPN which was way more power and influence over the region than conference members ever envisioned when they okay-ed individual school networks; and Texas was much too arrogant to admit it was not what was best for the conference.
The promise was broken and the pact was shattered. Texas flaunted the new ESPN network branded with the Longhorn logo and even threatened to air Texas high school football games at the ire of other conference members. The Big 12 verbally okayed A&M’s departure. The University of Oklahoma looked reality in the eyes and saw the conference was paper thin now and the ten year pact was up in flames. They looked west and saw a stable conference which they conversed with about possibly joining and taking OSU and other shcools along.
Oklahoma Fired Back
The University of Oklahoma sat back watching, quietly as a good neighbor–maybe too quietly at times when they could have put their foot down. But, the line was finally crossed. Conference loyalty was gone and the Big 12 became nothing but a shell. Bob Stoops, coach of the Sooners football team loaded his Peacemaker and fired a shot back across the Red River by stating that if the move to another conference that Texas would not join because of its network (illegal in other conferences) caused the annual Red River Shootout would cease to be, no big deal. Life moves on.
Wow, Texas was shell-shocked. The anti was upped. Then up to the table stepped the sawed off runt, Baylor with a its three pieced suit and top hat and a host of lawyers standing behind. Upon the face of Baylor was a cheesy grin and in their eyes were green dollar signs.
The Sin of Baylor
In fear of being weaned off the teat they suckled for sixteen years and losing a lot of money they leached, Baylor University threatened a lawsuit to prevent Texas A&M from leaving the Big 12 and joining the SEC if Oklahoma would not agree to stay in the Big 12. Baylor realized OU held all the cards and they were willing to sell their soul for the almighty dollar. Baylor put a gun to the head of Texas A&M and said, “not so fast.” Unless we get a firm promise from OU, you’re dead.” Baylor looked at OU and waited for an answer. Now the courts will decide if the hostage situation works in Baylor’s favor.
Baylor, you should be ashamed or yourself. You are willing to make enemies of your conference members to force it to remain together in a sour relationship with your devious hostage taking? You think you are going to continue to get favorable treatment if you force the conference to stay together in a prison-like atmosphere? All I have to say to you is, don’t bend over in the shower.
Baylor is showing that it has long since deviated from its chaste and virtuous roots. What happened to “love thy neighbor as thyself”? What happened to brotherly love? Love is surely not a virtue of Baylor or UT any more. Baylor now cherishes money–big money–Big 12 money. And they will do whatever it takes to keep that money flowing into their institution.
I Timothy 6:10: For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.