Continued from page 1

The ACC is following suit with its move to 14 teams, while the Big 12 is finding out its $1.2 billion deal apparently didn’t go far enough because it left a loophole allowing the creation of the Longhorn Network through a 20-year, $300 million agreement between Texas and ESPN.

That played a large role in Texas A&M’s decision to leave that does not share revenue equally among its members. It’s move to the SEC is on hold because of the threat of lawsuits by Big 12 members including Baylor. Several influential Baylor alumni and University of Texas benefactor B.J. “Red” McCombs took out full-page ads in Texas newspapers Sunday suggesting the Big 12 is “a conference not only worth fighting for, it’s worth waging peace for.”

“I’d say the Aggies need to sit down and work out their problems,” said Oklahoma State booster T. Boone Pickens, emphasizing that he doesn’t speak for the school. “I think Texas is the real problem in the conference. They have a different deal than everybody else’s. I think it’s going to have to be equal.

“So, the problems I see are in the conference, and they need to be resolved or every year you’re going to have another brouhaha and have problems. So, get it fixed.”

The ACC seemed to cement its future together by not only adding members but increasing the exit penalty to $20 million. The Big East’s exit fee is only $5 million, but schools wanting to leave are supposed to provide 27 months’ notice.

By then, the shifts in college athletics could touch every school from the BCS level on down. Connecticut and Rutgers are among the schools already being mentioned if the ACC expands again, and Commissioner John Swofford said the league is “not philosophically opposed to 16” members.

And the leftover teams in the Big East _ and potentially, the Big 12 _ will need to find new dance partners to keep their status as BCS automatic qualifiers, if that system even survives.

“I can say that in all my years of collegiate athletics administration, I’ve never seen this level of uncertainty and potential fluidity in schools and conferences,” Swofford said. “Schools, they’re looking for stability, and when that stability doesn’t exist, for whatever reason, as long as that’s going on, I think the conferences that appear to be stable moving forward are going to receive inquiries from schools that are desirous of having that kind of stability.”

No one wants to be left behind.


AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo in Tallahassee, Fla., AP Sports Writers Jim Vertuno in Austin, Texas; Dave Skretta in Manhattan, Kan.; Rick Gano in South Bend, Ind., and Tom Canavan in Newark, N.J.; and Associated Press Writer Alan Scher Zagier in Columbia, Mo., contributed to this report.