OSU President Burns Hargis Optimistic About Big 12's Future

Thursday, September 22nd 2011, 8:43 pm
By: News 9


STILLWATER, Oklahoma – The Big 12 has suffered through a tumultuous week, but the presidents of the nine institutions remaining in the conference made strides toward increased stability Thursday.

The presidents took part in a joint conference call to discuss the future of the conference, and Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis expressed optimism about the Big 12's future potential.

"We had a constructive and productive conference call today," Hargis said in a statement. "As I have said from the beginning, we thought it would be best to keep the Big 12 together, especially for our students, fans, and student-athletes."

As part of that conference call, the presidents accepted the resignation of commissioner Dan Beebe and unanimously voted to replace him with Chuck Neinas on an interim basis. They also agreed to grant Tier 1 and Tier 2 television rights to the Big 12 for the next six years. Tier 1 rights refer to network television, while Tier 2 refers to cable.

Granting those television rights means that all of the schools' television money will be given to the Big 12, even if those schools leave for another conference. In essence, that makes the schools far less attractive to other conferences.

Hargis also said that the presidents chose to re-establish the Big 12's expansion committee, which will work toward adding teams to replace the ones lost. He also pointed out that there are more issues that need to be covered.

"As I have said before, we want to lay a foundation to build an even stronger conference," Hargis said. "Today, we started laying a strong foundation to take our conference into the future and make sure it remains one of the nation's premier athletic conferences. I am encouraged."