When it came to deciding the fates of their program, outside of being consulted for input by their bosses, the Big 12's coaches had little power. Sometimes they didn't know much more than you and me about what was going on.
Sounds like they don't think much differently, either. Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville went on the radio with Rivals.com and made a few comments stronger than most of us are hearing from people on Saturday sidelines. As a result, they made an appearance just about everywhere Monday afternoon.
A few selections:
"I don’t think this conference will last long because there is too much disparity between all the teams. In the SEC, for instance, Vanderbilt makes as much money in the television contract as Florida. Everybody is good with it. Everybody is on the same page. Everyone gets the same votes."
Side note: I was talking with a friend a few weeks back when realignment was heating up, and he said something to the effect of, "I'm not sure why college football seems to be the only place socialism works."
I'm not going to turn this into a political discussion, but I will say this: Me either, man. It's all fine and cute when Vanderbilt makes as much as Florida, and if they agree on it, sure. But really, is that fair? It's up for debate if you ask me. There's merit to both sides, but it's not stupid for Texas to not want to give some of its bowl and TV money to Baylor. Not that the Longhorns are putting up a fight, but I'm just making a point. And it's digressed too long. Back to Tuberville:
"That doesn’t happen here in the Big 12. We have some teams that get a little bit more money and have a little more stroke than some of the other teams. And when that happens, you’re gonna have teams looking for better avenues to leave and reasons to leave. We have a 10-team league right now, but I just don’t know how long that’s gonna last, to be honest with you."
Agreed, and agreed, Tommy. He's not doing commissioner Dan Beebe any favors, but his comments are well on the side of honesty and far from controversial. Speaking of Beebe:
"Being here for six months, I’ve just kind of noticed there’s just not a lot of camaraderie in this league like you have in the SEC. … It starts with the commissioner. And I think [SEC commissioner] Mike Slive has done a good job. [Former SEC commissioner] Roy Kramer did a good job of building a base where everybody was on the same page. And that just has not happened here in the Big 12. It’s just a matter of time, to be honest with you, unless they get everybody on the same page.”
Coaches and administrators are the only ones who are going to be able to honestly speak about the camaraderie between themselves, so I'll take his word for it. How exactly a commissioner does that, I have no idea. Apparently, neither does Beebe. But he's been unfairly criticized by some for problems he inherited and problems that aren't his fault. That said, expecting a commissioner to keep teams from leaving is not unreasonable. So in that sense, he's done poorly. All Tuberville said was the camaraderie between everyone isn't there, and in his experience (of which, he has plenty), that starts from the top. Not exactly comments that should get anyone fired up, especially considering the precedent for coaching comments set in Lubbock, Texas.
Tuberville spoke his mind. He was honest and accurate. People took notice. They shouldn't take offense.