Baylor president Kenneth Starr has been an outspoken opponent of the Big 12's possible dissolution, and continued his advocacy with an editorial in the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday.
He notes that of the 470 players on the four Big 12 teams in Texas -- Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor -- 410 hail from Texas.
Each week, they are cheered on by Texans who have rooted for these programs and for these athletes for years.
New "super-conference" alignment presents temporal, geographic and financial realities that will make attending games - and in some cases even watching them on television - difficult. For the families, friends and classmates of our Texas football warriors, and for the very players themselves, leaving the Big 12 will create hardships. For the alumni and fans whose families for generations have fervently supported these athletic programs and cherished the longstanding traditions of our rivalries, something precious will be lost. Of course, local economies across our state will also suffer the loss of these traditional match-ups.
Conference realignment has very real consequences for our institutions, our coaches and players, our students, our alumni, and the Texas citizenry itself - all of which have a vested interest in the success of our institutions. However, those voices are not being heard. It seems the decisions about realignment in the Big 12 are being driven by a few powerful individuals, without the benefit of any open discussion of the consequences of such actions on our great state.
All reasonable points. Points that have been brought up before, but points nonetheless.
Starr wants a Texas-centric conference, and with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State considering the Pac-12, that may not exist in the near future once Texas A&M's move to the SEC is finalized.
Intercollegiate athletics are an important part of university life and, in the throes of a down economy, it is tempting to become enticed by the revenue streams they can create for our institutions. But we must ensure that decisions about our athletic programs serve the best interests of all of our student athletes, our institutional missions and the public whose interests we serve.
We should not reject more than 100 years of tradition handed down through the generations without a well-informed, transparent discussion that objectively evaluates all of the costs and consequences thoroughly.
So, to be clear, this would all still be the case if Baylor were the likely tag-along with Texas to the Pac-12, and not Texas Tech, right?