New attitude evident at Big 12 meetings

A year ago, the media room at the InterContinental hotel in Kansas City was fit for around 20 people. When an administrator stepped to the dais, it became overrun with reporters jamming for space in the tiny room.

Not to mention the lurking swarm of reporters eager to fire questions at any administrator leaving the meeting room or chasing others as they made a beeline for the hotel elevator.

"There are fewer media people here than last year. We couldn't get through that hallway last year," Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said with a grin, according to the Associated Press.

To be exact, there were five members of the media at Big 12 meetings this year.

Yours truly is home in Dallas this week, versus the City of Fountains that straddles the Missouri-Kansas border, but the benign topics of discussion this year versus last year seem welcomed by the athletic directors and various other officials who have made their way to Kansas City this week.

"If anything, today we came in focusing on the things that are going to make us stronger going forward," Castiglione said.

Castiglione is serving as as the chairman of the Big 12 athletic directors.

"We've already dealt with a variety of transitional issues through the last 11 months," he said. "We're tweaking, fine-tuning if you will, some of those changes, formats and structures. A few changes to the manual, championship events, all of those types of things."

Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe opened up about the discussions surrounding withdrawal fees, and whether or not they will change in the future.

Nebraska and Colorado had $16.1 million of conference revenue withheld for leaving the conference when they did as part of the Big 12 bylaws both schools agreed to abide by, but those bylaws could be changing soon under the new, slimmed-down 10-team setup.

"A lot of it is just operational to go from 12 to 10 in a corporate bylaw structure," Beebe told the Associated Press. "Some of it is going to be more functional in terms of we're going to have a close review of what we've gone through last year in the withdrawal provisions, to make sure they're appropriate, how they should continue. It wasn't a secret. We had a dispute about that. We settled the dispute and everybody moved on. But those provisions were put in place in a different time and era and in a different legal environment."