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Merger Tactics

Sorry baseball fans. News leak of pending invites means that PAC 10 is losing and desperate.

"Combat tactics, Mr. Ryan. By turning into the torpedo, the captain closed the distance before it could arm itself."

Funny thing happened on the way to joining the PAC didn’t happen.

Three months ago, Sailor offered this barker-wannabe a 2-tome tryout. “Being Bill Powers” may have been the first to predict the arms race to create the modern day superconference with Texas as the dominant deal driver. Highlighting the non-athletics decision-factors earned BC some tweets and at least one radio show callout.

The follow-up, “Logic Defied, Texas Destined to PAC 10”, gave Vasherized a migraine. I guess one out of two only makes the grade when Longhorns shoot free throws, as Sailor has conveniently lost my number. Fortunately, security is not so tight at the BC interweb portal, and I have hacked in for one more shot on goal, discussing the only topic on which I might hope to rate BC worthy, and this time self-imposing a strict word count limit.

The “news” story broken by on Orangebloods by Chip Brown might very well have been an intentional leak. Here’s why.

Let’s say you’re PAC 10 commish Larry Scott and you’ve just hired former Big 12 and Big Ten insider Kevin Weiberg to basically save your job. Your bosses have memorized how much TV loot the Fighting Illini rake in for doing little more than taking up space on the schedule. Your biggest sports brand has earned the death penalty, even though it, like its most famous alumnus, will escape it.

And now your Rose Bowl dance partner has made it known that it has multi-directional expansion options in its quest to add icing on top of its ridiculously lucrative TV revenue cake.

What do you do?

You need Texas. You must have Texas. You have no other option than to win Texas. It is Texas or bust.

Unfortunately, Texas knows this, and as authors of the unbalanced revenue split, Texas has been conspiring with the other greedy prima donna of sports brands, Notre Dame, to maximize their leverage. Turns out that the Big Ten commish is getting the message that Texas doesn’t want to be part of an expansion that adds Rutgers and Syracuse, so he starts talking about the “Sun Belt” and using Gordon Gee to send positive strokes to Bill Powers. (Note to Dr. Gee, you are now at a publicly funded university, so please stop using e-mail for sensitive communications.) Delany also adds Nebraska to the leaked target list, a smart move given the longtime friendship between Powers and UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman, both former law school deans.

Let’s assume, correctly, that there are lots of backchannel discussions that won’t be made public until months or years after the fact, if ever. Let’s also assume, correctly, that hired-gun Weiberg has a pulse on these communications from previous work relationships. What do you do if Weiberg finds out you’re not in the lead for Texas?

What you do is you leak the story of a pending offer that gets public support moving in your direction. Knowing that the key decision maker, Bill Powers, is by necessity a consensus-building leader with multiple powerful constituencies, you start working those constituencies to force him in your direction.

Here’s how:

1. Offer Texas Tech. Use the Texas Legislature to force Texas’ hand. The PAC 10 is the ONLY chance for the Red Raiders to land in a superconference. Make sure those West Texas legislators know that Tech had an offer on the table as long as Texas played ball. If Powers turns it down and Tech ends up in the WAC, The University will suffer “death by a thousand papercuts” in the Legislature for the next decade.

2. Use Colorado. The Buffs have packed their bags and are ready to have their conference mail forwarded to the expanded PAC 10. No sense in playing hard-to-get in Boulder. So use them to confirm leaked stories, accentuate the sense of impending doom for the Big 12, and help recruit Powers. Tell Colorado that it’s Texas-or-bust for them, too.

3. Talk baseball. What timing! The college baseball playoffs begin today, and Longhorn baseball fans are all about the PAC 10.

And so that’s what it appears PAC 10 commish Larry Scott has done, which is why I now believe that it is the Big Ten that leads for the Longhorns. However, a firm offer for Texas Tech that is contingent upon the Longhorns coming along is a very strong play for the PAC 10, and in time, it just might do the trick.

Now if only the PAC 10 would punt the Oklahoma schools for Nebraska and Kansas…