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Thursday, July 10, 2014

KC awaits Big 12 tournament extension


Eagle News Services

The Big 12 annual meetings in Kansas City conclude today with little drama expected, except perhaps future championship sites.

Specifically, the men’s basketball tournament, an event that often plays to full houses at Sprint Center.

Kansas City has the tournament through 2014, but could even more years be tacked on?

“No vote has been taken,” said Burns Hargis, Big 12 Board of Directors chairman and Oklahoma State president.

But that could happen when the board meets this morning with an announcement later, which would be consistent with previous Big 12 championship award unveilings.

A news conference at Sprint Center has been tentatively set for 1:15 p.m. today “to announce an agreement on a future major sporting event at the facility.”

Big 12?

Neither the conference office nor the Kansas City Sports Commission, which issued the announcement, would comment.

The tournament has played in Dallas and Oklahoma City in previous years.

In November, after Missouri announced it was joining the Southeastern Conference and left the Big 12 without a member school in a state where it held its tournament, the league reaffirmed its commitment to Kansas City.

Thursday, Kansas State athletic director John Currie stated the Kansas City case.

“Look at the markets where the Big 12 alumni are,” Currie said. “There are a good deal of Big 12 folks in Kansas City.”

Kansas City has played host to the Big 12 men’s and women’s tournaments 11 times in 16 years. In 2013, for the first time, the men’s and women’s events will be played in separate cities, Dallas in 2013 and Oklahoma City in 2014.

Unless it’s Notre Dame … — One by one, the athletic directors in the Big 12 have professed their support for a 10-team league, and the conference board of directors reaffirmed that stance on Thursday.

That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be happy if the right No. 11 came along.

Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis, who chairs the board of directors, said he was “flattered” that Florida State and other schools have expressed interest in joining the once-fledgling league, but when the subject of Notre Dame was broached, Hargis had a different response.

“That’s something we would have to pursue,” he said.

Historically an independent in football, Notre Dame hasn’t yet expressed interest in joining the Big 12 – or any conference, for that matter. But it may be forced to consider its options depending upon the proposed changes to the postseason and the Big East’s long-term viability. Most of Notre Dame’s other sports compete in the Big East.

One of the iterations being considered for a four-team playoff would emphasize conference champions. That could limit access to the national championship game – and possibly other major bowls – for the Fighting Irish.

Some have floated the idea that Notre Dame could work with the Big 12 by playing a handful of games against league members, allowing it to retain traditional games against Southern California, Michigan, Boston College and the service academies.

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