MANHATTAN — Ask Kansas State athletic director John Currie what the future holds for the nation's six prominent college football conferences, and he'll tell you your guess is as good as his.
With new speculation coming out every day on what conference realignment could do to the current landscape, he can't predict what the Big 12 Conference will look like in five years.
All he knows is K-State and the Big 12 are ready for whatever happens. Both have options.
"It's almost like in the military, doing battle scenarios," Currie said. "If this country invades, how are we going to respond? You never know if your scenarios are exactly what you're going to do, but the exercise of going through the scenarios is what helps you make decisions when the actual environment presents itself."
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So far, K-State is preparing for only minor changes. Currie said no outside conferences have reached out to the Wildcats and that he is fully committed to the Big 12 — even if some of its members leave.
"If there is someone who doesn't want to be in our league anymore, there will be a whole line of people at the door begging to get into our league," Currie said. "I believe we'll be just fine.
"This is a strong league that a lot of people would like to be a part of, and has strong television partners as well. Our geographic position, in the middle of the country, might make some people think we're vulnerable, but for us I think we have a strong core. We will continue to be strong and viable in our own way."
That could mean a business partnership with the Pac-10 Conference.
In Phoenix last week, Currie said he took part in informal discussions with other athletic directors from the Big 12 and Pac-10. Topics ranged from selling future media rights and TV deals at an increased price as a packaged arrangement to consistently scheduling nonconference football games against each other to create attractive matchups.
A Big 12/Pac-10 alliance would mean the network rights holder would be able to televise more games to more households. Currie envisions a product that reaches across three time zones and is widely viewed.
"What I want is great national exposure for Kansas State," Currie said. "I want a coverage package where we have the ability to have all of our football games, men's and women's basketball games and baseball games produced and distributed in some form or fashion nationally."
Currie said discussions between the Big 12 and Pac-10 were not in response to rumors of the Big Ten targeting Nebraska and Missouri for expansion. He also said there was no mention of merging the two conferences.
While he could see a 22-team superconference working, he wonders how it would affect student-athletes today.
"The travel could be too much," he said.
He also fears traditional rivalries at the local and regional levels would lose their flair. That's why, no matter what happens, he sees value in remaining in the same conference as Kansas.
"I think our two institutions are linked together.. ," Currie said. "We have a terrific relationship at an administrative level with KU. I know our president and their chancellor are relatively new, and are both committed to working together proactively to serve our constituents. I know me and Lew Perkins have spent a lot of time talking together about things we can do to strengthen both of our institutions."
K-State president Kirk Schulz declined an interview request, deferring comment to Currie.
"Many of the people who were involved in the creation of the Big 12 are still involved in it and still very passionate in its progress," Currie said. "I think we at Kansas State will continue to be a strong institution and a member of a strong Big 12."