Baylor Basketball

Alliance with Pac 12, Big 10 & ACC not off the table for Big 12

August 18, 2021

Thanks to the constantly evolving landscape of college athletics, there's been no shortage of topics and issues to discuss with Baylor Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades during his weekly segments with SicEm365 Radio. 

That remained the case during his latest visit on Tuesday. And for the first time since his tenure began in July 2016, the school and its football program weren't facing a looming or ongoing NCAA investigation. 

"Glad to have it in the rearview and be able to look forward, knowing what our sanctions are, and being able to deal with those. Relieved is probably as good a word as any." 

But there's no rest for the weary in college athletics. And ever since the Houston Chronicle's Brent Zwerneman kicked open the door on the latest round of realignment last month, it has become a daily topic of discussion for Rhoades and his fellow ADs across the country. 

The latest chapter involves the Big 12's remaining eight members' current exclusion from a reported Pac 12, Big 10, and ACC alliance. 

Rhoades is unsure about what that alliance will entail and has lots of questions, but he doesn’t necessarily agree with the idea that the Big 12 won’t be involved when all is said and done. 

"What are the objectives? What are the goals? I don't necessarily believe at this time the Big 12 won't be included," he said.

Is it about future governance legislation? Scheduling? Positioning for a CFP spot? For Rhoades, it seems like those three conferences are still figuring out what this will mean for themselves. 

He credited The Athletic's Max Olson for breaking the story but the timing of the report could have been a little earlier than expected. "I think … the story got out there well before all the presidents and maybe even ADs in those conferences realized this may even be a concept." 

In light of Oklahoma and Texas' backroom dealings, ADs and presidents being unaware of things isn't entirely out of the question. Regardless, those crimson and burnt orange ships are setting sail, and the Longhorns and Sooners are just figuring out their departure date. 

"What are the objectives? What are the goals? I don't necessarily believe at this time the Big 12 won't be included.”
- Baylor AD Mack Rhoades

As one of the eight remaining members of a Big 12 Conference that appears to be on life support, Rhoades also addressed his current confidence level in Baylor's "Power 5" future. 

"I don't know that I feel any better or worse, right? I believe that Baylor is a special product. I believe our brand has grown tremendously. You think about this institution, what we're doing athletically. We've changed a lot and it's been positive. And I think we're on a trajectory, and as mentioned, the brand is growing." 

Whether that growth will continue as a member of a Power 5 Big 12 for the foreseeable future, or perhaps elsewhere in a different P5 league, remains the big picture question. Rhoades doesn't know himself, but he does believe an opportunity is coming. 

Rhoades' overall hope is for the Big 12's remaining eight schools to stick together, then adding additional members to ensure their stability as a power conference. It's a group of peers he has tremendous respect for across the board. 

"But, as everyone knows, I have to make sure, we have to make sure that Baylor lands in a good place and I still feel extremely positive about that. And we're going to work like crazy and I think we're doing that," Rhoades said. 

This week, he reminded staff to focus on the controllable and being at their very best as a department. 

"We're in the process of continuing to work and making sure that Baylor lands in a great place." 

Rhoades will sneak in a short break before football season kicks off a marathon school year and athletics calendar. The last time he attempted to grab some rest, the reports about OU and Texas first emerged, forcing him to return early for some serious conversations with fellow Big 12 members. 

From media to fans, university power brokers to network executives, the conversations about college football's future are not stopping any time soon. 

And while the now concluded NCAA investigation provided some clarity for Baylor athletics moving forward, the school's future and that of the Big 12 remains murkier than ever before. 

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Alliance with Pac 12, Big 10 & ACC not off the table for Big 12

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