Originally posted on June 15, 2010. I added photos of things that have happened since June 2010.
It's not hard to run across a column or blog post this morning, discussing the winners and losers of the Big 12's survival. Guess what: Missouri's a huge loser! They were Korean opportunists! They begged and pleaded for the Big Ten to take them! They were embarrassed! LOL! Sluts!
I thought about directly challenging somebody, anybody, to find a quote from an actual Mizzou decision maker in which they did anything other than say "We're proud members of the Big 12," not from the last week, but from the last six months. Did they complain about conference inequality? Sure. Did they complain about the Big 12's horrendous TV contract? Absolutely. But guess what: the Big 12 has terrible inequality and had a horrendous TV contract. If you're stating a fact with which nobody disagrees, while still claiming total allegiance to the Big 12, then I'm not sure how that's batting your eyes at the Big Ten.
Ed Zurga-Getty Images
Trust me, I could go on as long a rant as anybody about the current perceptions of Mizzou and how ridiculous and unfair it all is. I could also go on a rant about how this supposed "tier" system is a complete and total embarrassment for everybody involved. (In fact, I might still end up ranting about the latter. It's that bad.)
Instead, I'm going to point something out. In the last five years, in a conference built around inequality, while making infinitely less money from television than their counterparts in the Big Ten and SEC, Missouri has won big at football, basketball, softball, baseball, wrestling, and volleyball. They had a former track star almost win gold at the Olympics. They had a golfer qualify for the Masters and US Open. They upgraded their football, basketball, baseball and swimming/diving facilities to some of the best in the country. They've made home run hire after home run hire after home run hire through the years.
And now you're telling me they might actually get paid like a semi-real major conference program?
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Yes, Mizzou would have almost certainly accepted a Big Ten bid if offered. Of course. And for writers/readers too lazy or not interested enough to truly pay attention, I can see how "Jay Nixon shoots his mouth off" plus "Fans are really tired of living in Texas' shadow" plus "They would accept an offer" would equal "Mizzou's throwing themselves at the Big Ten!!!".
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
And to be sure, the new TV deal not only doesn't address the inequality in the Big 12ish, but makes it worse in every possible way. I said it yesterday, and I'll say it again: conferences that don't treat their members equally don't survive. The Big 12 will live on as long as the money's good and the teams being treated like lesser entities don't have better offers on the table, but that probably won't be the case forever. And the treatment of the supposed "lesser" programs will make sure that there is absolutely no way they can be retained with calls to loyalty or rivalry.
All of that is true.
But guess what: Mizzou has been treated unfairly for years. And they're still succeeding at a higher level than they ever have. And now they have a lot more money with which to work.
If that's losing, I can't wait to see what winning's like.