The conference realignment rumor-mill is as active as ever in the wake of the Texas A&M saga. Everyone involved in college athletics is on edge about their status, trying to maintain it or improve it. With so much uncertainty about the ability of the Big XII to survive, it is no surprise that schools other than Texas A&M are investigating their options.
"In a related story, a source very close to the situation has informed us late last night that preliminary talks have begun between Kansas and the Big East because of the Jayhawks’ unimaginable frustration over the [Longhorn] network."
Kansas has very few options to stay in a major conference if the Big XII falls apart. They aren't a football power; though they won the Orange Bowl in 2007, they have only been to four bowl games since the Big XII was founded in 1996 and have never won a Big XII title. With football being the driving force behind expansion for the Big Ten and Pac-12, they were completely left out of the last round of expansion — not even mentioned as an option in any reports.
Chances are, the only conference that would take them in is the Big East, where the basketball brand is worth a very vast fortune for the membership.
How serious these discussions could become is unknown. If the Big East were to steal Kansas away from the Big XII, it would seem to go against the actions of John Marinatto, who recently reached out to the commissioners of the Big XII and ACC to discuss conference realignment with them. He hopes to set up a meeting with his counterparts.
That is, unless he called them to let them know he was gunning for their teams.
"I thought it would be important for us to meet face-to-face and take the lead in trying to do things the right way," the Big East commish told the Associated Press.
It also is not clear whether Kansas State would have to come along with their big brothers due to political reasons. The two state schools have been associated with each other in the same conference for most of their existence and neither has truly dominated the gridiron on a national stage. K-State's Wildcats have at least won a Big XII title, in 2003.
In terms of brand, however, the Jayhawks are not only the bigger prize, but they are one of very few true "blue-blood" programs in college hoops — something the Big East has arguably been missing, unless you count relative-newcomer UConn in that club.
Since you may be wondering what this all means for Villanova? Well, we don't really know. The worst scenario possible in a Big XII break-up is if the Big East adds three schools from the leftovers to get to 12 football members without adding Nova. Anything else at least leaves a glimmer of hope for Andy Talley's program.