The first lesson of the last week: In conference realignment, nothing stays secret. Since Thursday, high-placed anonymous sources have kept a rapt audience apprised of every back-door maneuver. In short order, we've learned of the Pac-10's plan to move on the Big 12; the Big 12's subsequent ultimatum to Nebraska and Missouri; the Big Ten's communications with Texas; ongoing talks between the Big Ten and Notre Dame; and Baylor's efforts to displace Colorado in the lineup of Big 12 exiles. All from smoke-filled rooms to you, the consumer.
So why Colorado regents thought they could hold a secret meeting to "discuss a specific legal matter" without the meeting or its purpose leaking is beyond me. But leak it has, to the Boulder Daily Camera:
The University of Colorado's Board of Regents will meet in secret tonight to receive legal advice about the Boulder campus's possible switch from the Big 12 conference to the Pac-10, sources told the Camera.
The university doesn't anticipate any formal action to result from the discussion about a possible league switch for the Boulder campus' NCAA teams. There will be no public participation and the meeting will take place behind closed doors.
The meeting is more evidence (if you needed any more) of the rapid unraveling of the Big 12. More specifically, it's also a counterpunch to Baylor's aggressive attempt to use its clout in the Texas legislature as leverage to bump the Buffaloes from the short list of Pac-10 targets, facilitating a straight export of the Big 12 South. Colorado can't offer influential political ties with Texas or a package deal with any of its comrades in the North. It can, however, offer a better cultural fit in the Pac-10 as a relatively large, public member of the American Association of Universities, if that's worth anything at all in the race for escalating revenue. If the lawyers can figure out a way to align the legal and finanical obligations Tuesday night, CU may also be able to give the Pac-10 an affirmative answer as soon as Wednesday.
Whatever Colorado's plan, it should have until June 17 (a week from Thursday) to implement it, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which pegs that date Tuesday as the deadline for Missouri to state its loyalty to the rest of the conference. By then, perhaps, the Tigers (as well as Nebraska, presumably facing the same deadline) will know if there's a new, more lucrative home waiting for them in the Big Ten, or if Notre Dame has improbably diffused the bomb by signing on first.
Of course, by then, the Texas legislature may have launched a full-scale invasion of Colorado and planted the Baylor flag at Folsom Field. At this rate, it's in everyone's interest to move as quickly as possible, and have the National Guard on standby.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.