Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Should the Big 12 Keep Its Tournaments in One City?

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Should the Big 12 Keep Its Tournaments in One City?

Article excerpt

Bob Jr.: Yes!

The college baseball fans in Oklahoma City are feeling the effects of having no games to watch at the SBC Bricktown Ballpark this weekend. Why? Because I write to you from Texas - the new home of the Big 12 tournament.

OK, I know, it is just a temporary site, but why did it have to move at all? Simple. Money. That's always the reason sports venues change ... the almighty dollar.

The owner of the Texas Rangers (who happens to be huge University of Texas donor Tom Hicks) decided he wanted to show off big-time college baseball to his buddies in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex - so he "bought" the tournament from the league. And with that transaction went Oklahoma City's long-standing tradition of serving as the excellent host community for the event. Kansas Cityans are telling us "we feel your pain!"

The Big 8-Big 12 men's basketball tournaments have been played in KC my entire life. Because of greenbacks being bandied about, the event moves to - where else? - Texas next year.

Sure, the league has thrown KC and OKC a bone by agreeing to go to an alternating format for the next several years. But the message is clear: Any city - preferably in a large media market within the conference boundaries - that ponies up enough cash and has a nice facility, can and will have the chance to host this tournament.

I guess if I was being supportive of other cities - and didn't happen to live in one of the jilted places - I would endorse the chance for my community to cash in like Arlington and Dallas.

My problem is basic: messing with tradition. What is wrong with one place serving as permanent host? Absolutely nothing, especially if that host has worked its collective fanny off to upgrade the event every season.

Such is the case with OKC and KC in baseball and basketball. These two cities should be rewarded for making their tournaments bigger and better annually. It would be altogether different if the tournaments never grew, but they have indeed. That is why Arlington and Dallas wanted them.

Back to my main point - everyone seems to be comfy with the Masters being played at Augusta every year, or the OU-Texas football battle staying in Dallas. And I haven't heard anyone gripe about that fabulous softball World Series that Oklahoma City has done such a masterful job with for so many years now.

My complaint is falling on deaf ears. But there is still hope for a return to normalcy. After the alternating years come to a close in hoops and baseball around 2005, bids will be taken again for future sites. Perhaps OKC and KC will earn the semi-permanent status once again - distinctions these cities have earned.

Bob Sr.: No!

One of the myriad of problems the officials had when they formed the Big 12 Conference was the feeling that it was going to be the north conference schools vs. …

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