Friday, June 11, 2010

Kevin Kietzman stands by story about MU's offer to join Big Ten

Posted By on Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 9:45 AM

click to enlarge A WHB report about Big Ten expansion put ESPN graphics people to work.
  • A WHB report about Big Ten expansion put ESPN graphics people to work.

Kevin Kietzman, the popular sports radio host, made a splash when he reported in May that the Big Ten wanted Missouri, Nebraska and Notre Dame to join the conference.

The Big Ten's interest in expansion had been in the news for months. Kietzman, who hosts a show on 810-WHB, advanced the story by stating that the Big Ten had "extended initial offers." ESPN and several newspapers across the U.S. picked up on Kietzman's scoop, which was posted at 810whb.com.

However, the story is developing differently than Kietzman's sources

said it would. While Nebraska

officials will consider a move to the Big Ten today, Missouri

remains a member of the disintegrating Big 12.

Warren Erdman, a University of Missouri curator who lives in Kansas City, said Thursday the Big Ten had not invited the Tigers to join the conference.

With no immediate offers, Mizzou could be scrambling to find a new home, a scenario that Kansas and Kansas State have been contemplating since word came that the Pac-10 might want to pick off Big 12 teams. (Colorado said it was joining the Pac-10 on Thursday.)

click to enlarge The Big Ten's actions suggest that Kevin Kietzman overstated the league's attraction to Mizzou.
  • The Big Ten's actions suggest that Kevin Kietzman overstated the league's attraction to Mizzou.
"The Big Ten changed its mind," Kietzman told The Pitch before he went on the air on Thursday. The host said Missouri leaders were "absolutely mortified" not to receive a formal offer to join the Big Ten.

Kietzman is standing by his story. He notes that circumstances changed. The Pac-10 got involved. Last Saturday, Big 12 officials asked Nebraska to declare its intentions, changing timetables. "He had to drop Missouri," Kietzman said of Jim Delaney, the Big Ten commissioner.

Of course, it's also possible that Kietzman's report was inaccurate in real time.

Kietzman's sources informed him that the Big Ten wanted Nebraska, Missouri and Notre Dame, and that if Notre Dame decided to remain independent, the Big Ten would look to add Rutgers.

Clearly, overtures had been made. Missouri officials flirted openly with the idea of the Tigers leaving the Big 12 for the Big Ten. Last December, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon went so far as to contrast the academic reputations of Oklahoma State and Texas Tech with those of Northwestern and Wisconsin.

But throughout the process the central players stopped short of saying offers had been made, which is why Kietzman's report was newsworthy.

Did the Big Ten approach Missouri? Sure. Might an invitation arrive at some point in the future? Yes. Was an "initial offer" made? Highly doubtful.

Kietzman's sources may have identified what was at that time the most probable scenario. But he or they, it appears, mischaracterized the exact nature of the discussion.

Kietzman image via CapitolFederal's Flickr.

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