Everything's still delicate in Big 12 country

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As the Big 12 continues to iron out the kinks of its new 10-team conference (and presumably adjust the name), there’s still a sense of foreboding among the schools, particularly the five who almost were left behind: Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Baylor and Missouri.

Orlin Wagner/AP

This detailed article by Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star lays out the many issues the conference still faces, most notably that there isn’t a “10-year agreement usually referenced by officials such as KU A.D. Lew Perkins” keeping the schools in place. Rather, the schools have a “genuine commitment to the Big 12,” Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton told Mellinger.

My advice? Forget the Gentlemen’s Agreements and get something on paper. The last thing the Big 12 needs is for another conference to come along poach another school. Does anyone really believe that the remaining 10 schools are “more stable” because they’re committed to what they have?

Or do they just like the idea of eventually splitting $200 million among 10 schools?

This summer of realignment and NCAA tournament expansion’s made me more skeptical about people’s motives than ever before. And a smart school would take precautions.

Consider that a Kansas source told Mellinger that the school never doubted it’d be included in a BCS conference, but that it didn’t have a backup plan. Just hope.

If that doesn’t make every Jayhawks fans shake with dread, I don’t know what does.

Still, Mellinger says that the feeling among school and conference officials is that without Nebraska griping about Texas’ power, perhaps the remaining schools can all get along (with the help of extra $$$). And, to be fair, they are working on it.

“We’re not starting out with any assumptions that it will be different,” Deaton told Mellinger. “But I would be less than honest to not say those are issues that’ve been of concern to a number of institutions — all institutions, really. I’m not saying it has to be any particular way, one way or the other. But it’s gotta be issues that we recognize and work together to build on.”

Build away. In the meantime, I’ll be waiting for the next time a richer conference starts luring a Big 12 school. And then we’ll go through all of this again.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
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Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.

Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.

“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”

While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.

h/t ShockerHoops.net

AUDIO: Rick Pitino discusses allegations, future at Louisville

Rick Pitino
Associated Press
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Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.

The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.

“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.

“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.

“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”

Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.