Norman, OK – Dan Beebe is out as Big 12 commissioner after there was more speculation of conference realignment.
The conference and Beebe, who had been under fire recently, finally reached a mutual agreement where he would resign immediately.
"We sincerely thank Dan who has always demonstrated a total commitment to what is in the best interest of the Big 12 Conference," Big 12 Board of Directors chairman Brady Deaton said. "His energy, devotion and skill in negotiating on our behalf have been tremendous assets that have benefited our member institutions, our student-athletes, our athletic programs and all our fans."
The Big 12 is left with nine schools, given the fact that Texas A&M has withdrawn effective at the end of the year to leave for the SEC.
Texas and Oklahoma were rumored to have been close to jumping to the Pac-12 if the commissioner did not give up his position, but that all changed Thursday.
"It is satisfying to know the Big 12 Conference will survive, and I congratulate the members for taking strong action to ensure a bright future as a premier intercollegiate athletics conference," Beebe said in a statement. "As I have stated many times, it is in the best interest of intercollegiate athletics and higher education to maintain the regional connection that is so important for the student-athletes, their parents and the fans. I put all my effort into doing what was best for the Big 12. With great fondness, I wish the Big 12 Conference a long and prosperous future."
Oklahoma president David Boren acknowledged his school had conversations with brass from the Pac-12 about possibly leaving the Big 12.
"Our talks were very real, were very positive," Boren said during a news conference Thursday night. "We were extremely well received and well treated in those talks. As we begin to make more progress to more reforms we wanted to see take place in the conference, we reached basically a mutual decision between ourselves and leadership, particularly the leadership and the commissioner of the Pac-12 conference."
Oklahoma and Texas were rumored to be headed to forming a superconference further West, but the Pac-12 announced Tuesday it has decided it will not add any programs in the near future.
Boren also said the remainder of the schools will not give up on saving Texas A&M from leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.
"We were concerned about the stability of this conference at a certain point in time," Boren said. "That's why we felt it was only prudent, not because we ever wanted to leave, but we were really worried if the conference would remain stable. That's the reason we had conversations with at least one other conference that we felt if we ever had the leave the Big 12 because of the lack of stability, that's the area we most wanted to consider."
Former Big Eight Conference commissioner Chuck Neinas will serve as interim commissioner of the Big 12. Other than Texas and Oklahoma, the remaining members of the conference are Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
"It's a very strong conference," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. "I'm pleased at the outcome because I look at the players, their families. Being together in this conference, as president Boren said, in the heartland right here, they have that opportunity. It's a great thing that we've been able to work this out."