The Big 12 Conference

Dedicated to achieving the highest goals in the integration of academic and athletic endeavors, Baylor, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech combined forces on February 25, 1994, and forged the Big 12 Conference, one of the most powerful alliances in NCAA Division I competition to date. Individually, member schools have long been respected for successes both in its classrooms and its stadiums. In all, league institutions have received numerous accolades for the quality of academic resources, programs and services offered to students. Athletically, Big 12 teams have accounted for more than 130 NCAA team championships and 15 wire service football titles, while its student-athletes have claimed more than 750 NCAA crowns entering the 1997-98 academic year. The formation of the Big 12 represents an undertaking by school chief executive officers to combine resources to achieve even higher levels of performance heading into the 21st Century. Institution chancellors and presidents serve as the chief policy makers of the Conference, operating as the Board of Directors. Administration of the league occurs through the Council of Faculty Athletics Representatives, Board of Athletics Directors and Board of Senior Woman Administrators. Steven J. Hatchell became the conference's first commissioner on March 26, 1995, and has been in no small part responsible for the immediate success of the nation's newest conference. Under his direction, the Big 12 took a bold step toward community service in May, 1996, by adopting Special Olympics as its primary philanthropy. Individual member-institutions have provided facilities for local, regional and national Special Olympics competition for years, but now, under the Big 12 blanket, Special Olympians, their coaches and their fans have the opportunity to interact as recipients of clinics and other cooperative efforts in conjunction with Big 12 events. In August, 1996, Executive Directors of Special Olympics in the seven-state area and Big 12 officials met and decided to promote the national movement through public service announcements aired to all 48 contiguous states during Big 12 football and basketball games and on the weekly Big 12 Showcase television program. Although the Special Olympians certainly benefit from the use of conference facilities and clinics, Big 12 student-athletes, officials and fans gain almost as much if not more from this special partnership. Another innovative venture of the Big 12 is the development of the Life Skills Program and Academic Services, which seeks to enhance the "total person" concept both on and off the field. Programs such as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Special Olympics and the NCAA's heralded YES program of clinics and stay-in-school messages to youngsters are just a few of the life skills areas promoted by the Big 12. Student-athletes play an active role in community endeavors such as hospital visits, youth school programs, enhance/eligibility information and anti-violence campaigns, all promoted through public service announcements aired during Big 12 contests. Activities such as these have helped the Big 12 raise the standard of excellence throughout the NCAA. Exposure is key in any endeavor of this magnitude, and the Big 12 has one of the most comprehensive regional and national telecast agreements in the country. ABC and Fox Sports Net combine to produce nearly 40 football games annually in syndicated, regional, national and prime time windows. The Conference dominates network television annually on the Friday after Thanksgiving with back-to-back national telecasts of Texas versus Texas A&M and Colorado vs. Nebraska. ESPN and Creative Sports provide regional over-the-air syndication, national cable and national network coverage of up to 90 men's basketball games per season. The Big 12 is a mainstay in the ESPN lineup with the highest rated college basketball slot on "Big Monday." In addition to the highly successful syndicated package within the seven-state Conference region, Creative Sports markets 10 games annually to CBS and ABC for the Big 12. All 11 games of the Big 12 Phillips 66 Men's Basketball Tournament are aired either regionally or nationally. Big 12 television coverage doesn't stop with football and men's basketball. Fox Sports Net relies heavily on Big 12 supplied programming of regular-season volleyball, baseball and women's basketball, televising nearly 30 events per year. Big 12 championships have a home at Fox Sports Net as well. No fewer than eight Big 12 Olympic championships are televised on either a regional or national cable basis and Fox Sports Net boasts one of the finest weekly collegiate programs in the 39-installment "Big 12 Showcase." ESPN also ventures into the mix by promoting and televising an annual Big 12 women's basketball challenge and will air the 1988 Phillips 66 Men's Basketball Tournament title game. In all, the packages with ABC, Fox Sports Net and ESPN guarantee the Big 12 the finest intercollegiate coverage through the year 2000 (2003 with ABC for football television) and at least $145 million into the coffers of the member institutions. The Big 12 got off the planning boards and onto the field as Oklahoma claimed the inaugural conference championship in softball May 11, 1996. Big 12 football kicked off in grand fashion as Kansas State defeated Texas Tech 21-14 August 31, 1995, in Manhattan, Kan. The inaugural volleyball crown was won byNebraska, bringing a very successful 1996 to a close. The Big 12 utilizes a North-South divisional format in football, with the two Oklahoma schools and the four Texas schools making up the Big 12 South and the remaining six schools complete the Big 12 North. The champions of each division face each other in an electric showdown in early December to determine the Big 12 representative to the Bowl Alliance. In the inaugural Big 12 Dr Pepper Football Champion-ship held at the Trans World Dome in St. Louis, Mo., Texas defeated Nebraska to change the face of the Alliance Bowl picture. The Big 12 was the only conference with two teams participating in Tier 1 bowls (Texas--Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and Nebraska--FedEx Orange Bowl). In addition to the alliance agreement, the Big 12 also has five other bowl agreements with the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Classic, Plymouth Holiday Bowl, Builders Square Alamo Bowl, Jeep Aloha Bowl and Copper Bowl. On the basketball court, the Big 12 alters the divisional format. The schools are split into the same scheduling areas and play an intradivisional round-robin, where each team plays every other member of the same area on a home-and-home basis. Each team also plays each member of the opposite area once. The team with the highest conference winning percentage at the end of the season receives the No. 1 seed, with the winner of the opposite area receiving the No. 2 spot. The remaining 10 seeds are determined based on conference winning percentage, regardless of division. The champion of the Big 12 Phillips 66 Men's Tournament receives an automatic bid to participate in the NCAA Tournament, a tremendous testimony to the strength of the Big 12. For the first time in history, the NCAA waived the two-year waiting period for a new conference champion to receive an automatic bid. In its inaugural season, the Big 12 sent champion Kansas and four other teams to the men's tournament, while women's champion Colorado and five other teams qualified for the women's championship. The Big 12 also sent two men's hoops teams to the NIT.Big 12 baseball wrapped up with Texas Tech claiming the regular-season title, while Oklahoma became the first Big 12 Baseball Tournament champion. As a result of a successful inaugural diamond campaign, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech were awarded bids to participate in the NCAA Regionals. In addition, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech played host to two of the eight prestigious regional tournaments. After a very successful first full campaign for the Big 12 Conference, the 21 regular season championship trophies were divided among seven schools, with Texas taking seven (football, men's outdoor track, men's swimming and diving, men's tennis, women's golf, women's outdoor track and women's tennis), the most of all conference members. Nebraska came in a close second, winning six trophies (gymnastics, men's indoor track, soccer, women's indoor track, women's swimming and diving and volleyball), while Colorado (men's cross country and women's cross country), Kansas (men's basketball and women's basketball) and Oklahoma State (men's golf and wrestling) finished up the inaugural Big 12 season with two trophies each. Oklahoma (softball) and Texas Tech (baseball) picked up the other two championship trophies. In all, the Big 12 is home to more than 1,500 student-athletes on 209 teams in the 21 men's and women's Big 12-sponsored sports. Men's programs regulated by the league include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, indoor track, outdoor track, swimmingand diving, tennis, and wrestling. Big 12-regulated women's programs include basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, indoor track, outdoor track, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, and tennis.
Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament
Thursday, March 5 - Sunday, March 8, 1998
Kemper Arena * Kansas City, Missouri
Thursday, March 5
    First Round Games
    12:00 noon (Big 12 TV)
    2:30 p.m. (Big 12 TV)
    6:00 p.m. (Big 12 TV)
    8:30 p.m. (Big 12 TV)
    Friday, March 6
    12:00 noon (Big 12 TV)
    2:30 p.m. (Big 12 TV)
    6:00 p.m. (Big 12 TV)
    8:30 p.m. (Big 12 TV)
    Saturday, March 7
    1:00 p.m. (Big 12 TV)
    3:30 p.m. (Big 12 TV)
    Sunday, March 8
    Championship Game
    2:00 p.m. (ESPN)

Follow us!