Four months ago, when a Colorado move to the Pac-10 first became a serious possibility, I thought it was a great idea.

The only thing that`s changed today is that I`m even more convinced that CU made the right decision. Anyone who sees what kind of strong-arm job Texas pulled on the rest of the Big 12 in order to keep the league intact has to agree.

The Pac-10 is an outstanding conference, full of schools with whom CU is a good match academically and athletically, and a culture that promotes many of the ideals that Colorado embraces.

Put integrity high on that list -- then ask yourself if the Big 12 can still count that quality as part of its conference fabric.

Will the move mean less potential revenue for the Buffs? Of course. A 16-team conference that included Texas and all of its little brothers would have no doubt been a bigger lure in television contract negotiations.

But the Buffs will still make more money in the Pac-10 than they made last year, and will almost certainly match -- or exceed -- what they would have made had they stayed in the Big 12. Meanwhile, they will not have to watch a couple of schools dictate the direction of an entire conference. They will not have to compromise their ideals just to stay afloat.

But let`s all give Big 12 commish Dan Beebe a nice round of applause today. He salvaged a league that had been given up for dead just a few days ago (and savaged a handful of schools in the process).


To "save" the league, Beebe had to sell out the majority of the conference members and convince them to give Texas everything it wanted. The man in charge with looking out for the best interests of every school looked out for a select few -- and kept his job in the process.

Did the Big 12`s "other schools" sell their souls? Of course they did -- but there was only one bidder, and with their survival on the line, they clearly believed that selling out their fans, their student athletes and their schools was better than the alternative.

Texas got everything it wanted from the new deal, then made sure Oklahoma and A&M were dealt the same hand.

For starters, those schools received assurances that they can proceed with plans to start their own television network, and a guarantee of an even larger slice of the conference revenue pie. Thus, they`ll get more money from the conference television contract -- and then be in competition with that contract. The only losers in the deal are all the other schools in the conference.

Oh, but there`s more. Much, much more.

The little schools also gave up roughly $2 million apiece.

When -- actually, I should say if -- Colorado and Nebraska pay an exit penalty for leaving the Big 12, it will put roughly $15 million to $20 million in the conference kitty. But Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Iowa State and Missouri reportedly have agreed to give up their share of that money in order to fatten the pockets of the schools that were also threatening to leave.

It`s a simple business practice, as American as apple pie.

Want some protection? Give us your lunch money. We`ll make sure you are safe.

My guess is that Beebe will be in line for a nice little bonus for this plan -- and of course, KU, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State will probably have to pay it.

Actually, the other schools should be happy Texas didn`t want more.

The Longhorns could have demanded that they get to play all of their games at home -- and the other schools would have conceded.

UT officials could have dictated that every conference championship -- in every sport -- will now be played in Austin. The rest of the schools would have praised UT`s facilities and started making hotel reservations.

Shoot, the 'Horns could have demanded one fifth down every football game (Missouri gives 'em away already), no shot clock when they have the ball in basketball, and just a little head start in every track meet.

And Kansas, Kansas State and Co. would have said, "Thank you sir. May I have another?"

But let me make this very clear: I don`t blame the Longhorns. What use is a big stick if you don`t get to swing it once in a while? They just wanted their fair share (and maybe a little bit of everyone else`s). They were looking out for their interests, and in the ever-escalating arms race that is college athletics, they can`t be blamed.

But I also gained a little more respect for the Pac-10 on Monday. Commissioner Larry Scott made a strong statement that integrity will be a part of the conference`s dealings -- and even though it comes at a monetary price, I like that kind of statement.

Apparently, the Pac-10`s biggest mistake was taking the Longhorns at their word. For months, the Pac-10 had been courting Texas and the Longhorns gave every indication they were headed West. They said they`d agree to an equal split of conference revenue, and would forego plans for their own network.

But late Monday, a variety of reports said the Longhorns gained their concessions from the rest of the Big 12 -- then went back to the Pac-10 and said they`d need the same kind of deal to move West.

The Pac-10 politely said thanks, but no thanks. The league stuck to its guns. The promise of more money -- gasp -- was actually overruled by some principle and integrity.

Again, I don`t blame Texas. Not a bit. DeLoss Dodds and Co. had to do what they believed best for their program and their university. I`m told that`s the way business works these days -- and that`s what college athletics is. A business.

But I will be curious to see how the other schools in the league react in the future when Texas decides it wants more ... of anything.

My guess is those other schools (You there Mizzou? Anyone home in Lawrence? Manhattan? Anyone with a backbone left north of Oklahoma?) will privately gripe and publicly agree.

And that`s what life will be like in the "new" Big 12.

Be glad Colorado got out.