Sunday, June 11, 2006

Empire Building in the Big 12

Not all of the competition in the Big 12 occurs on the field. Since the formation of the conference 10 years ago, the pressure to win has created a building boom, with teams developing top-rate facilities in a game of tit for tat. At Texas A&M, where coach Dennis Franchione is struggling to build a winner, roughly $85 million has been spent on athletic facilities in the last decade, including a $27 million state-of-the-art football complex that opened in 2003. But when it comes to facilities spending, Texas A&M ranks in the middle of the Big 12. When deep-pocketed Texas marched into the league, it had a budget that was roughly $30 million more than Kansas. But the Jayhawks have pumped $14 million into athletics the past three years in an attempt to keep pace. If there is a big loser in the Big 12, Missouri is it. The Tigers are the only conference member without a men's team championship in any sport. But Missouri prides itself in academic success, where it frequently ranks among the best in the nation (registration).

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