LAWRENCE, Kan. -- When Texas beat Oklahoma 72-48 Sunday afternoon to clinch a tie with Kansas for the Big 12 championship, the Longhorns were handed a handsome trophy to hoist in a midcourt celebration.
The day before, when Kansas beat Kansas State 66-52 to clinch at
least a tie with Texas, nobody from the Big 12 office was even at
the game to congratulate them.
The co-champions from Austin were pictured in newspapers and on
television proudly displaying their Big 12 trophy. The co-champions
from Lawrence merely got back on their bus and went home without so
much as a handshake from anybody from the conference office.
Is a conference that is headquartered in the heart of Texas, whose officials all live in the Dallas area, betraying a Texas
Kansas and Texas often wage fierce recruiting battles for the same prospects. Even the slightest edge -- such as getting the team picture in the paper holding a championship trophy -- can prove telling.
Needless to say, Kansas coach Bill Self and many of his fans were taken aback, and a somewhat irate Self was on the phone Monday morning with Dallas.
He heard right back from them.
"The Big 12 called me and apologized," Self said. "They said they were sorry that our guys were not recognized, and that it was a mistake.
"Their response was, 'Bill, we made a mistake.' They said their policy is you don't recognize a team and you don't send a trophy
until after [a championship] is clinched. It was a mistake by the
conference office that the trophy was allowed to get to a
A Big 12 official told The Associated Press the problem was with
the trophy company in Oklahoma City.
"The trophy was inadvertently sent to Texas due to a
miscommunication from our office," said Rob Carolla, director of
Carolla said part of the confusion stemmed from the fact that no one was certain heading into the final regular-season weekend who would win the title. If Kansas State had beaten Kansas and Oklahoma had beaten Texas, then the Jayhawks, Sooners and Longhorns all
would have tied.
"It was just a miscommunication with our office and that's why
the error occurred," Carolla said. "Kansas will have a trophy
Self said he's satisfied the mistake will not be repeated.
"I hope the policy is revisited because any team in our league that wins a championship is deserving of being recognized, any sport," Self said. "Whatever championship it is, you should be
recognized by your conference. Obviously, we were not."