Tuberville reprimanded by Big 12

Updated: July 3, 2010, 11:44 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

IRVING, Texas -- New Texas Tech football coach Tommy Tuberville has been publicly reprimanded by the Big 12 after an interview in which he questioned the future of the conference.

The Big 12, which lost two members last month, issued the reprimand Friday, saying Tuberville violated a conference standard that prohibits public criticism of members.

In an interview this week on Rivals Radio, Tuberville said there is "too much disparity between all the teams" in the Big 12 in how money is distributed.

Tuberville also was skeptical about the conference's staying power.

"We have a 10-team league right now, but I just don't know how long that's gonna last, to be honest with you," he said in the Rivals Radio interview Tuesday.

Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, in a statement, said Tuberville's comments "were unfortunate, and contrary to the very strong feelings of unity expressed publicly and privately by the Big 12 Board of Directors and athletic directors."

Beebe's statement, stern in tone, hinted that this was a warning.

"In deciding to reprimand Coach Tuberville, I took into account that this is a first-time offense and that he has committed to adhere to the rules and contribute to strengthen the conference," Beebe said. "If not for these factors, a more significant penalty would be assessed, and will be if there are any future violations."

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that Tuberville was on vacation and could not be reached for comment Friday, and that Texas Tech had been asked by the conference not to comment regarding the situation.

Tuberville coached in the SEC at Mississippi (1995-1998) and Auburn (1999-2008) before being hired earlier this year to replace Mike Leach at Texas Tech.

His time in the SEC is still fresh in his mind, judging by his radio interview, during which he said the Big 12 schools, compared to his previous conference, were missing "camaraderie."

And it didn't help that Tuberville pointed a finger at Beebe.

"It starts with the commissioner," Tuberville said on Rivals Radio. "And I think [SEC commissioner] Mike Slive has done a good job. [Former SEC commissioner] Roy Kramer did a good job of building a base where everybody was on the same page. And that just has not happened here in the Big 12."

In the recent wave of conference realignment, Nebraska decided to leave the Big 12 for the Big Ten, and Colorado accepted an invitation from the Pac-10.

The Big 12 almost dissolved when Tech, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were on the verge of joining Colorado, and Texas A&M was pondering heading to the SEC or the Pac-10.

But on the strength of Texas' commitment and the promise of lucrative television deals, the Big 12's remaining 10 teams reached an agreement to stay togther.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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