“It’s disappointing that the University of Texas … with all the football coaches in America, who said that they would stand up for us to get into the Big 12 and then didn’t even vote for us … had to come take our little football coach.” Fertitta said in an interview on “The Michael Berry Show” on KTRH-AM radio in Houston. “But that’s business and it’s a great opportunity for Tom and I wish him the best. I hope they all do well, but I just hope we do better.”
No, Texas didn’t vote for Houston, but neither did anyone else, because nobody voted for anybody. The vote never happened. It was clear the Big 12’s television partners did not want the conference to expand so the topic was tabled for the time being.
Although, Fertitta has his own version of what happened.
“I think it was a PR play to see how the NCAA and everyone else was going to react since they don’t have a championship game,” Fertitta said. “I truly don’t know what they were thinking, other than just, maybe, poor lack of leadership.”
“You know when I knew we were in trouble? There were three [university] presidents who were on the [Big 12 expansion] committee and when we went to the interview, they weren’t even part of the interview process. I walked out of that meeting and said ‘Wow, this is a sham. There’s no intention of doing anything.’
“It was one of the great shams in college football, and college athletics, and just college period. … It was a total sham and I sit here today and I laugh at the Big 12 and their leadership.”
Whether or not the Big 12 intentionally spurned Houston, it’s clear Fertitta isn’t at all happy with the conference, and the Longhorn’s taking their coach pushed him over the edge.
Before you go feeling sorry for Fertitta and Houston though, let’s not forget the way the Cougars threw their hat in the ring when talk of Big 12 expansion started heating up.
Back in March of 2015, Fertitta told the Houston Chronicle that the Texas state legislature should coerce the conference into extending an invite to Houston by threatening to pull funding from the Big 12 schools in the state.
“Put pressure on the presidents;, say, ‘If you don’t do this, we’re not going to fund you for this,’” Fertitta told the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board. “It’s just the way it is. That’s the way to do it.”
“Be a big boy, step up and put this school that has almost 50,000 students and is so high profile, has so many of the top schools in the United States, it’s a tier one university — we belong in the Big 12,” he said. “We’re a big, major school with an unbelievable history in athletics and academia.”
So if Fertitta isn’t happy with the way things turned out, I guess that just goes to show that you can’t always bully to get what you want.