|Big Eight Conference|
|Members||8 (final), 12 (total)|
|Sports fielded||21 (men's: 11; women's: 10)|
|Region||Midwestern United States, Mountain States, West South Central States|
Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1907–1964)|
Big Six Conference (1928–1948, unofficial)
Big Seven Conference (1948–1957, unofficial)
Big Eight Conference (1957–1964, unofficial)
|Headquarters||Kansas City, Missouri|
|Commissioner||Carl C. James (final) 1980–1996|
The Big Eight Conference was a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)-affiliated Division I-A college athletic association that sponsored football. It was formed in January 1907 as the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MVIAA) by its charter member schools: the University of Kansas, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, and Washington University in St. Louis. Additionally, the University of Iowa was an original member of the MVIAA, while maintaining joint membership in the Western Conference (now the Big Ten Conference).
The conference was dissolved in 1996. Its membership at its dissolution consisted of the University of Nebraska, Iowa State University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, the University of Missouri, the University of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State University. The Big Eight kept its headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri.
In February 1994, the Big Eight and the Southwest Conference announced that the two leagues had reached an agreement to form a new conference. The eight members of the Big Eight joined with SWC schools Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, and Texas Tech to form the Big 12 Conference the following year. A vote was conducted on whether to keep the new conference's headquarters in Kansas City, and by a vote of 7–5 the conference members voted to move to the Dallas, Texas suburb of Irving. The two Oklahoma schools, all four Texas schools, and Colorado voted for the move while both Kansas schools, Nebraska, Missouri, and Iowa State voted for Kansas City.
The conference was founded as the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MVIAA) at a meeting on January 12, 1907, by five charter members: the University of Kansas, the University of Missouri, the University of Nebraska, Washington University in St. Louis. The University of Iowa who was also a member of the Western Conference (now the Big Ten Conference) was also a joint member of the conference. Iowa only participated in football and outdoor men's track and field.
Early membership changes
In 1908, Drake University and Iowa Agricultural College (now Iowa State University) joined the MVIAA, increasing the conferences membership to seven. Iowa who was a joint member departed in 1911 to only compete in the Western Conference, but Kansas State University joined the conference in 1913. Nebraska left in 1918 to play as an independent for two seasons before returning in 1920. In 1919, the University of Oklahoma and Saint Louis University applied for membership, but were disapproved due to deficient management of their athletic programs. The conference then added Grinnell College in 1919, with the University of Oklahoma applying again and being approved in 1920. Oklahoma A&M University (now Oklahoma State University) joined in 1925, bringing conference membership to ten, an all-time high.
At a meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska, on May 19, 1928, the conference split up. Six of the seven state schools (all except Oklahoma A&M) formed a conference that was initially known as the Big Six Conference. Just before the start of fall practice, the six schools announced they would retain the MVIAA name for formal purposes. However, fans and media continued to call it the Big Six. The three private schools – Drake, Grinnell, and Washington University – joined with Oklahoma A&M to form the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). The old MVIAA's administrative staff transferred to the MVC.
The similarity of the two conferences' official names, as well as the competing claims of the two conferences, led to considerable debate over which conference was the original and which was the spin-off, though the MVIAA went on to become the more prestigious of the two. For the remainder of the Big Eight's run, both conferences claimed 1907 as their founding date, as well as the same history through 1927. To this day, it has never been definitively established which conference was the original.
Conference membership grew with the addition of the University of Colorado on December 1, 1947, from the Mountain States Conference. Later that month, Reaves E. Peters was hired as "Commissioner of Officials and Assistant Secretary" and set up the first conference offices in Kansas City, Missouri. With the addition of Colorado, the conference's unofficial name became the Big Seven Conference, coincidentally, the former unofficial name of the MSC.
The final membership change happened ten years later, when Oklahoma A&M joined (or rejoined, depending on the source) the conference on June 1, 1957, and the conference became known as the Big Eight. That same year, Peters' title was changed to "Executive Secretary" of the conference. He retired in June 1963 and was replaced by Wayne Duke, whose title was later changed to "Commissioner".
In 1964, the conference legally assumed the name "Big Eight Conference". In 1968 the conference began a long association with the Orange Bowl, sending its champion annually to play in the prestigious bowl game in Miami, Florida.
Formation of the Big 12 Conference
- Main article: Big 12 Conference
In the early 1990s, most of the colleges in Division I-A (now known as the Football Bowl Subdivision) were members of the College Football Association; this included members of the Big Eight and Southwest Conferences. Following a Supreme Court decision in 1984, the primary function of the CFA was to negotiate television broadcast rights for its member conferences and independent colleges. In February 1994, the Southeastern Conference announced that they, like the Big Ten, Pac-10, and Notre Dame before them, would be leaving the CFA and negotiate independently for a television deal that covered SEC schools only. This led The Dallas Morning News to proclaim that "the College Football Association as a television entity is dead". More significantly, this change in television contracts ultimately would lead to significant realignment of college conferences, with the biggest change being the dissolution of the Big Eight and the Southwest Conferences and the formation of the Big 12.
After the SEC's abandonment of the CFA, the Southwest Conference and the Big Eight Conference saw potential financial benefits from an alliance to negotiate television deals, and quickly began negotiations to that end, with ABC and ESPN. Though there were complications over the next several weeks (some of which are detailed below), on February 25, 1994, it was announced that a new conference would be formed from the members of the Big Eight and four of the Texas member colleges of the Southwest Conference. Though the name would not be made official for several months, newspaper accounts immediately dubbed the new entity the "Big 12". Charter members of the Big 12 included the members of the Big Eight plus Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
Following the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1994, the Big Eight continued operations till August 30, 1996, when the conference was formally dissolved and its members officially began competition in the Big 12 Conference. Although the Big 12 was essentially the Big Eight plus the four Texas schools, the Big 12 regards itself as a separate conference and does not claim the Big Eight's history as its own.
|Founded||Type||Enrollment||Endowment||Nickname||Mascot||Varsity sports||National titles(See chart below)|
|University of Colorado||Boulder, Colorado
|1876||Public||30,128||$665,000,000||Buffaloes||Ralphie the Buffalo / Chip||14||28|
|Iowa State University||Ames, Iowa
|1858||Public||28,682||$452,200,000||Cyclones||Cy the Cardinal||16||18|
|University of Kansas||Lawrence, Kansas
|1865||Public||30,004||$1,005,000,000||Jayhawks||Big Jay / Baby Jay||16||13|
|Kansas State University||Manhattan, Kansas
|1863||Public||23,588||$277,600,000||Wildcats||Willie the Wildcat||14||0|
|University of Missouri||Columbia, Missouri
|1839||Public||33,318||$974,900,000||Tigers||Truman the Tiger||18||2|
|University of Nebraska||Lincoln, Nebraska
|1869||Public||24,100||$1,140,000,000||Cornhuskers||Herbie Husker / Lil' Red||21||23|
|University of Oklahoma||Norman, Oklahoma
|1890||Public||29,721||$968,400,000||Sooners||Sooner Schooner / Boomer and Sooner||19||27|
|Oklahoma State University||Stillwater, Oklahoma
|1890||Public||23,307||$311,000,000||Cowboys||Pistol Pete / Bullet||16||55|
|Founded||Type||Enrollment||Endowment||Nickname||Varsity sports||NCAA titles|
|Drake University||Des Moines, Iowa
|Grinnell College||Grinnell, Iowa
|University of Iowa||Iowa City, Iowa
|Washington University in St. Louis||St. Louis, Missouri
|1853||Private||13,995||$4,600,000,000||Bears||17||19 (Div. III)|
Template:Font color Template:Font color
Subsequent conference affiliations
|Team||Left for||Current home|
|Colorado||Big 12 Conference||Pac-12 Conference1|
|Drake||Missouri Valley Conference||Pioneer Football League|
Missouri Valley Conference2
|Grinnell||Missouri Valley Conference||Midwest Conference3|
|Iowa||Big Ten Conference|
|Iowa State||Big 12 Conference|
|Missouri||Big 12 Conference||Southeastern Conference4|
|Nebraska||Big 12 Conference||Big Ten Conference5|
|Oklahoma||Big 12 Conference|
|Washington-St. Louis||Missouri Valley Conference||University Athletic Association6|
- ^ Colorado left the Big 12 for the Pac-12 beginning with the 2011–12 season.
- ^ Drake withdrew from the Missouri Valley Conference from 1951–1956. The MVC stopped sponsoring football in 1985; Drake remains a member for all non-football sports. The football program dropped to Division III in 1987, playing as an independent until a change in NCAA rules forced the program to play in Division I. When the new rule took effect in 1993, Drake joined the newly formed Pioneer League, a football-only league playing at the FCS level that prohibits the awarding of football scholarships.
- ^ Grinnell joined the Midwest Collegiate Athletic Conference beginning with the 1939–40 season; their affiliation from 1928–1939 is unclear. The MCAC merged with the Midwest Athletic Conference for Women to form the Midwest Conference beginning with the 1994–95 season.
- ^ Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC beginning with the 2012–13 season.
- ^ Nebraska left the Big 12 for the Big Ten beginning with the 2011–12 season.
- ^ Washington-St. Louis left the MVC in 1946; it joined the College Athletic Conference from 1962 through 1971, and became a charter member of the University Athletic Association, which began play with the 1986–87 season. It was independent in all other years.
- Reaves Peters (1947–1963) as Executive Secretary
- Wayne Duke (1963–1971)
- Chuck Neinas (1971–1980)
- Carl C. James (1980–1996)
- Main article: List of Big Eight Conference champions
- Main article: Big Eight Conference football
|Football conference championships (1907–1995)|
|School||Total titles||Outright titles||Years|
|Colorado||5||3||1961 · 1976 · 1989 · 1990 · 1991|
|Iowa State||2||0||1911 · 1912|
|Kansas||5||2||1908 · 1930 · 1946 · 1947 · 1968|
|Missouri||12||10||1909 · 1913 · 1919 · 1924 · 1925 · 1927 · 1939 · 1941 · 1942 · 1945 ·|
1960† · 1969
|Nebraska||41||31||1907 · 1910 · 1911 · 1912 · 1913 · 1914 · 1915 · 1916 · 1917 · 1921 ·|
1922 · 1923 · 1928 · 1929 · 1931 · 1932 · 1933 · 1935 · 1936 · 1937 ·
1940 · 1963 · 1964 · 1965 · 1966 · 1969 · 1970 · 1971 · 1972‡ · 1975 ·
1978 · 1981 · 1982 · 1983 · 1984 · 1988 · 1991 · 1992 · 1993 · 1994 ·
|Oklahoma||34||26||1920 · 1933 · 1938 · 1943 · 1944 · 1946 · 1947 · 1948 · 1949 · 1950 · |
1951 · 1952 · 1953 · 1954 · 1955 · 1956 · 1957 · 1958 · 1959 · 1962
1967 · 1968 · 1972‡ · 1974 · 1975 · 1976 · 1977 · 1978 · 1979 · 1980 ·
1984 · 1985 · 1986 · 1987
|Oklahoma State||2||1||1926 · 1976|
|Washington (St. Louis)||0||0|
† Kansas would have won the 1960 title, but after found to be using an ineligible player they were forced to forfeit their victories over Missouri and Colorado, which meant that Missouri was awarded the 1960 Big Eight title.
‡ Oklahoma initially won the 1972 title, but after it was found that they used ineligible players, they were penalized by the NCAA, though they did not force OU to forfeit games. The Big Eight asked them to forfeit three games and awarded the title to Nebraska, but Oklahoma still claims these wins and this title.
National championships won by MVIAA/Big Eight members
The following is a complete list of the 100 AIAW, NCAA and college football championships won by teams that were representing the Big Eight Conference in NCAA- or AIAW-recognized sports at the time of the championship.
Men's basketball (2):
Men's Cross Country (3):
Women's Cross Country (5):
Men's golf (9):
Men's gymnastics (14):
Men's/Women's Skiing (14):
Men's Indoor Track (4):
Women's Indoor Track (3):
Men's Outdoor Track (3):
Women's volleyball (1):
National team titles by institution
The national championships listed below are for the final eight members of the conference, as of July 2014. Football, Helms, and equestrian titles are included in the total, but excluded from the column listing NCAA and AIAW titles.
|Big Eight National Championships|
|School||Total titles||Titles as a member
of the Big Eight
|NCAA and AIAW titles||Notes|
|Colorado||28||15||27||CU has 1 recognized football title and 1 AIAW title|
|Iowa State||18||18||18||ISU has 5 AIAW titles|
|Kansas||13||11||11||KU has 2 Helms basketball titles|
|Nebraska||23||16||18||NU has 5 recognized football titles and 1 AIAW title|
|Oklahoma||27||19||20||OU has 7 recognized football titles|
The history of the Big Eight Conference straddles the era of racial segregation in the United States, particularly as it relates to African Americans.
Before the formation of the conference, three African-American brothers at the University of Kansas are the first known to have participated in organized sports for a league school: Sherman Haney played baseball for KU beginning in 1888, followed by Grant Haney and then Ed Haney, the last of whom also played football at KU in 1893. At the same time, the University of Nebraska football team had on its roster George Flippin, the son of a slave, beginning in 1891. Nebraska's football team featured three more African-American players over the next 12 years. Notable among these NU players was Clinton Ross, who in 1911 apparently became the first African-American to participate in sport in the MVIAA, following the league's formation in 1907.
Race relations in the United States, however, deteriorated in the early 20th century, and African-American athletes disappeared almost entirely from the conference in the four decades after Ross's final season at NU in 1913. The lone exception during the following decades was Iowa State. In 1923 Jack Trice became the first African-American athlete at Iowa State – and the only one in the conference. Tragically, Trice died two days after playing his second football game with Iowa State, due to injuries suffered during the game (against Minnesota). Jack Trice Stadium at Iowa State is now named in his honor. Trice was followed at Iowa State by Holloway Smith, who played football for ISU in 1926 and 1927. After Smith, the league's teams were all-white for more than two decades. (During this time all of the major professional sports leagues in the U.S. were also segregated.)
The modern era of full integration of league sports began at Kansas State, with Harold Robinson. In 1949, Harold Robinson played football for Kansas State with an athletic scholarship. In doing so, Robinson broke the modern "color barrier" in conference athletics, and also became the first ever African-American athlete on scholarship in the conference. Harold Robinson later received a letter of congratulations from Jackie Robinson, who had reintegrated major league baseball in 1947 while playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
In the spring of 1951 the conference's baseball color barrier was broken by Kansas State's Earl Woods, and in the winter of 1951–1952 Kansas State's Gene Wilson and Kansas's LaVannes C. Squires jointly broke the conference color barrier in basketball.
Nebraska was the third league school to (re)integrate its athletic teams, with Charles Bryant joining the football team in 1952. Iowa State would be next, with Harold Potts and Henry Philmon reintegrating the Cyclone football team in 1953. The following season, Franklin Clarke became the first varsity African-American football player at the University of Colorado. In 1955, Homer Floyd became the first African-American to play football for the KU Jayhawks since Ed Haney in 1893. Sports teams at the remaining three conference schools (Oklahoma, Missouri and Oklahoma State) were subsequently all integrated by the end of the 1950s. Most notably, Prentice Gautt became the first black player for Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma in 1956.
This is a listing of the conference facilities as of the last year of the conference 1995–1996.
|School||Football stadium||Capacity||Basketball arena||Capacity||Baseball Stadium||Capacity|
|Colorado||Folsom Field||51,655||Coors Events Center||11,065||Prentup Field (Concluded in 1980)||N/A|
|Iowa State||Jack Trice Stadium||43,000||Hilton Coliseum||14,356||Cap Timm Field (Concluded in 2001)||3,500|
|Kansas||Memorial Stadium||50,250||Allen Fieldhouse||16,300||Hoglund Ballpark||2,500|
|Kansas State||KSU Stadium||43,000||Bramlage Coliseum||13,500||Frank Myers Field||2,000|
|Missouri||Faurot Field||62,023||Hearnes Center||13,611||Simmons Field||2,000|
|Nebraska||Memorial Stadium||76,500||Bob Devaney Center||13,000||Buck Beltzer Stadium||1,500|
|Oklahoma||Owen Field||74,897||Lloyd Noble Center||11,528||L. Dale Mitchell Baseball Park||2,700|
|Oklahoma State||Boone Pickens Stadium||56,790||Gallagher-Iba Arena||6,381||Allie P. Reynolds Stadium||3,821|
- List of Big Eight Conference champions
- Big Eight Conference football
- BigEightSports.com. Retrieved on August 13, 2013.
- Murphy, Austin. "Bordering On Hatred: Rivalry Week will once again deliver must-see matchups, but this year's Kansas-Missouri showdown is like no other: It may very well be the last", November 28, 2011. Retrieved on 2011-11-25.
- "Texas Giants Merge With Big 8", The Nevada Daily Mail, via Google News, February 27, 1994.
- "Big 12 Conference offices to be located in Dallas", February 3, 1996.
- "Oklahoma Refused", May 31, 1919.
- "Oklahoma Aggies in Valley Group", December 6, 1924.
- "Big Six Grid Squads Take Field Tomorrow", September 16, 1928.
- Fullerton, Jr., Hugh. "Sports Roundup", May 27, 1947.
- "Group To Ask NCAA Opinion", May 19, 1957.
- Maisel, Ivan. "SEC Officially Leaves CFA; Big East Will Follow Soon", February 12, 1994. Retrieved on August 25, 2012.
- "Politics played big part information of Big 12", February 28, 1994. Retrieved on June 20, 2012.
- "Texas Giants Merge With Big 8", February 27, 1994.
- "Presidents Decide on Name: Big 12", May 13, 1994.
- "Politics played big part in formation of Big 12", February 28, 1994. Retrieved on August 26, 2012.
- Archived copy.
- Iowa State University fall enrollment soars to a record 28,682 students. Iowa State University. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved on 14 August 2011.
- Archived copy.
- KU Fall 2009 Enrollment Template:Webarchive
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- Archived copy. Archived from the original on 2011-08-23. Retrieved on 2011-09-04.
- http://www.grinnell.edu/files/downloads/Grinnell%20College%20Football%20Season-by-Season%20Records_0.pdf[dead link]
- About Bear Sports.
- Reaves Peters, Ex-Big 8 Head, Dies of Cancer. Lawrence Journal-World (January 31, 1966). Retrieved on 12 June 2012.
- Big Ten Official Athletic Site.
- Neinas Sports Services.
- Carl James.
- Former Big Eight Commissioner Carl James Passes Away Saturday.
- Big Eight Conference football record book. Big 12 Conference. Retrieved on August 13, 2013.
- Lapchick: Pioneering student-athletes required courage (20 February 2008).
- Nebraska U.
- "Athlete Who Broke Big 12 Race Barrier Dies", CBS College Sports, May 13, 2006. Retrieved on 2010-03-17.
- Baker, S Zebulon, "'To help foster athletic equality here in the Midwest': Defeating Jim Crow in the Big Seven Conference." Kansas History 39:2 (2016): 74-93. http://www.kshs.org/publicat/history/2016summer_baker.pdf
- Ken Geddes – No. 89 – Nebraska's Greatest Athletes.
- Iowa State Athletics.