Yesterday it was widely reported that West Virginia’s membership was not a done deal, and that the selection process was on hold until Missouri confirmed its intentions. It was also reported that the Big 12′s “change of mind” was a result of “heavy lobbying” by and on behalf of U of L. It is reported that Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, Louisville alum, lobbied former congressman Kent Hance, now Texas Tech chancellor, and former senate colleague David Boren, now president of University of Oklahoma.
Hance has confirmed the contact. Neither Boren nor McConnell has issued a statement.
One can only imagine the gist of the conversation between such inveterate politicos as David Boren and Mitch McConnell.
“Hello, President Boren speaking.”
“David, Mitch McConnell.”
“Welll howdy there Mr. Minority Leader. To what do I owe the honor of a call this fine day from the Honorable Senior Senator from the great commonwealth of Kentucky?”
“David, you know I’m a Louisville alumni . . . ”
(Laughing) “Mitch, of course. How could I forget the red Cardinal tie you wore in the chambers the morning after you all beat Duke in 1986? You wouldn’t let us take up any other business until you got your proclamation on the record. And we sure did share some joy when you all slammed the Longhorns, back in, what, ’93? I remember you telling me how they packed ol’ Bevo up sometime in the third quarter. Wish I’d a been there. Hell, if that ol’ blowhard Howard Schellenberger hadn’t won that one so big, I might never have let my AD hire him here. Supreme Commander, Sooner Nation. The guy could coach, but sometime he was too big for his britches.”
“Uh, sorry about all that. We weren’t’ so happy when you snatched him away. But you all landed on your feet when you got Stoops. Anyway, David, you know that I love my Cardinals the way you love your Sooners. Tough loss, by the way, last weekend, my condolences. We’ve been taking our lumps on the gridiron lately, but we’re on our way back.”
“You got a good one in that Charlie Strong, Mitch. Jurich did a good job nabbing him. That Kragthorpe guy sure left the cupboard bare, didn’t he?”
“Indeed. And he landed at LSU, of all places. Anyway, David, here’s why I called. You know this Big East were in is falling apart faster than Obama’s economic plan. And, well, I’ll just say it. We’d love to join you all in your league. We got a great athletic department, you know?”
“I understand you got things going there. But, you know, Mitch, it’s really out of my hands. I’m not the decision maker.”
“Come on, David. You’re talking to me. I know you are going to have your say in this. You haven’t gone soft on me, have you?”
“Okay, sure. But those bastards in Austin are swinging those big ass horns around like the own the whole pen. Plus there are some folks out here that think West Virginia will be a better fit. State school and all. Better football.”
“I hear you, David. But, I sure do need your help on this one. Remember back when the senate was considering that tornado relief measure? Oklahoma was hit pretty hard, if I recall. And you wanted to throw in that extra $3 million or so, for some social program your wife loved in Pushmataha County. I’d always kid you about the name. But you needed some help to get it through from across the aisle.”
“I do remember, Mitch. And I’m much obliged. You helped get that thing passed. And helped calm things down at home. Much appreciated.”
“Well, David, I’m calling in my chits. I really need your help getting Louisville into the Big 12. You understand how important this is for my alma mater.”
“I do, Mitch. And I hear what you’re saying. Lord amighty, I’m glad ol’ Robert Byrd, may he rest in peace, isn’t still around. If he knew what we’re talking about, that ol’ Mountaineer would call us into his office for a whipping.”
(Smile) “Yes, indeed he would. But Robert’s passed on now. It’s Rockefeller and Manchin, and I can take care of them. David, I’m counting on you. You’ve got to help us on this.”
“Mitch, all I can promise is, I’ll do my best.”
“David, you’re a mighty persuasive guy. If you give it your best, we’ll be in fine shape. Thanks. I’ll check back with you tomorrow, if that’s okay?”
“Sure, Mitch, anytime. Give my best to Elaine.”
“Thanks, David. We’ll be in touch.”
– Seedy K