Notes from Neinas on Big 12 future
October, 3, 2011
By David Ubben | ESPN.com
Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas met with the media on Monday via teleconference for 25 minutes to discuss the future of the league and its decision to share Tier 1 and Tier 2 revenue equally, pending a commitment of each school's media rights to the conference.
"I'm not objective on this, but in an objective view, I think this should be a positive sign for Missouri," Neinas said. "I do think that they'll consider what we're doing. We have some things in mind that I'm not prepared to reveal at this point, but we're working in a very positive way toward improving what is already a good conference.
Neinas continues to be confident Missouri will stay, but the school's board of curators has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday in St. Louis, and will speak with the media following its conclusion. The SEC's presidents will meet on Wednesday.
Neinas will travel to Missouri's campus later this week to speak with officials from Missouri.
"They have to look at not only what the future best interests are for the University of Missouri but for the state of Missouri. There's a lot to be considered, not only for the institution, but for the state," Neinas said.
He cited the school's rivalry with Kansas, which has stretched longer than a century. He also added that Kansas City, a home for many Missouri alums, is the home of the Big 12 Conference basketball tournament. He also expressed worry that Missouri fans' traditions of driving to games in the Big 12 would end if it left to play games in locales like Gainesville, Fla., Tuscaloosa, Ala. and Columbia, S.C.
"Missouri is Midwestern, not Southern," he said.
Missouri balancing both sides?
Despite rumors to the contrary last week, Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton remains chair of the Big 12 board of directors and is on the five-man expansion committee along with Kansas State president Kirk Schulz, who serves as the chair. Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione and Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis fill the committee.
On Sunday's conference call between the board of directors, though, Deaton recused himself from a part of the meeting at the advice of his legal counsel.
Neinas declined to detail the part of the meeting in which Deaton did not participate.
Expansion committee moves forward
The expansion committee has been reactivated after the drama surrounding Texas A&M's exit subsided, and will meet later this week.
Does Neinas have a sense that his conference knows who is on board and could make offers to others?
"That's a good question, and I think the answer is yes," he said.
The problem, though, seems to be that there is no consensus on how the Big 12 should expand. Neinas said there is still no strong sense of if the Big 12 should remain at nine, add one member to reach 10 or more to have 12, 14 or even 16 members.
Presumably, finding that consensus and recommending a move to the rest of the league's presidents is part of the expansion committee's job description.
Missouri's stance on Big 12 future
Missouri still hasn't said definitively what its plans are, but Neinas clarified a few stances on Monday.
The equal revenue sharing for Tier 1 and Tier 2 rights passed unanimously and had been something Missouri supported.
Neinas reiterated that the Tier 3 money will not be shared equally and didn't envision that changing.
"I don't know that there were specific changes that were put forward by Missouri," Neinas said. "Items regarding revenue sharing were on the agenda before I came. They're just being acted on."