Neinas nixing future Big 12 expansion?

May, 29, 2012
5/29/12
9:00
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The rumors are swirling again, but the Big 12 isn't in danger. The Big 12 is putting other leagues in serious danger. Namely, the ACC.

Florida State and Clemson have had administrators openly question those schools' future ACC membership, with the Seminoles openly wondering if the Big 12 might be the best new home for the war chant.

Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas will only hold that title for a little more than two weeks before Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby takes over on June 15, but on the way out, Neinas is not exactly waving the flag for making a bigger Big 12.

"People have to understand that bigger is not necessarily better," Neinas told the Dallas Morning News. "What we are trying to do, in view of what has transpired in the past, is to build unity. We have two new members. Let the membership be comfortable with each other before they ever consider going forward."

Neinas served as commissioner of the old Big Eight, and saw how the merger with the Southwest Conference splintered the new Big 12. Those old wounds were a major factor in Nebraska's exit to the Big Ten from the Big 12 in 2010.

The new configuration that allows for round-robin play in football and double round-robin in basketball has only been played for one season, and two of those members -- Texas A&M and Missouri -- are gone.

Neinas doesn't sound fired up to raid the ACC after playing the new format just once with new members West Virginia and TCU.

"We’ve taken care of the contentious issues. We have a very workable solution. Let’s build on that, then down the road maybe think of expansion. But to automatically run off and say, they’re going to go to 12 or 14 or whatever -- that does not take into account where this conference was, where we’ve come from, and where we need to go," Neinas said.

Fascinating stuff, and probably the strongest anti-expansion comments we've heard from anyone in the Big 12 other than Texas' DeLoss Dodds, a strong proponent of keeping the Big 12 at 10 teams.

For now, I generally believe the Big 12 will expand at some point. Florida State is a slam dunk in every possible measurement save geography, and with the Big East crumbling, giving Notre Dame a home for everything but football would be lucrative, too.

When, and how many -- 11, 12 or 14? -- is a big question, but Neinas is certainly bringing the "Will the Big 12 expand?" question a lot of attention.

Will that change when Bowlsby takes the reins?

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