Commish talks TCU, Mizzou, Big 12 future
October, 11, 2011
By David Ubben | ESPN.com
Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas and TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte met with the media for a little less than half an hour on Tuesday morning. Here are few notes from the gathering, as well as some extra notes from last night's announcement at TCU.
TCU, as one might expect, is pretty ecstatic about joining the Big 12.
"It's a great day to be a TCU Horned Frog. I can tell you that much," Del Conte said. "It's been an emotional whirlwind for everyone at TCU, but we're excited to be home and to get this show on the road as a member of the Big 12 Conference. The adulation on campus is second to none. Not too sure anyone slept last night."
Neinas: Big 12 will be a 10-team league in 2012
Neinas isn't putting any hard deadlines on Missouri, save the end of the 2011-12 school year, to make its decision on where its future conference home will be. That said, he believes the Big 12 will be a 10-team league with Missouri and TCU for the 2012-2013 school year.
"If Missouri was going to change horses, it wouldn't be for 2012 anyway," he said.
TCU is in, and Neinas all but ruled out any further expansion in the Big 12 until Missouri decides where it will be. There's some debate within the league about whether it wants 10 or 12 members, but that debate can't be settled, Neinas said, until Missouri decides if it's in or out.
"We’ll give Missouri time to evaluate its situation and have an opportunity to look at the Big 12 and get a better understanding of where we’re going," he said.
TCU likely won't play Texas or Oklahoma in Cowboys Stadium
Next season, TCU will open its renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium that seats approximately 50,000 people. If TCU slides into the already-prepared Big 12 future schedule and replaces Texas A&M, it would host Oklahoma in 2012 and host Texas in 2013. Both schools have sizeable fan bases in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, but coach Gary Patterson isn't a fan of possibly moving either of those games to Cowboys Stadium, which would seat nearly twice as many fans.
"For us, we'll have a brand-new stadium and we want to play in it," Patterson said. "For us, if we're going to play in [Cowboys Stadium], it'll be a nonconference ballgame like we've done."
TCU played Oregon State in Cowboys Stadium last year and will take on BYU in Arlington later this year. Patterson emphasized that TCU's move, and embracing its status as the only Big 12 school located in the metroplex, is bigger than just the school.
"The financial windfall for this city being able to bring people from Tech -- as far as hotel rooms, restaurants -- people from Kansas, Iowa State coming down for weekends," Patterson said. "Even going out on the town on Thursdays on date night, seeing when LSU and Oregon played, all the people staying in Fort Worth and when Arkansas played A&M. This is a win for more than TCU. This is a win for Fort Worth. This is a win for the metroplex. Only good things can come out of it. Are you going to win 10-12 games every year? Probably not, but the key is to have a chance to challenge for the conference title, always get back to bowl games and that's going to be our goal."
Neinas says Missouri report is inaccurate
A 45-page study out of Missouri was leaked to the Associated Press on Monday and stated that the university could gain $12 million per year with a move to the SEC. Neinas isn't buying it.
"If an institution in the Southeastern Conference is going to get $12 million more annually, and there are 14 members, that means they would have to increase their annual income from TV by $168 million," Neinas said.
He followed up after being asked if he thought that was possible.
"I don't think that's accurate," he said. "You can ask ESPN or somebody if they want to pay another $168 million. I don't think that's in the cards."
Neinas said he thought the money would be a wash, and noted that he hoped Missouri would realize the Big 12 has some cards to play, too.
"I would like to see it," Neinas said of the report. "I'd like to know who wrote it."
A few Big 12 quick hits:
- Don't look for any change in schools keeping their Tier III media rights. They'll be keeping them for the foreseeable future as part of the league's design. "There's been no argument or discussion on sharing those," Neinas said. "That's pretty clear cut."
- Back at an athletics directors meeting on Sept. 27, a day after the first contact between Neinas and TCU, some Big 12 ADs favored a nine-team Big 12. "I don't think anyone is holding that position now," Neinas said.
- Del Conte declined to weigh in on the 10 versus 12 debate on Tuesday. "That's out of my pay grade right now."
- No school had negativity toward TCU joining.
- Ironically, Neinas is a Wisconsin graduate, which TCU beat in last year's Rose Bowl.