Friday, October 28, 2011
West Virginia, Big 12 talk partnership details
By David Ubben
Officials from the Big 12 and West Virginia met with reporters via teleconference late Friday afternoon. Here's a bit of what we learned.
Big East/West Virginia disagree on exit terms
As noted today, the Big East (27 months, or January 2014) and West Virginia (July 2012) have a clear disagreement on when the Mountaineers will become members of the Big 12.
"As of July 1, we will be members of the Big 12. Our team and their team are in discussions about how we can make that happen," West Virginia president James Clements said.
As required in the bylaws, West Virginia wired a $2.5 million payment to the Big East upon notification of withdrawal, and the other $2.5 million exit fee is paid upon exit date.
The school also plans to grant its Tier I and Tier II media rights to the Big 12 as the league's other members, excluding Missouri and Texas A&M, have done. The paperwork to do so is being circulated to the school, and Clements said the school should have it officially OK'd around Tuesday.
TCU and West Virginia on same revenue-sharing plan
There will be no difference in how Big 12 Conference revenue is shared between the league's founding members and its new members, who both plan on entering the league in 2012.
"It's similar; it's the same," said Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported earlier this month that TCU would earn 50 percent of the expected $17 million payout in the 2012-13 academic year, 67 percent in 2013-14, 84 percent in 2014-15, and 100 percent in 2015-16.
Future schedules in flux
Don't expect TCU to replace Texas A&M in the Big 12 schedule, and don't expect West Virginia to slide in and replace Missouri if the Tigers' exit to the Big 12 is finalized.
Neinas says the conference won't be starting from scratch, but it's likely that changes to the 10-team, round-robin conference schedule will be made.
No official word on Missouri
Neinas offered no real updates on the status of Missouri, which was excluded from the Big 12 release on Friday that stated "Beginning with the 2012-13 season it is expected that the Big 12 Conference will be comprised of 10 Universities – Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia."
"Until it withdraws, Missouri is a member of the Big 12," Neinas said.
He deferred any questions about timing or details to Missouri officials.
- Neinas didn't rule out expansion in the future, but says there's no sentiment across the league to be anything but a 10-team league, citing excitement about the round-robin schedule in basketball and football.
- West Virginia officials admitted they felt some nervousness when plans to join the league this week were put on hold, but remained confident that it would become official. The Big 12 said the plans were put on hold by the league's members because they wanted to make sure the Big 12 didn't become an 11-team league if Missouri decided to stay. For now, there seems to be a lot of legal wrangling, but from my perspective, it seems like West Virginia's invitation was a tacit resignation that the Tigers are gone.
- Neinas went out of his way to say the lack of an invitation to Louisville wasn't an indictment on the school. The Cardinals would be a good fit in the league, and in my opinion, if the Big 12 looks to expand again, they'll be near or at the top of the list.
- Beer in the stadium? The Big 12 has no rules encouraging or prohibiting it at campus stadiums, but West Virginia decided to allow beer sales at its stadium this year. The details of whether or not it will continue haven't been ironed out yet.