Neinas says Big 12 set for 10 teams in 2012
STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
Interim Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas said Tuesday that the league is set with 10 teams for 2012 with the addition of TCU, even though Missouri is exploring a possible departure to the Southeastern Conference.
“If Missouri was going to change horses, it wouldn’t be for 2012 anyway,” Neinas said.
The Big 12 has given no deadline for a decision from Missouri, though Neinas said there would need to be some determination by the end of the current academic year. The school has not ruled out remaining part of the Big 12.
Neinas said the Big 12 needs to know what Missouri plans to do before the league can fully evaluate whether to stay at 10 members or expand back to 12.
“We can’t address the 10 vs. 12 until we determine that Missouri is going to be one of the 10,” he said. “There’s no consensus at the present time between the conference members as to 10 or 12.”
TCU accepted an invitation Monday to join the Big 12. The Horned Frogs will replace Texas A&M, keeping the league at 10 members when the Aggies leave for the SEC next July.
There were some indications after Big 12 athletic directors met last month that some might be in favor of staying at nine members. That has apparently changed.
“I don’t think anyone is holding that position now. I think the idea would be 10 or 12,” Neinas said, adding: “It won’t be 16.”
A 45-page document presented to Missouri curators earlier this month suggests the school would hope to get as much as $12 million more each year in additional revenue with a move to the SEC if TV deals are renegotiated. The document, which was obtained by The Associated Press, was shown to the curators after they gave Chancellor Brady Deaton authority to explore a departure from the Big 12.
Asked about the report and the financial projection, Neinas responded, “I don’t think that’s accurate.” Such projections would suggest the SEC would have to redo current deals and increase its annual TV income by $168 million based on a 14-team league, he said.
Big 12 leaders recently agreed to switch to equal revenue sharing after years in which the schools that made the most television appearances received the most money. The proposal, which would require schools to give their top TV rights to the Big 12 for six years, requires approval from the governing boards of Big 12 schools.
With equal sharing and a 13-year TV deal with Fox Sports worth more than $1 billion, Neinas indicated that the potential money per team could be similar in the Big 12 and SEC.
“We’ll give Missouri time to evaluate its situation, and have an opportunity to look at the Big 12 Conference and perhaps get a better understanding of where we’re going,” Neinas said. “I think we’re on the verge of making some good progress.
“We’re in process of solidifying the conference, and I think that’s already been proven,” he said. “There are a lot of positives the curators of Missouri have a chance to listen to.”
Neinas said he recently had a cordial conversation about Missouri with SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, who he has known for a long time.
“I said basically, if you’re going to extend an invitation to Missouri, let me know,” Neinas said.
According to Neinas, Slive said no invitation had been extended to Missouri and that the SEC commissioner “didn’t indicate one way or another” if that would happen. SEC leaders met Monday for their regularly scheduled fall meeting but took no action on expansion.