The Big 12 Conference held a teleconference Tuesday morning to discuss the addition of TCU to the league. Interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas and TCU Athletic Director Chris Del Conte were on the call, but Del Conte was mostly silent while Neinas discussed the future of Missouri and the Big 12 with reporters for the overwhelming majority of the time.
Here are some of the takeaway points from Neinas’ comments:
- Missouri will be in the Big 12 in 2012 no matter what
Neinas: “If Missouri was going to change horses, it wouldn’t be for 2012 anyway.”
- The Big 12 will not add another team until Missouri decides its future
Neinas: “From a realistic standpoint, I don’t think you can evaluate whether you want 10 or 12 until you determine, until Missouri gives us an indication as to their preference. This is my personal opinion, you remember I work for people, but my personal opinion is that we cant address the 10 vs. 12 until we determine that Missouri is going to be one of the 10.”
- The Big 12 is going to be patient with Missouri and is waiting for it to agree to the granting of television rights
Neinas: “We will give Missouri time to evaluate its situation and have an opportunity to look at the Big 12 Conference and perhaps get a better understanding as to where we’re going.
“I think that by the end of the academic year, there will have to be some type of decision made.
“Each institution has to go through a procedure or protocol (to grant rights), I think that what I’m saying is that if Missouri needs further time to study the situation, we’ll allow them to do so.”
- Yesterday’s AP report about Missouri making up to $12 million more in the SEC if it were to join is in question
Neinas: “Let me say that Missouri, or an institution in the Southeastern Conference is going to make $12 million more annually and there are 14 members, that means they would have to increase their annual income from TV by $168 million.
“I don’t know, you can ask ESPN, or anybody if they want to pay another $168 million, I don’t think that’s in the cards.
“Number one, I’d like to see the report and number two, I’d like to know who wrote it.”
- The Big 12 may have some moves left on the table
Neinas: “One thing is that that they’d be able to recognize that we may have a couple of cards to play too. I think there’s a possibility of some things happening.”
- Neinas has been in contact with SEC Commissioner Mike Slive
Neinas: “I’ve talked to Mike, yes. It was just very cordial. I’ve known Mike for years. We just talked about things in general. I said, basically if you’re going to extend an invitation to Missouri, please let me know … He didn’t indicate one way or the other.”
Also, in case you’re interested, here’s Neinas’ play-by-play on how the TCU situation developed:
Chris and I actually came aboard on Sept. 26, that was the first day I really started working in preparation for the AD’s and faculty meetings on the 27th. Chris and I happened to be together at a social gathering the night of the 26th and we talked briefly. The next thing that happened is that the conference had to activate its expansion committee, which was done. The expansion committee and the direction of the board both moved forward to have a meeting and discuss, we had two expansion committee meetings. The first one was of a general nature to take a look at the overall scene in college athletics and identify those that the conference might have interest in. And also we’d received some solicitations of interest from others. Eventually on the second expansion committee call, we discussed the need to establish a 10th member in the conference, and it was quickly identified as TCU. They were voted upon unanimously by the expansion committee. The conference office did its research. We contacted our two television partners, that’s true. That’s Fox and ESPN/ABC. But we also did additional research and Texas Christian University came up as our number one choice. So, we are very pleased and it was a happy occasion yesterday. In this day and age, when our country has so much uncertainty, and that certainly is true in college athletics, it was nice to be involved in such a happy occasion, so we welcome TCU.
And so we wait to see what Missouri will choose to do. How long it will take, no one is really sure, but don’t be surprised if it happens relatively quickly.