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Tag:Conference realignment
Posted on: February 15, 2012 2:40 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 7:05 pm
 

Boise looks to "cover expenses" for Big East leap

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It wasn't even two weeks ago that no less an authority than Boise State president Bob Kustra said it was "too late" for the Broncos to consider moving to the Big East for the 2012 season. But with West Virginia now officially out the Big East door, Broncos officials admitted Wednesday that the school is in active talks with the league about joining this fall after all--and actively searching for the money that would make it happen.

Bronco athletic director Mark Coyle told the Idaho Statesman that though the final amount to get Boise out of the Mountain West and into the Big East -- and the WAC, where the Broncos' Olympic sports teams are headed -- "changes by the minute," there is "a sense of urgency" for the school to reach a decision soon.

“With the departure of West Virginia, it’s created this talk about somebody jumping to the Big East. We have had those conversations, but it’s not a simple black and white answer,” Coyle said. “Yes, we want to make sure that football has a solid home, but we have to have a solid home for our 18 other sports ...  Before we make any move, we need to make sure we cover all our expenses."

Those expenses are estimated to be between $7.5 and $9 million in exit fees due the Mountain West, and possibly an entry fee due the WAC to accommodate the Olympic teams on short notice. But just as West Virginia's exit has created a hole in the Big East schedule that the Broncos could fill, so the Broncos' future league could re-route the $10 million the Mountaineers are paying in their own exit fees -- or the potential $9 million in revenues the league plans on withholding from WVU -- to the MWC or WAC to help grease the skids for Boise's arrival.

Despite the potential hiccups, with Boise interested in speeding up their arrival, the Big East desperate to avoid a season with only seven football teams (just ask Syracuse and Rutgersand the necessary cash hypothetically available, it will now be a surprise if the Broncos don't make the leap this offseason. One potential monkey wrench, however: the Mountain West-Conference USA merger, which could in turn destabilize the reeling WAC and leave the Bronco Olympic sports high and dry. Coyle called the merger a "new twist in the conversation."

But as the expansion experience of the Mountaineers (as well as schools like Missouri) have shown, where there's a will to expedite the conference-jumping process, there's usually a way. That the Broncos now publicly have the former and a game-plan for the latter, it's not hard to imagine them going from "too late" to "already there" in a matter of weeks.

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 5:16 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 5:18 pm
 

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As of this moment, there is -- almost without question -- no more powerful coach in all of college football than Alabama's Nick Saban. But as it turns out, even Saban couldn't pull enough strings to get someone other than Missouri the coveted 14th invite to the SEC.

That's according to the account provided to the Charleston Daily Mail by West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, West Virginia University graduate, who said he and Saban had spoken and "were working toward" snagging that invitation for the Mountaineers before the league settled on the Tigers. Both Saban and his wife Terry are West Virginia natives, and Saban spent two seasons in the late '70s as a defensive assistant for the Mountaineers.

"I thought we could have been in the SEC," Manchin said. "I talked to my dear friend Nick Saban about that, and, like me, he said, 'I would like West Virginia in the SEC,' and we were working toward that."

The Charleston Gazette also reported in October that Saban had been lobbying behind the scenes for West Virginia. But to no avail: Missouri was officially added as the SEC's 14th team in early November.

"They chose Missouri instead, and then you never heard a thing else about it," Manchin said.

That decision helped lead to a bitter political struggle between Manchin and Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell. McConnell, a Louisville graduate and Republican, reportedly attempted to block the Mountaineers' bid to join the Big 12 with the hopes of getting the Cardinals the invitation instead; Manchin, a Democrat, responded by publicly calling for Congress to hold hearings on whether McConnell had committed an ethics violation.

In the end, of course, Manchin and the Mountaineers got their happy ending -- they're not even going to have to wait an extra year -- and Manchin says the feud with McConnell is in the past. But with as powerful an ally as Saban on his side, you have to wonder if he doesn't wonder what might have been if the SEC had lent a more friendly ear.

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:46 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 2:34 pm
 

Report: Big 12 schedule 'getting close,' not done

Posted by Chip Patterson

UPDATE: CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy confirms the Big 12 schedule will not be released on Friday (Feb. 10).

The idea that the 2012 Big 12 conference schedule would be released on Friday (today) reportedly was just "the wishful thinking" of Texas Tech athletic directory Kirby Hocutt.

The Oklahoman's Travis Haney, citing a source within the league, says that Big 12 officials are "getting close" to completing the 2012 football schedule. Unfortunately for Big 12 fans - especially West Virginia fans - the slate will likely not be set by the end of this week.

CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reported that the Big East and West Virginia have reached a $20 million settlement that would allow the Mountaineers to compete in the Big 12 for the upcoming season. The close timing of the buyout negotiations and the Big 12's intentions of putting out a 2012 conference schedule led to the concerns of West Virginia appearing on two different conference schedules. However, with legal issues behind them, the Mountaineers should be clear to complete a 10-team conference for competition in 2012.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 3:33 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 3:41 pm
 

Texas Tech AD: No A&M games 'any time soon'

Posted by Chip Patterson

Texas A&M's move to the SEC after the completion of this academic year will end many of the Aggies' traditional football and basketball rivalries. Many have mourned the end of the annual Texas-Texas A&M matchups, but that won't be the only Lone Star rivalry that is coming to an end. Texas Tech will also no longer face the Aggies on a regular basis, and Red Raiders athletic director Kirby Hocutt does not believe it will happen again "any time soon."

Hocutt told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal this week that the Red Raiders won't schedule Texas A&M in any sport unless the two schools commit to compete in all sports.

“We discussed it with all our head coaches,” Hocutt said, “and that’s something we as an athletic department and we as a group of coaches feel strongly about at this time.

“Our football schedule is set for the next two years. We’ll see if anything happens in the near future. But if down the road they’re interested in having that conversation, we would be willing to engage in it as well.”

Hocutt acknowledged that he has had conversations with Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne, but does not foresee any developments occurring in the near future.

“Any time you lose those games it’s unfortunate,” Hocutt said. “And it’s unfortunate that they’re not going to be in our league as we move forward. But that’s water under the bridge and if the rivalry can be resumed at some point in the future, then that would be considered at that time.”

The loss of the Texas Tech - Texas A&M rivalry is just another casualty of conference realignment. For all the latest news and updates, check out our Conference Realignment home.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 1:44 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 2:00 pm
 

Neinas: Big 12 might help WVU pay exit fee

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

West Virginia and the Big 12 have been adamant for weeks that neither the Big East's legal actions nor the inevitable snafus of last-minute scheduling will keep the Mountaineers out of their new conference digs for the 2012 season. And if the comments of Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas to the West Virginia MetroNews are any indication, the league is willing to put its money where its mouth is.

Specifically, Neinas said that if West Virginia needs some financial assistance from the Big 12 in order to pay its exit fee, the league "would talk with WVU about it."

"It would be an internal matter for our Board of Directors to determine," Neinas said. "If West Virginia makes a request, we'll take it to the board."

The exit fee is set at $5 million, but the Big East could likely demand far more to let the Mountaineers wriggle out of the league's pending lawsuit. The sum could be difficult for the Mountaineers to come up with, particularly if the program is also forced to pay damages from a potential scheduling lawsuit from Florida State. It won't help relations between the two sides that Boise State will force the league to proceed with just seven teams in 2012, either.

All the same, the cancellation of the Mountaineers' scheduled meeting with the Seminoles -- along with the private release of a 10-team schedule to the Big 12's TV partners -- is just the latest evidence that Neinas and WVU fully intend to clear whatever hurdles might stand between the Mountaineers and playing a 2012 Big 12 schedule. Neinas brushed off the threat of a legal injunction, saying that the spelling-out of the injunction's enforcement details would arrive too late to prevent WVU making the jump.

"They will be with us come July 1, 2012," Neinas said of the Mountaineers, "and we'll play the football schedule in the Big 12 Conference."

For all parties involved, that would be the cleanest, easiest resolution to the issue. But don't expect the arrival at that resolution to be remotely clean or easy.

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Posted on: February 4, 2012 8:35 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2012 8:37 pm
 

Report: FSU may sue West Virginia

Posted by Chip Patterson

West Virginia's decision to abruptly cancel their 2012 non-conference matchup with Florida State has left the Seminoles in a difficult position, and the Seminoles' administration may decide to take legal action against the school.

CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy first reported the Mountaineers' cancelation of their Sept. 8 game at Florida State, leaving the Seminoles very little time to fill the spot before the release of the 2012 regular season schedule. Coley Harvey, of the Orlando Sentinel, reported on Saturday that the school may decide to proceed with litigation if the Seminoles are "unable to find a suitable replacement" for the Sept. 8 date.

During Saturday afternoon's FSU men's basketball game, [athletic director Randy] Spetman told the Orlando Sentinel that the FSU may be forced to sue West Virginia if it is unable to land an opponent that would fill FSU's financial needs.

"It's not good timing," Spetman said of West Virginia's decision to cancel.

Although the Mountaineers are contractually on the hook for $500,000, per the game's official contract that was drafted in 2005 and amended in 2009, there could be other damages that FSU would try to persue.

Spetman speculated that total liquated damages — lost ticket sales, potential travel costs for the new incoming opponent, possible changes in television money — could run in the millions.

"We have the buyout, there's that, and then there will be whatever liquidated damages," Spetman said. "If we aren't able to find another team, that's what we're going to have to look at.

"You're talking about a lot of money."

The game was the first of a two-year, home-and-home series between West Virginia and Florida State, with the second showdown to take place in Morgantown, W.Va. in 2013. In his report, Harvey points out that with the both teams expected to be preseason top-10 teams and the game might have been a strong candidate to host ESPN's "College Gameday." Brett McMurphy suggested that Florida State's best options to replace West Virginia lie in the Big East, where all seven remaining teams will need one more game on their 2012 schedule if the Mountaineers leave.

West Virginia's cancellation of the game is considered to be another sign that the Mountaineers plan on competing in the Big 12 in 2012, despite the ongoing legal battle to leave the Big East. For much more on Florida State's non-conference schedule for 2012, follow Seminole RapidReports.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 7:20 pm
 

Boise State: 'too late' for 2012 move to Big East

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Boise State announced last December that its impending move to the Big East wouldn't take place until 2013. But with West Virginia still caught in limbo between its old league and its leap to the Big 12, the San Jose Mercury-News'Jon Wilner reported this week that the Broncos might still be considering an offer to step directly into the Mountaineers' scheduling shoes should WVU extricate itself in time for the 2012 season.

Boise president Bob Kustra told the Idaho Statesman Friday that he had "heard those rumors." But he stated firmly that any move for this coming season is already off the table.

"It's too late. I can't imagine how anyone can pull that off," he said. "We would never want to pull it off in a fashion that dealt shabbily with our existing partners in the Mountain West. I don't think that could ever work."

If the Mountaineers succeeded in joining the Big 12 by this fall -- and with a 10-team schedule already released to the conference's television partners, the expectation both in the Big 12 offices and Morgantown is that they will -- the Big East will be set to play out the 2012 season with just seven members: Cincinnati, South Florida, UConn, Rutgers, Louisville, Syracuse and Pitt. (The Orange and Panthers have both announced their intentions to join the ACC and are scheduled to leave in 2014, but both could look to leave next year if the Mountaineers are successful in their attempt to bolt early.)

Once 2013 hits, the Big East will receive a substantial boost in the form of five new members, the Broncos included. But for 2012, facing the ugly prospect of just six conference games and a matter of weeks in which to find a nonconference replacement for the Mountaineers, it's understandable if John Marinatto would like to see BSU make a last-gasp switch. Unfortunately for him, it seems like Kustra and the Broncos aren't in quite such a hurry.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 12:06 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 12:50 pm
 

Neinas says Big 12 comfortable at 10

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If we've learned anything over the last few years when it comes to conference realignment and expansion, it's basically that anything can happen no matter what anybody is saying. So keep that in mind when reading these latest quotes from the Big 12's interim commissioner Chuck Neinas on the Big 12's plans in the future.

The conference's expansion committee got together last week to discuss the possibility of further expansion, and while talking to West Virginia Illustrated over the weekend, Neinas made it sound like the committee decided that 10 is enough for now.

"The Board of Directors at the time West Virginia was admitted to the Big 12 asked the expansion committee to continue to monitor the landscape of college athletics," Neinas said. "We are currently at ten and very comfortable with ten.

"As a ten team conference you play every team in the conference for football. You are not skipping any opponent. There is not that argument that someone played Oklahoma and the other guy had to play a lesser team. In basketball, it is a double round-robin, so if you lose on the road, you get the same team at home. That is very appealing to our conference membership." 

Neinas also talked about how the conference doesn't really desire having its conference championship game return.

"Unlikely that there will be a conference championship game anytime in the near future," said Neinas. "There is, not unanimous, but heavy plurality favoring not having a conference championship or playoff because that brings about divisional play and that is where you get into a debate about strength of division." 

So it seems that, for now, the possibility of the Big 12 expanding back to 12 teams and adding a school like Louisville -- the school most frequently mentioned -- and another has been tabled for now. That being said, as I made clear at the beginning of this post, these things change pretty quickly.

After all, it might just be that since the Big 12 could be finding itself in court with the Big East over West Virginia in the near future, the conference doesn't want to come out and say "oh and we're gonna take Louisville too."

Speaking of West Virginia, Neinas also made it sound as if the Mountaineers will be playing in the Big 12 next fall. The conference has to release its schedule by February 1st, and according to Neinas that schedule has already been distributed to the conference's athletic directors and West Virginia is likely on it.

"Either West Virginia [will be on it] or the Green Bay Packers and I think it is more likely West Virginia," joked the commissioner.

If it does end up being the Packers, though, I know who I'm picking to win the title next season.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com