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Tag:Chuck Neinas
Posted on: September 28, 2011 2:14 pm
 

Questions remain in the Big 12

Posted by Tom Fornelli

I'd like to start this post by congratulating the Big 12 for lasting nearly an entire week without talk of another one of its schools leaving and reports of the conference's possible expansion. Kudos to you, Big 12.

Now that I've got that out of the way, let's get to the latest.

There are still persistent rumors that Missouri could be headed to the SEC to become the conference's 14th team and join Texas A&M. Rumors that aren't easy to put the rest when you find out that, according to the Kansas City Star, the Missouri Board of Curators is meeting on Tuesday and the school's conference affiliation will be one of the topics under discussion.

If that's not enough, for you stalkers out there, this FlightAware link of a certain twin turboprop plane making a flight from Birmingham, Alabama to Columbia, Missouri on Tuesday should stoke the flames a bit.

Does all of this mean that Missouri is bound for the SEC? Well, if we've learned anything from the last few months, when it comes to conference realignment, we really don't know anything until it's officially announced. The whole world was ending a few weeks ago, and in the end, only three schools actually moved anywhere.

So until Missouri makes an announcement that it's joining the SEC, we can't be sure of anything.

However, if leaving is in Missouri's plans, the Big 12 is reportedly putting together a contingency plan this time around. According to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, the Big 12 may not just be looking for a replacement for Texas A&M and possibly Missouri, but it may attempt to go back to 12 schools once again.

Wilner reports that the Big 12 is eyeing BYU, Boise State, West Virginia and Louisville as possible replacements because the conference feels that if it's going to be considered a peer of the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12, it needs 12 schools and a title game. The Big 12 is also considering staying at 10 schools and replacing Texas A&M and Missouri if it has to. Which schools it would prefer in that case is unknown.

As for the likelihood of adding the four schools mentioned in the report, it's hard to know how interested each would be in the Big 12.

BYU may only be interested in bringing its football to the Big 12, and who knows how the Big 12 would feel about that?

West Virginia and Louisville is conceivable because the future of the Big East looks shaky at the moment with Pitt and Syracuse already leaving for the ACC and UConn telling everybody who will listen, and even those who aren't, that it would like to leave the conference as well.

Then there's Boise State. The Broncos just joined the Mountain West this year, and while it's hard to predict exactly what the school would want to do, you have to think that the lure of playing in a BCS conference and the possibility of finally getting a shot at that crystal football would be quite appealing.

Whatever happens, Dan Beebe or Chuck Neinas, it's clear that there are still plenty of question marks surrounding the Big 12 these days.
Posted on: September 22, 2011 10:43 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 11:06 pm
 

Big 12 tensely commited to an all-in future

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Eye on College Football: The latest conference realignment news
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Chaos? Nah. We're all one big happy family.

Texas is in. Oklahoma too. Missouri has helped lead the charge.

That's the message that came out of middle America Thursday night. The Big 12 was saved and nine teams are committed to the future. Things were different, it was time to move forward.  

Despite the Sooners flirting with the Pac-12 and the Tigers with the SEC, everybody was staying put. The other Big 12 schools pledged solidarity led by the two schools who had explored leaving more than anyone.

Make no bones about it, Oklahoma wanted to go West and the only way that could have happened was if they could have convinced Texas to make concessions. That didn't happen and the Sooners had to concentrate on saving the conference they had spend the past 16 years in.

"This is a positive development for our state," President David Boren said. "It's a win-win for all of us. I'm optimistic about the future of this conference."

Never has there been so much optimism about a conference that someone wanted to leave days earlier than there was Thursday night in Norman.

Commissioner Dan Beebe, as part of the demands made by the Sooners, was pushed out in favor of former Big Eight commish and current consultant Chuck Neinas. Beebe would likely have been looking for a new job regardless what happened this week after the Big 12 nearly imploded for a second time in just over a year. He was placed in an impossible situation - between a rock (Texas), a hard place (Oklahoma) and a vulture (Larry Scott) - but he did an admirable job considering the circumstances.

Beebe did, after all, keep the league together following the departure of Colorado and Nebraska and added a millions to every school's coffers with a big second tier rights agreement. The commissioner's best move might have been, however, giving life to a hilarious alter ego on Twitter.

“I have been honored to serve the Big 12 Conference for the past eight and one-half years, including the last four-plus as its commissioner," Beebe said in a statement. "I care deeply for these fine institutions and the citizens they represent. It is satisfying to know the Big 12 Conference will survive, and I congratulate the members for taking strong action to ensure a bright future as a premier intercollegiate athletics conference."

Beebe's next move is anyone's guess. He'll be well taken care of after negotiating out of a new contract that was signed just last year. Perhaps he should head back to the NCAA, where he once was an investigator on staff, and help President Mark Emmert navigate the murky waters of college athletics he knows all to well.

"The bottom line is we achieved substantial reforms," Boren said. "We feel extremely good."

Yet, in a move reflective of how dysfunctional the conference still was, confusion reigned before, during and after Missouri and Oklahoma's dueling press conferences to announce those reforms. At one point, Boren's voice came through while Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton was speaking on his call. One school leader said one thing, another school's leader said something slightly different.

Boren filibustered  - he is a former senator - about the Big 12 agreeing to a six-year grant of right for each all first and second tier media rights. Everybody was putting their faith in the conference for the next six years. Television revenue would be shared equally for the first time in the league's history. All for one (conference), one for all.

But that wasn't what the Tigers said. A spokesman told the New York Times that there was only "an agreement to pursue the grant of rights." Oklahoma's general counsel later told the Associated Press no contracts were signed.

The Big 12 schools wanted to imprison themselves to a conference hours from breaking apart but they couldn't even do that properly. To say that was this whole saga in a nutshell would be doing it a disservice. Wednesday and Thursday were supposed to be about saving something but what, exactly, was that?

Everybody was moving forward together, but are they really? Sschools were concerned about Texas and ESPN's Longhorn Network yet they had just gotten engaged to be married the next six years without any promises in return about LHN. Boren later added that it "was very possible" Oklahoma would be the second school with their own network. Instead of working on a problem, it appears the Sooners would rather double-down.

Texas has always been about Texas. The Pac-12, under Scott, has always been about the conference and the biggest reason as to why they wouldn't budge to meet the Longhorns' demands. The same is true in the Big Ten where just a few years ago they extended their grant of rights at least 20 more years. Schools have gone all in on their conferences while Texas hasn't. They've gone all in on Texas.

And that's their right. But if it looks like an independent (The Longhorn Network), walks like an independent (exploring life after the Big 12 numerous times) and talks like an independent (DeLoss Dodds), then the Longhorns might just be an independent.

And that's what needs to change. We'll see how firmly committed to the Big 12 Texas really is over the coming weeks and months.

"There are a number of trust issues that have to be discussed," Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said earlier in the day. "I think there is a commitment that has to be discussed long-term."

Trust or no trust, the Big 12 schools are about to sign a binding agreement no one wants to sign.

"The University of Missouri is going to continue to work for what is best for the University of Missouri," Deaton said. "We have seen that aligned with the Big 12 Conference and we will continue to work with the various issues we have within the conference to carry it forward."

Conspicuously absent from all the activity was the one school that everybody was upset at. Accused of running the conference via proxy, ruining the Sooners' hopes of heading west and driving rival Texas A&M to another conference, one didn't hear much - if anything - about the Texas.

"The University of Oklahoma has no decision to drive the train anywhere. We have no desire to dominate the Big 12 conference," Boren said. "I hope no one will write in the future that anyone is driving the train in this conference."

Boren's right, it's not time to write, it's time to toast. The Big 12 has been saved.

To six more years of hating Texas!

Posted on: September 21, 2011 1:33 pm
 

Report: Big 12 to ask Beebe for resignation

Posted by Tom Fornelli

As I wrote about earlier on Wednesday, the statement from Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione did not bode well for Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe. Well, if Dan Beebe read the Tulsa World on Wednesday, his day has gotten that much worse.

According to a Tulsa World report, the Big 12 presidents are to hold a teleconference on Thursday to work out a way to bring some long-term stability to the Big 12 conference. One of the ways the Big 12 plans on doing that is by asking commissioner Dan Beebe to resign.
Highly placed Big 12 sources told the Tulsa World that there is a consensus among Big 12 leaders to ask commissioner Dan Beebe for his resignation. Those sources confirmed that former Big Eight commissioner Chuck Neinas has been targeted to serve as the interim commissioner until Beebe’s replacement is identified.
The report also says that Oklahoma president David Boren first contacted Neinas several days ago.

It had been reported that Oklahoma would only remain in the Big 12 if Dan Beebe was replaced, and it seems that the Sooners are not the only school that shares this vision of change within the conference.

The presidents also plan on discussing a way to make one final pitch to Texas A&M to remain in the Big 12 and not join the SEC. Though if you listen to what Texas A&M has been saying the last couple of days, those odds are about as good as Dan Beebe's chances to still be the Big 12 commissioner next season.
 
 
 
 
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