SBD/September 28, 2011/Colleges

Big 12 ADs Meet To Discuss Next Steps For The Conference

Big 12 committee will examine options for conference expansion

Big 12 ADs met yesterday “to discuss steps to stabilize its nine-member nucleus and plot a course for expansion” after Monday’s announcement that Texas A&M will officially join the SEC for the ’12-13 season, according to Jimmy Burch of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard, who serves as Chair of the Big 12 ADs, said that he "feels ‘very comfortable’ about the league’s future despite ongoing speculation about Missouri’s interest in joining the SEC.” Pollard acknowledged that “members must ‘prove’ their solidarity to outsiders before they can lure expansion candidates to a league that has discussed operating with nine, 10, 12 or 16 teams in the future.” In addition to A&M, the Big 12 in the last 15 months has also lost Colorado and Nebraska to other conferences. A committee “seeking ways to enhance league stability on issues that include television rights and revenue sharing also will delve into parameters for school-operated networks like the Longhorn Network.” Presidents from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa State “are on the committee.” Pollard said that he expects “imminent action from the four-member committee but did not know if the timetable would be ‘a day, a week or two weeks.’” Pollard also stressed that the Big 12’s policy “of allowing each school to keep its third-tier TV rights ... is viewed as a positive in seeking expansion candidates” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 9/28). The AP’s Stephen Hawkins reported Big 12 interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas “took part in the meeting even though he will not officially take over his new role until next Monday.” Pollard said formal agreements to ensure stability were “still a work in progress.” But he insisted “all nine member institutions are full engaged and committed” to putting those together (AP, 9/27). Pollard: “Our obituary has been written several times but it hasn’t come to fruition. I think that strengthened us. We said this a year ago that ultimately we have to prove it” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/28).

WHAT’S NEXT FOR SEC? SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said that the conference “wasn’t actively seeking" a 14th member. Slive: “We have not initiated any conversations with any institution.” But he "did not rule out expansion." East Carolina Univ. AD Terry Holland said, “We just need to know where it’s all going, so everybody can make plans. We’re all wondering who the SEC’s 14th team is going to be.” In K.C., Blair Kerkhoff notes the Big 12 also “needs to know where things stand before it can act on expansion” (K.C. STAR, 9/28). Slive said that there “wasn’t a definite date when the door closes for the 2012-2013 season” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/28). In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel writes, “The SEC should want Mizzou, and Mizzou should want the SEC.” Missouri “doesn’t hold the Big 12’s fate in its hands,” and the conference "will endure" (THE OKLAHOMAN, 9/28).

BACK TO THE BCS: The BCS' two-team per conference limit “could be up for discussion as the BCS nears another round of television negotiations.” Slive was asked yesterday about the "possibility of the BCS changing its rules to allow more than two teams from a conference to play in the five most lucrative bowl games in a year." Slive said, “[BCS Exec Dir] Bill Hancock has put together a list of issues that he believes the commissioners and the BCS bowl oversight committee ought to be looking at as the BCS develops a position on upcoming negotiations. I think that’s one of them. I think there’s going to be several issues that are important enough to have serious discussion about, and that would be one of them” (AP, 9/27).

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