Interim Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas yesterday said that the Univ. of Missouri "would be a Big 12 member in 2012-2013" despite the school remaining a potential candidate to move to the SEC, according to Blair Kerkhoff of the K.C. STAR. Neinas said, "If Missouri were to change horses, it wouldn't be for 2012 anyway." He "didn't elaborate, but timing and exit fees could be an issue." Big 12 bylaws state MU "would stand to lose 90 percent of revenues if it gives notice to leave the conference between six months and a year." A report prepared for the MU Board of Curators "estimated a penalty of $25.9 million if Missouri left this year but would be closer to $10.4 million if the Tigers gave two years' notice." Neinas said that the conference's size "won't be determined until Missouri makes its move." Neinas also "took exception to a media-rights figure in the report that said Mizzou could make as much as $12 million more in additional television revenue in the SEC." Neinas: "I don't think that's accurate. You can ask ESPN if they want to pay another $168 million" (K.C. STAR, 10/12). Neinas said that he "wouldn't require a decision by Missouri until the end of the current academic year." He said, "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 as to where we're going. I think we're on the verge of making some good progress and we're in the process of solidifying the conference" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/12). In Austin, Kirk Bohls reported Neinas has "spoken several times" with SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and "had 'very cordial' talks." Slive has "promised to keep Neinas in the loop on any SEC expansion" (STATESMAN.com, 10/11).
CONCERNS ABOUT THE PROCESS: Baylor Univ. President Ken Starr indicated that the Big 12 "had been stabilized" with the addition of TCU Monday as the conference's 10th member. However, Starr said, "I am concerned about the welfare of other conferences and the schools and the student-athletes who find themselves caught up in this very unstable environment and culture. We need to fix that" (USA TODAY, 10/12). Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, Karen Price reports despite the NCAA "not having authority over which conferences its universities belong to," NCAA President Mark Emmert thinks schools "need to justify their reasons for moving." Emmert: "If it's going to do good things for students, I'm all about it. If it's just about money and nothing else, then that's a challenge" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 10/12).
FOOTBALL MERGER STILL A POSSIBILITY: Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky said that the league is "gaining some momentum in a possible C-USA/Mountain West football-only cooperative." He said, "We've had a series of discussions at various levels. Each stop on the way, they've said, 'This seems like a pretty good idea. Keep exploring. Keep going.' So I'm pleased about that." In Houston, Sam Khan Jr. notes a "championship game between the winners of each league would be organized with the hope of earning" a BCS berth (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/12).