For those looking for the Big 12’s membership total to match its name, you’re going to have to wait at least another year. Probably.
In a conference call Tuesday, interim commissioner Chuck Neinas told reporters that the Big 12 will be a 10-team conference in 2012 regardless of what Missouri ultimately decides. Neinas and, presumably, the rest of the conference are operating under the assumption that Missouri, which voted earlier this month to explore its conference options, will be a member of the Big 12 in 2012.
“If Missouri was going to change horses, it wouldn’t be for 2012 anyway,” Neinas said, apparently ignoring the fact that TCU, which will become the Big 12’s 10th member next year, was still slated to be a member of the Big East in 2012 as recently as a week ago.
Neinas added that there’s no timetable the Big 12 has given Mizzou to make a decision on its conference future, although the commissioner hinted that the league would need a decision before the end of the 2011-2012 academic year. That would make sense as the Big 12 would need to plan for beyond 2012 as soon as possible.
As far as future expansion, Neinas said there’s currently no consensus from the current members on staying at 10 schools or getting back to 12.
If 10 schools for the moment is indeed the tack the Big 12 decides to take, and Missouri opts to remain, that would bode well for the immediate future of the Big East. Both Louisville and West Virginia have been mentioned as possibilities for an expanded Big 12; if there’s no expanded Big 12, the Big East could perhaps gain more of a solid footing in the collegiate landscape. Until the next round of conference expansion, of course.