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Updated: Big 12 hoping clarity on WVU, expansion coming soon

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UPDATED 8:20 p.m. ET:  In an interview with Lubbock radio station Double-T 104.3 FM, Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas said he did not anticipate the conference expanding beyond 10 teams anytime soon.

“I don’t anticipate there’s going to be a movement off 10,” Neinas said. “It could happen down the road, but we definitely won’t be beyond 10 for 2012-2013 and there is strong feeling within the membership that 10 provides the opportunity for round-robin in football and you play everyone in basketball twice …

“That seems to be appealing to the conference members. To go beyond that will take a lot of research and hard thinking.”

I don’t think it’s any real secret that Texas and Oklahoma wish to keep the Big 12 at 10 members, but take Neinas’ comments for what they’re worth.

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Although West Virginia and the Big East have made several headlines over the past few months with their dueling lawsuits over conference realignment, very little progress seems to have been made — at least on the surface.

Both sides filed motions to dismiss the other’s lawsuit; both motions were denied. WVU’s best chance to leave the Big East and land in the Big 12 by this year remains the non-binding mediation the two have been ordered into by a Providence County Superior Court Judge.

A status conference for that mediation has been set for Feb. 9.

Meanwhile, the Big 12 is schedule-less, yet hopeful, at the hands of WVU’s ongoing legal battle. Per Chris Level of RedRaiderSports.com, the Big 12 is planning to release its football schedule on Feb. 1 because the conference’s contract with its TV partners.

That’s also National Signing Day.

Still, the Big 12 needs WVU on the schedule next year to avoid a financial penalty from some of their media rights partners. Interim commissioner Chuck Neinas has stated over and over that he has received full confidence from WVU that the Mountaineers will be a member by July 1.

Currently, rumors are beginning to swirl that perhaps — maybe — the Big East and WVU have negotiated or are negotiating an exit settlement for the Mountaineers. Keep in mind that’s far from confirmed.

But the Big 12′s future may not be done with West Virginia, either, if/when that finally works out. Brett McMurphy of CBSSports reports today that the Big 12 expansion committee has a meeting today to decide if the conference will go to 11 or 12 teams, or stay at 10.

So, in other words, yes, we’re having this discussion again. Remember, the Big 12 is still very much an unsettled conference.

McMurphy goes on to say that Louisville is the “slam dunk” choice if the Big 12 were to go to 11 — the Cardinals almost beat out West Virginia a few months ago for that 10th spot — and BYU would be back in the mix if the conference expanded to 12 members.

An interesting tidbit from yesterday’s Big East teleconference was that Navy felt football independence didn’t have a bright future. 

BYU just finished its first season as a football independent, but with conference realignment being as volatile as it is, and with conferences now beginning to pair up for non-conference matchups, perhaps Navy is right.

To be clear, though, the overall feeling is that the Big 12 is still divided on expansion.

For their sake, hopefully some clarity is coming in the next few weeks.

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19 Responses to “Updated: Big 12 hoping clarity on WVU, expansion coming soon”
  1. woebegong says: Jan 25, 2012 2:43 PM

    If the big East can drag it out a while longer, WVU will have to at least play the east schedule because the Big 8 will not have time to rearrange theirs to accommodate WVU. I guess for them, it is sort of like winning by doing nothing.

  2. LogicalConsideration says: Jan 25, 2012 2:45 PM

    With any luck, maybe more realignment tidbits will continue daily for another week or so. On the one hand, realignment talk was annoying when it was in the middle of the season. On the other hand, now it can serve the purpose of delaying the inevitable over-hyping of the Superbowl.

  3. lemmam says: Jan 25, 2012 3:25 PM

    the big xii should not have to worry about tv money, they have the longhorn network

  4. harleyspoon says: Jan 25, 2012 3:37 PM

    Woebegong, who is the Big 8?

  5. wvuandsteelers says: Jan 25, 2012 3:40 PM

    I certainly hope WVU can make the move this upcoming season. Louisville and BYU would be good additions since Boise St seems to be off the radar.

    If there are any ND fans reading, any chance at all you join a conference? The last indy teams would be Army, ND and BYU. My guess is Army goes MAC.

  6. bigdjc says: Jan 25, 2012 3:43 PM

    Solution – Invite BYU and Louisville immediately. BYU can join right away and play next season since they are an independent. IF there is a problem that persists with WVU and Louisville getting out of the big east due to the 27 month waiting period then at least you are at 10 for 2 seasons and then you are at 12 once wvu and louisville can get free of the Big East. If there is no problem leaving the big east for this upcoming season then you are at 12 right away.
    Problem Solved.

  7. hipnix says: Jan 25, 2012 4:34 PM

    Wrong about BYU. Joining now would cause them to have to break contracts for games with 11 other teams, not just your typical 2 or 3 non-conference games. That could get expensive.

  8. phillyb6 says: Jan 25, 2012 5:03 PM

    And what if byu says no? Wasn’t there something about their TV demands?

  9. woebegong says: Jan 25, 2012 5:48 PM

    It is the big 12 when you are typing and trying to answer the phone at the same time. I kinda have to hunt and peck, so anything is possible, when holding a phone, and pecking with one finger.

  10. harleyspoon says: Jan 25, 2012 5:55 PM

    woebegong…I do really understand…I’m not a secretary either…

  11. wvucolumbus says: Jan 25, 2012 5:58 PM

    Rumor has it:

    East:
    WVU
    Louisville
    Clemson
    Florida St
    Notre Dame
    Iowa St
    TCU

    West:
    UT
    OU
    OSU
    Texas Tech
    Baylor
    Kansas
    K-State

    People are going to be shocked at who the Big XII is approaching. They are attempting to add significant stability to their conference and NBC/Comcast is behind a portion of this.

  12. woebegong says: Jan 25, 2012 5:59 PM

    You and Me both Harley. At one time I was suppose to be required to type 50 words a minute on a communication device, in the service, but soon, the big guys figured out, it would just be easier to say I could and let me supervise. Worked out great for me.

  13. harleyspoon says: Jan 25, 2012 7:02 PM

    wvucolumbus, where did you hear such a rumor? I would be very happy if that is how it panned out…However, I have serious doubts that Clemson and Florida State would leave the ACC….This is a much better fit for Notre Dame than the Big East, Big 10 or ACC. I see Notre Dame as a problem in that scenario but it would keep Notre Dame’s national image in place. Nevertheless, I like the direction of your thinking….Push it!!

  14. thefiesty1 says: Jan 25, 2012 9:28 PM

    Just go back to 12 now. With WVA in the north (replacing Missouri) and let the Big East take a flying leap with their idiotic lawsuits and mediation.

    Have a championship and split ALL the money among the 12 members. Everybody wins.

    Whoever is still pining for ND, give it up. Speculation on that is like beaten a dead horse.

  15. harleyspoon says: Jan 25, 2012 9:54 PM

    thefiesty1, with WV, there won’t be 12, there will be 10…Texas, Baylor, OU, OSU, Iowa, TCU, Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Tech, West Virginia…That adds up to 10, feisty…..You add Louisville, Clemson and Florida State and that adds up to 13…not 12…

  16. thefiesty1 says: Jan 25, 2012 10:41 PM

    @harveyspoon…

    Add Louisville and BYU with WVA and they’re back to 12. Where are all these ND, Clemson and Florida State coming from? Just some teams someone picked out of the blue? Why not Wisconsin and Iowa instead? Just as far fetched.

  17. harleyspoon says: Jan 25, 2012 10:59 PM

    thefeisty1, ND, Clemson and FSU were the subject of wvucolumbus’ suggestion that there was a RUMOR that NBC was working with the Big 12 to have the following divisions:

    wvucolumbus says: Jan 25, 2012 5:58 PM

    “Rumor has it:

    East:
    WVU
    Louisville
    Clemson
    Florida St
    Notre Dame
    Iowa St
    TCU

    West:
    UT
    OU
    OSU
    Texas Tech
    Baylor
    Kansas
    K-State

    People are going to be shocked at who the Big XII is approaching. They are attempting to add significant stability to their conference and NBC/Comcast is behind a portion of this.”

    We were just making conversation and then you, thefeisty1, had to get all horses assy and start making personal aspersions…I am capable of getting “horses assy” too…if that’s the way you want it!

  18. norcalirish says: Jan 26, 2012 9:05 AM

    wvuandsteelers, most alums I know (myself included) are EXTREMELY against ND joining a conference. Being independent allows us incredible flexibility—for instance: ND will play Miami (in Chicago), Oklahoma (in Norman) and Navy (in Dublin, Ireland)….all NEXT YEAR (in addition to our normal dates with usc and michigan, etc).

    IF we have to join (read: apocalypse) I can only see us going to the Big10. It’s culture is most in line with ours, its tops in academics and it’s the winningest conference, all if memory serves.

  19. harleyspoon says: Jan 26, 2012 10:47 AM

    WVUANDSTEELERS, You have a point for now…but the time will come when there will be a true play-off system 4 or 6 or 8 (hopefully 8) conferences (to accommodate population growth & emerging programs across the nation) with 12 or 14 or 16 teams each and the only way a team can get into the championship round will be via that play-off system. At that point, Notre Dame will have to be in a conference if it wants to ever be a national champion again. I am a Notre Dame, Stanford and Baylor fan.

    As for Notre Dame and the Big10, if Notre Dame joined the Bg10, it would forever be bogged down in the Big10 “culture” and its recruiting base would then become narrowed down significantly. That is why Notre Dame should join a nationally oriented power conference. The time will come when it will be necessary to be in a conference to contend for a true national championship rather than a “mythical” national championship!

    The Big East is a long way from becoming a national power conference (that it not to say it can’t or won’t happen) while the (a) PAC is too far West and all West, (b) the SEC is all South, (3) the Big10 is all North and (4) the ACC is all East Coastal…

    The BIGXII is only power conference that would maintain and enhance Notre Dame’s national footprint would be a “middle of the nation” conference with:

    (1) an arm in the SOUTH/EAST COAST (as suggested–Florida State & Clemson or a team in the SE/East Coastal, say one of the emerging programs),

    (2) a strong arm in the SOUTHWEST (Texas, TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State),

    (3) a leg in the NORTHEAST/MID-SOUTH (West Virginia and/or Louisville)…

    (4) and if BYU or Boise State joined the BIGXII, the BIGXII & Notre Dame would have a leg in the WEST COAST/MOUNTAIN WEST and

    (5) by virtue of Notre Dame’s location (along with Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State), Notre Dame would have an ultra-powerful face in the MIDWEST!

    IN THE ABOVE SCENARIO, NOTRE DAME WOULD STILL BE THE ONLY TRUE NATIONAL PROGRAM WITH A CAPACITY TO RECRUIT NATIONALLY!

    Because of what we saw with the record low viewership of the Alabama-LSU game for the 2012 National Championship, change is on the way for many obvious reasons.

    There will be a play-off system sooner than later. Notre Dame cannot forever remain “the sacred cow” of college football as one of 2 or 3 Independents.

    Again, I am a Notre Dame fan but I am also a fan of a rational system as opposed to the sham system we have now of picking national champions. It is not a viable option to continue to leave it up to sportswriters (many of whom have never played or coached a down of college football) and coaches–who don’t have time to analyze team by team what is actually going on in the whole of college football and/or who have an agenda based on loyalty to one region or one conference or what is the best interest of their school–as the Boise State coach indicated when he criticized the system we now painfully endure!

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