Neinas says Big 12 has no immediate plans to expand

Saturday, November 5, 2011 | 9:27 p.m. CDT

NORMAN, Okla. — Interim Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas said Saturday the conference has no plans to expand further before next season, though that doesn't mean a move back to 12 teams couldn't happen eventually.

Leaders of the conference's schools have been divided over whether the league is best with 10 schools, where it settled after losing Nebraska and Colorado before this season, or finding a way to expand back to 12.

With Texas A&M and possibly Missouri headed to the Southeastern Conference, the Big 12 has added West Virginia and Texas Christian University this year in an attempt to stabilize.

"We've got to get our house in order. We're pretty good with 10 or, if Missouri stays, 11," Neinas said Saturday after helping with the unveiling of a statue of former Sooners coach Barry Switzer across the street from Oklahoma's Owen Field.

"We'll be very strong and solidified, and then once you get that, you do your homework first and everything else takes care of itself."

Neinas said the Big 12 expansion committee hasn't met since deciding last week to add West Virginia instead of Big East rival Louisville.

"The expansion committee will continue to look at the landscape of college athletics and at some point will make a determination what they feel is the best size for the conference," Neinas said.

Neinas refused to comment extensively on the status of Missouri, which the Big 12 left off its list of 10 teams expected to compete in the conference next season when it added West Virginia. The SEC also inadvertently posted on its website last week that Missouri had been admitted to the league, then had to step back from that premature announcement.

"We would anticipate that might happen, but ... it's a work in progress," Neinas said when asked about the Tigers being left off the list of Big 12 teams for next season.

When asked about a time frame for Missouri's decision to stay or go, Neinas said: "Selfishly, I hope sooner rather than later."

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive in Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the game between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama, declined comment on Missouri.

"That's for another day," he said.

Neinas also said the Big 12 is considering whether it could create a network in collaboration of the schools other than Texas and Oklahoma. Texas already has its own Longhorn Network, and Oklahoma is planning one of its own.

"That would be basically a network that could serve the members that don't have their own institutional-branded networks. We would have a nice inventory to put together, and we're exploring that," Neinas said.

Neinas said the league is not contractually allowed to call its channel the Big 12 Network but it could find another name for it. It's also unclear what, if any, content related to Texas and Oklahoma could appear on the channel.

"We're not that far along," Neinas said. "We're just getting started to see if we can. We've got to work on a format, a business plan, all of that first."

Neinas also said Texas Tech was considered a logical fit to replace Texas A&M as the annual Thanksgiving opponent for Texas but "that has not been finalized."

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Ellis Smith November 6, 2011 | 5:58 a.m.

Big 12 has no plans to expand.

You don't find many patients, hospitalized in the ICU and on life support apparatus, who plan to jump up and run a 10K race. :)

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 6, 2011 | 10:37 a.m.

Ellis - Wanted to add to your Pascagoula comment, but only thing that would come was, the French must have screwed that word up so badly, no one could change it's pronunciation.

Were you aware of the gambling scandal surrounding Biloxi and Keesler AFB before 1950? I arrived there in '51 to attend radio school at Keesler. I believe Keesler and Biloxi had about the same population, 25,000. MS was a dry state, but alcohol and gambling had both become prevalent along the Gulf coast. The say there were slot machines in the barber shops and about everywhere else they could find a flat place to put one. The Senate, Kefauver crime commission had gotten hold of the situation and the effect on G.I.s like me. Hearings were held primarily due to the efforts of a popular radio news announcer (name escapes me and can't find anything about it here)whose son died of food poisoning on the Base. The Commission recommended the AF tell Keesler commandant Maj. Gen. James Powell to put every place that had slot machines "off limits" to his men. Powell lamented "if every place with a slot machine were to be off limits,his men would have no place to go, not even the bus stop" the bus stop for shuttle, Biloxi to the Base had a slot which the owner had testified, earned him over $10,000 per year.

They did get rid of the slots before I got there, but rules on the base were so strict we thought we were still in basic training. I got some of these particulars from a newspaper account online.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 6, 2011 | 3:46 p.m.

Before the 1960s the closest I had been to the "South" was Rolla, Missouri, some locations in Oklahoma, and Austin and Sherman, Texas. I have been advised that "Sherman," as in Sherman, Texas, was NOT named for General Sherman :)

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