Chuck Neinas, the interim commissioner of the Big 12, did 20 minutes on a Kansas City radio station on Tuesday afternoon and said not much and quite a bit, covering expansion, realignment, the potential SEC network and West Virginia’s arrival in the B12.
He’s bullish on the Big 12. He basically dodged expansion questions – there’s a blog post out there saying that Florida State and Clemson are looking for a more football-centric league. There is a B12 expansion committee – which met by phone today – but that the committee has been charged at this time merely with keeping up with what is going on.
He said, "There is a comfort among our membership with 10 members." They like the round-robin in football and the double round-robin in basketball. He also said that "(m)ost members are not interested in divisional play."
Nothing major is percolating in terms of BCS league changes. (The words "Notre Dame" did not come up.) He said, "The popular idea that there would be four 16-team conferences, I think you can put that in the closet and lock the door.
"I’ve been checking with my commissioner colleagues…. I don’t think there’s any change among major conferences that’s imminent."
For what it’s worth, he did say there is a gentlemen’s agreement in the SEC regarding approval of a second team from a state already in the league, which could have spurred a phone call from FSU or Clemson.
As for the potential gold mine that a SEC network supposedly might provide, he noted that the Big Ten gets 40 cents per subscriber, not the $1 that the SEC may be projecting. He also pointed out (mentioning the LHN) that network launches are complex and involve negotiating with multiple providers, sometimes in the same area with different results. His implication is that just saying the words "SEC Network" will not cause providers to swoon.
When will he leave? "I’m not planning to stay here forever, but on the other hand I don’t want to leave a job half-done. We don’t have a specific timetable." Speculation is he’ll stay through the end of the school year but there aren’t any candidates for the job yet and he hasn’t been asked to find any.
Regarding the 2012 football schedule, which is due to partners soon, there was no equivocation regarding West Virginia. "They’ve told us time and time again they’ll be here and I trust ‘em," he said. "I’m counting on West Virginia, lock, stock and barrel."