May 29, 2012
Will Big 12 meetings be calm before storm?
Talked to several sources in the Big 12 today, and the league meetings that begin Wednesday in Kansas City will be dominated by the Big 12 formulating a position on the fomat for a proposed four-team playoff in college football.
While I thought there might be news about the league's new, 13-year, Tier 1 TV deal with ABC-ESPN (which includes schools granting their Tier 1 and 2 TV rights back the conference for the next 13 years), I was told today don't look for that news to come down this week.
There will also be lots of talk about the new bowl game featuring the champions of the Big 12 and SEC beginning New Year's night 2015.
It's unclear how many - if any - of the details about where the game should be played, for how long, etc, will be discussed. Most of that will be put in the form of a "request for proposal." But I was told today the RFPs for the new game probably won't be addressed until the fall - after the proposal for a four-team playoff is in place.
And that leads us to any talk of expansion. I was told by two well-placed sources in the Big 12 today that pros and cons of expansion will probably be discussed on a very informal basis. Both sources said nothing will be decided at these meetings in terms of whether the Big 12 will definitely expand or not expand.
I'm told those conversations would not happen until after the college football playoff proposal is concluded. Also remember that TCU and West Virginia don't become full voting members until July 1. Also, new Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby doesn't take office until mid-June - after completing his duties as Stanford's athletic director.
Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas will stay on through June to help Bowlsby's transition. Then, Neinas said he's going on vacation. Both Bowlsby and Neinas will be on hand for the Big 12 meetings.
TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte made things interesting while talking to a group in Lubbock last week when he talked about how the Big 12 was once in trouble, but "now has schools like Florida State, Clemson and Miami trying to get in."
Del Conte later clarified that he was referring to the rumor mill and not confirming anything. While talking with Chris Level, publisher of RedRaiderSports.com, on 104.3 FM in Lubbock, Del Conte echoed a theme being repeated publicly in Big 12 circles: Patience.
"From my standpoint of right now, I want to say, 'Let's take our breath,'" Del Conte said. "We are in a position of strength. Let's not rush into anything. We know expansion has to happen. It may not be for a while. We are in the catbird seat right now. We don't need to rush it. You are excited all of these teams want into the Big 12 and two years ago it was going to disintegrate."
One Big 12 source told Orangebloods.com Tuesday, "I don't sense serious interest in expansion at this time." The question is if that same sentiment will persist when a format for a four-team college football format is finalized.
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