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May 16, 2012Former Florida State linebacker Derrick Brooks, who also happens to be a former trustee at FSU, went on the Tim Brando Show Wednesday and said:
"From our understanding, this is the Big 12 reaching out to us. The Big 12 approached Florida State, not the other way around."
Florida State athletic director Randy Spetman then told reporters Wednesday at the ACC meetings in Amelia Island, Fla., that he didn't know where Brooks got that idea and refused to comment further.
I have talked to sources across the Big 12 today and was told over and over again the Big 12 will not initiate any kind of contact with another school without going through proper protocol.
"We are a process-oriented league," one source close to the situation said.
The credit for that goes to interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas, sources said.
Neinas was Big Eight commissioner from 1971-80. He was executive director of the College Football Association from 1980 to 1997. And he was the founder of Neinas Sports Services, which helps colleges and universities across the country place coaches and athletic directors. (Neinas helped Texas select Mack Brown.)
Sources said Neinas won't tolerate "back-door dealings" when it comes to any possible expansion.
The league's expansion committee would have to convene and go through transparent protocols with another conference before making any contact with an individual school, the sources said.
For Neinas, who has worked with schools in every major conference and has credibility to protect, this protocol is essential, the sources said.
And sources across the Big 12 continue to say there may well be interest in Florida State as a potential expansion target. But those sources say nothing will happen until everyone is in the same room and can have a conversation about it - most likely at the league meetings in Kansas City May 30 or even later in the summer.
A few voices in the league have said there should be no decision on expansion until the picture of what the new BCS, with a potential four-team playoff, becomes clear.
One source in the Big 12 laughed that any decision making about expansion would be made while new commissioner Bob Bowlsby is still the athletic director at Stanford. Bowlsby takes over his new job on June 15, although he will be at the Big 12 meetings.
Sources said Neinas deserves credit for bringing order to a conference that has been anything but orderly the past two years.
Neinas, they said, is the one most responsible for getting the league to reach consensus on a proposed 13-year granting of rights as part of the Big 12's new Tier 1 television package with ABC/ESPN, which should be finalized soon.