posted on October 11, 2011 12:33
Give Chuck Neinas this: The man is consistent.
On yet another conference call (it seems we have more of these than football games these days), the Big 12’s interim commissioner said that he views the addition of Texas Christian as a solidifying move for the league. He, and others, have also said that the Big 12 simply is awaiting Missouri’s decision on whether to remain in the Big 12 or withdraw—and presumably apply to the Southeastern Conference.
Neinas’ strongest statement on Tuesday was that the Tigers would be Big 12 members for the 2012-13 season.
"If Missouri were going to change horses, it wouldn't be for 2012, anyway," Neinas said.
Presumably, that is because he believes it is too late in the year for the Tigers to be in the SEC for next football season. But TCU was just added to the Big 12 Monday night. Is midnight on October 10th some sort of a magical deadline?
With the threat of litigation likely out the window from remaining Big 12 schools (TCU’s addition signals the Big 12 will move on with or without Mizzou. Plus, how can a conference that just poached a member of the Big East and is set to move on more, sue a team for leaving or another conference for accepting an application?) the discussion now seems to be about what type of financial penalties Mizzou would owe if it were to withdraw from the Big 12. The Associated Press published a story on Monday afternoon citing an internal document that it obtained from a source at Missouri “not authorized to speak publicly” on realignment.
According to league bylaws, leaving with more than six months notice would put MU at risk of forfeiting $25.9 million. With two years notice, it would drop to $10.4 million.
The date by which that notice would have to be submitted has been reported as December 1, 2011, which still remains nearly two months away.
The Southeastern Conference has been up front about its willingness to move forward with 13 teams after the addition of Texas A&M. Sources have said that the SEC would be willing to play with a baker’s dozen for a year or two, but not long-term. So, would the Tigers withdraw from the Big 12, but offer to stick around through the 2012-13 year? That would, presumably, cut the withholding of revenue in half.
When Colorado left the Big 12 for the PAC-12 last summer, the Buffs gave two years notice. But a settlement was negotiated allowing CU to leave after just one year. The bottom line is this: No league wants a lame-duck team which has made it known it wants out. So if the Tigers offer up two years, could they settle on one and pay a lesser penalty?
The answer to that question—and many others—remain unknown. What is becoming clear is this: This round of realignment is reaching the end game. The Big 12 can’t wait. Missouri can’t really wait. The SEC can, but will it?
It has been a week since Chancellor Brady Deaton received authority to explore Mizzou’s conference options. At that time, Deaton would not speculate on a timetable for a final decision. But it seems clear that decision will have to be made relatively soon.
Gabe DeArmond is the publisher of PowerMizzou.com, the Missouri site on the Rivals.com network.