Momentum is building this morning toward the anticipated removal of Dan Beebe as the Big 12 commissioner amid a wave of proposed changes under consideration in efforts to bring stability to the league.
In an interview this morning with CBSSports.com, Neinas said he “responded in the affirmative” and sent a resume to league officials when asked by Big 12 administrators if he had interest in replacing Beebe on an interim basis. Neinas also told the website that his employment is an agenda item during today’s conference call with Big 12 presidents.
The Associated Press also reached Neinas this morning and he confirmed the same facts in the AP report.
Multiple Big 12 sources have confirmed that today’s teleconference will address a multitude of items in regard to the league’s future, from Beebe’s employment status to adoption of equal revenue-sharing from all league-wide TV contracts to solicitation of stronger commitments to the league from existing members in an effort to curb future defections.
One proposal is expected to be a formal grant-of-rights agreement for a specified period _ perhaps five years, perhaps through the duration of the league’s upcoming, 13-year deal with Fox Sports _ that would require schools to sign over their ABC/ESPN and Fox cable television rights to the conference. If a school left the conference during the specified stretch, that school’s TV rights would remain with the Big 12, making that school unavailable for telecasts in its new league.
Other leagues, notably the Pac-12 and Big Ten, have such agreements in place.
Missouri officials have called a 6:45 p.m. news conference tonight in Columbia, Mo. to “update media on the Big 12 conference and Missouri athletics.” Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton is the chairman of the Big 12 board of directors.
Neinas, a former Big Eight commissioner (1971-80), could be a bonding agent in a league that needs one as it tries to rebuild from a nine-team nucleus, without Texas A&M (once the Aggies move on to the SEC, as expected).
Neinas currently runs Neinas Sports Services, a consulting firm, and has worked with seven of nine league teams planning to remain in the Big 12 in searches for coaches or athletic directors.
He projects as a valuable resource in luring expansion candidates to the league to replace A&M, which received a conditional offer on Sept. 6 to join the Southeastern Conference, pending waivers of legal claims associated with the move by Baylor and other Big 12 schools.
Big 12 administrators have confirmed preliminary talks with Brigham Young, an independent in football, about replacing A&M as the league’s 10th team. Texas men’s athletic director DeLoss Dodds, a member of the league’s expansion committee, said Wednesday that he believed it was the majority opinion of league officials to stick with a 10-member conference model once A&M departs because it minimizes scheduling challenges and offers easier access to the BCS National Championship Game for the league’s football champion with no conference title game to play at the end of the regular season.
Remaining at 10 teams, rather than moving to 12, also would mean more money per school from upcoming negotiations with ABC/ESPN about TV rights in a contract that expires after the 2015-16 school year. Dodds said he thought the ABC/ESPN contract would be addressed “sooner rather than later” and would result in a bump in TV rights for Big 12 schools that would earn league members “up to or beyond” the type of paydays they could receive in any other BCS league.
Dodds said league ADs approved a recommendation during the spring calling for the Big 12 to equally disperse TV revenues from Tier I (ABC/ESPN) and Tier II (Fox cable deal) contracts. But the measure has yet to be adopted by league presidents, which could happen today.
Each school controls is own Tier III rights, which helped Texas created its Longhorn Network, a 20-year, $300 million venture in partnership with ESPN. Oklahoma officials have expressed interest in creating their own school-branded network and are taking steps in that direction, said OU president David Boren.
_ Jimmy Burch