5:50 p.m. Update:
More signs starting to roll in that the Big 12 is prepared to stay at 10, whenever it gets there. Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino gave his thoughts on the ongoing realignment saga.
Pitino, who firmly is against the idea of the Big East's demise, said he had no idea which university would be the Big 12's 10th but added that West Virginia heading to the Big 12 was not yet 100 percent certain.
Here's the link. Pitino has a small role in all of this, but it's interesting to follow, nonetheless. You never know the motives a coach has for saying what he says. Take a look.
4:38 p.m. Update:
Evidently, McConnell's efforts here reached all the way to Kansas.
According to a Tweet posted on Tuesday morning from @kcchamberGOV, McConnell reached out to a U.S. senator from Kansas, Jerry Moran, and asked him to lobby KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to talk to the Big 12 about admitting Louisville.
The Tweet (link above) attributes the information to Moran, who was hosted by the Greater KC Chamber on Tuesday.
4:09 p.m. Update:
I said a while ago that the longer this thing drags on, the more crazy it becomes. It looks as if that's accurate.
Reports are now surfacing that West Virginia senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin have weighed in on realignment and are calling for senate investigations if any type of tampering is responsible for the hold up. Wow.
Here are the quotes, which come in reaction to reports that Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell may have been involved in blocking WVU's move to the Big 12 so that his alma mater, Louisville, would still have a shot to make its way to the Midwest.
First, from Rockefeller:
"The Big 12 picked WVU on the strength of its program — period. Now the media reports that political games may upend that. That’s just flat wrong. I am doing and will do whatever it takes to get us back to the merits.”
And, this from Manchin:
"If these outrageous reports have any merit – and especially if a United States Senator has done anything inappropriate or unethical to interfere with a decision that the Big 12 had already made – then I believe that there should be an investigation in the U.S. Senate, and I will fight to get the truth. West Virginians and the American people deserve to know exactly what is going on and whether politics is interfering with our college sports."
As much as involvement from U.S. senators makes you think this thing's getting serious, it's actually quite the opposite as the whole thing looks like more of a joke than ever. Wow.
For more on the McConnell involvement, check out the following links:
3:03 p.m. Update:
With Big 12 expansion now delayed, let's jump back in to where we were before the whole West Virginia to the Big 12 talk started.
A couple of things, real quick. I've noticed that people out there are blasting many members of the Big 12 media for messing this up. It's important for people to remember that this story — realignment — is unlike any story ever covered. It's fluid, it changes often, sometimes every hour, and things that are correct and real one minute can be completely off base a few hours later. Unfortunately, that's just the way it is with this mess. We'll get there, though.
OK, moving on.
One thing I stumbled upon a few minutes ago that I thought was very interesting was a Tweet from Chuck Carlton, of the Dallas Morning News that says MU chancellor Brady Deaton will be traveling to India on Tuesday to speak at a conference on radiopharmaceuticals. At the risk of looking like Captain Obvious, I'm guessing that the Mizzou portion of all this will be wrapped up before then.
Then again, that may not be possible.
With WVU and Louisville fighting to become the 10th member of the Big 12, many people are wondering why the league can't or won't just add them both. It's a good question. But sources tell me that Missouri's uncertainty, along with the fact that the rest of the field yields no attractive candidates have the league reluctant to move beyond 10.
If.... Big IF here.... the Tigers somehow have a change of heart or are rejected at the last minute, the league could look at bringing Mizzou back and adding WVU and Louisville to get to 12. I could see that happening. But that's only if the Tigers shun or are shunned by the SEC, which is harder to see happening.
What about BYU, you ask? Here's an interesting take from BYU's football coach that sheds some light on why the Cougars might not be a good candidate.
It's believed that the hold up here might be because the Big 12, which reportedly voted to accept WVU on Monday, is now split on adding Louisville or WVU.
Although it's not up to him, Texas Tech football coach Tommy Tuberville had some interesting things to say about why Louisville's the more attractive option.
Still trying to talk to some people to find out exactly where we're at and where we're headed.
2:04 p.m. Update:
The more this goes on, the crazier it gets. How crazy? According to Brett McMurphy, of CBSsports.com, the Big 12 had a press release ready to go to announce West Virginia as its newest member.
I'll be back quickly with another update on all angles.
12:28 p.m. Update:
Well, leave it to conference realignment to show us one thing: Things are not always what they seem to be.
Tuesday, the talk throughout the college sports world was that, with Missouri leaving the Big 12 — which is still happening, by the way — West Virginia would join TCU as the newest member of the league.
There remained plenty of details to be worked out, such as when they would join, how much they'd have to pay the Big East to leave and what the Big 12 would do next, but it seemed certain that the folks from Morgantown, WV, were Big 12 bound.
Today, according to multiple reports, the move is on hold as the Big 12 seeks more information on West Virginia and Louisville (remember them?) makes another play to slide into the Big 12's 10th spot.
Pete Thamel, of The New York Times, wrote today that the whole thing is in a holding pattern and that it's a 50-50 deal between WVU and Louisville.
Many have asked why the Big 12 can't just add both and I think that would be an option if there were a solid 12th team out there. Right now, with BYU looking less likely and teams like Cincinnati, South Florida, Boise State and others looking less appealing, it just doesn't seem like going to 11 and then being stuck is something the Big 12 wants to explore. Beyond that, UT and OU have made it very clear that they would like the league to stay at 10. If there were a no-brainer 12th and the league could add Louisville, WVU and, say, Notre Dame, then I think OU and UT could get over it. But moving away from their ideal number just to add Cincinnati does not appear to be a concession they're willing to make.
So now we wait. At this rate, it seems likely that Missouri will make its intentions official before the Big 12 does.
But, hey, doesn't that seem about right?