Realignment Today: 3:43 p.m. - Neinas conference call set for 5 p.m.; may help uncover Mizzou's motives
3:43 p.m. Update:
The Big 12 has announced that interim commissioner Chuck Neinas will host a conference call at 5 p.m. CST tonight.
I'll be on it and I'll be tracking all of the action. Probably will be a lot easier to do via Twitter, at least live, and then I'll come back here with a recap.
If you'd like to catch the live Tweets, come follow me: https://twitter.com/#!/mctait
The announcement did not specify what the purpose of the call would be, however, it's most likely the easiest way to accommodate the large number of requests for interviews with Neinas.
1:43 p.m. Update:
Chris Level, who covers Texas Tech for Rivals.com reported earlier that Tech president Guy Bailey told him and Aaron Dickens earlier today that Mizzou's Brady Deaton told him that MU did not have an offer from the SEC and would remain in the Big 12.
If this whole charade was a leverage play by Mizzou, this news severely undercut it. It also goes a long way toward stabilizing the league, though there, clearly, remains a lot of work to be done in terms of unifying it.
Speaking of that... One day into his term as interim commissioner of the Big 12, Chuck Neinas already is hard at work. This is the reason the guy was a no-brainer choice for the position. More importantly, he's already alluded to his past relationships with former Big Eight members as giving him a leg up in the task of putting the Big 12 back together again.
Earlier today, Mike DeArmond of the Kansas City Star, who knew Neinas during his days with the Big Eight posted this Q&A with the Big 12's new boss.
As the effort to clear up the confusion Missouri put in place last night continues, one thing has emerged above all else and that's the this is a conference in need of one voice. No more of this several members acting in their own best interest stuff. One voice. One conference. One goal.
10:27 a.m. Update:
As expected, there's been a ton of talk today about where Mizzou stands with the SEC.
I posted this yesterday, but I think it's worth repeating.
Think about the lengths the SEC went to to avoid lawsuits when they were courting Texas A&M. Extensive, right? The SEC wanted the move to be about A&M wanting to leave and basically wouldn't even touch the Aggies until they had "broken up" with the Big 12.
With that in mind, do you think the SEC's going to throw all that out the window and charge hard after Missouri? No way. They won't be willing to deal with lawsuits — which would come — to grab Mizzou if they weren't willing to do it to get A&M. Just doesn't make sense.
Once again, if MU to the SEC is still on the table, there could be plans in the works to make the whole idea seem like Missouri went after the SEC, not the other way around. But either way, with news of a potential offer in place leaking earlier this week, solid material for future lawsuits already is piling up.
More than likely this is about MU making a leverage play. Perhaps to get what it wants in all of this and perhaps to further put the pressure on Texas to give in. Not sure the second part of that will work — I think Texas believes the Big 12 could and would live without MU — but I can see where the Tigers are coming from if that's the case.
If not, they're just wasting everybody's time, including their own.
On the phones and looking for links. Stay tuned...
9:26 a.m. Update:
Around 6 p.m. Thursday, everything seemed to be in great shape with the Big 12. Well, great in comparison to what it's looked like for the past few weeks.
The realignment mess seemed to be settled, commissioner Dan Beebe was on his way out and it looked as if the nine remaining members were ready to move forward with a lot of hugs, handshakes and happiness.
But then officials from Missouri spoke and threw a wrench into everyone's plans.
Instead of taking the opportunity to hammer home the point that the Big 12 was strong, MU chancellor Brady Deaton added even more uncertainty. By not pledging strong, long-term commitment to the league, Deaton left the door open for the Tigers to move to another conference — someday — and left a lot of people upset at the same time.
The league has worked too hard for it to come to this, even if it does seem fitting. I realize things aren't perfect and that the league has a lot of work to do before it can even begin to regain the respectability and trust of those who follow it and work with it. But that will happen. And it would've happened a lot faster had Missouri pulled all of its limbs inside the train and let the door close.
They didn't. Here's why. Sure the Tigers still have interest in leaving if the Big 12 can't get its act together. But all signs point to that being the goal. For Mizzou to pose as another obstacle to that happening is just downright selfish.
And, really, that's what we're talking about here. The Tigers are the one remaining team with a little bit of leverage right now. And instead of tossing that aside and rejoining its brothers, MU jumped at the chance to be the big dog for a day. Congratulations. Won't last. And it will only end up hurting you in the end.
Depending on your point of view, the Big 12 is in a number of different states right now. It's either time to celebrate, time to exhale or time to tighten up and prepare for the next round of fighting. Sounds about right, doesn't it?
From where I sit, this is just another bump in the road for a conference that seems to have become more comfortable when surrounded by dysfunction than triumph. We'll see.
All I know is that it's time for this league to stop embarrassing itself and everyone associated with it.
Here's the latest on Mizzou, from The Kansas City Star's Mike DeArmond, who covers the Tigers: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/09/22/3161236/sec-still-in-missouris-sights.html
And here are a couple of good recaps of Thursday's ridiculous day, one from Pete Thamel of The New York Times and another from SI.com's Andy Staples.
And, for those who might have missed it, here's the joint statement released by KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and AD Sheahon Zenger a little before 10 p.m. last night.
“Tonight, nine members of the Big 12 Conference affirmed their solidarity and agreed to measures that will ensure the stability of the conference moving forward.
“The preservation of the Big 12 has been our primary objective as we worked to uphold the interests of KU, our student-athletes and fans. Tonight’s agreement will enable us to again look at expansion as a way to solidify the conference’s national standing. We look forward to working with interim commissioner Chuck Neinas in that effort.
“We want to thank Jayhawks for their patience as we have worked aggressively toward this outcome. We would have liked to have shared details of the various discussions with you, but it better served our common objective to proceed with the utmost discretion.
“While details remain to be worked out, this agreement points to a bright future for the Big 12 and allows us all to begin to turn our attention back to the accomplishments of our student-athletes in the classroom and on the field of competition.”
More to come throughout the day, I'm sure.