Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas told the Charleston Gazette that he's been assured West Virginia will be able to enter the Big 12 for the 2012 season, and he'll be releasing the league's schedule with West Virginia included by Feb. 1.
That date, by the way, is in six days.
Neinas left commenting on the Big East lawsuit, which seeks to force the Mountaineers to adhere to the 27-month notice required to leave the Big East, to West Virginia, but told the paper he received "continual assurances" that West Virginia would be able to get out in time.
The two sides were set to undergo non-binding mediation, and the hope was that a settlement could be reached.
"We have a schedule with West Virginia. We have a contractual commitment with our television partners that we must release a schedule by Feb. 1 and we will do that," Neinas told the paper. "Aside from our television partners, our schools are anxious to release their schedules and we'll meet the required deadline."
Neinas also had an interesting remark on Mizzou's exit, calling the school's move to the SEC "selfish."
"The one thing that gets lost is we're in this predicament because the SEC invited Missouri," Neinas said. "But the SEC was willing to play with 13 [rather than 14] next season. We made an offer to Missouri that was financially beneficial to stay for another year. Missouri made the decision not to accept.
"We had a teleconference call with those in the SEC, Big East, ACC, Mountain West and Conference USA. We all agreed we could save money and avoid litigation if all held serve for 2012-13. All agreed. But Missouri made a very selfish decision. It's been very disruptive. Missouri gave us notice in November [of 2011] and it's pretty difficult to move forward then."
Very interesting. And new information for sure. Back when Mizzou was mulling its move, Neinas repeatedly said he thought the Tigers would stay. They didn't.
Neinas wasn't done, and called out the Big East for being hypocritical.
"The Big East gets on planes and flies all over the country inviting other schools," Neinas said. "But they raise hell when West Virginia wants to come to the Big 12?"
Valid points there, I'd say, but it's a bit different when one AQ conference takes teams from another AQ conference, something the Big East hasn't done.
Neinas noted that AQ designation for leagues is likely to disappear, but the Big East doesn't look like it wants to gamble on that happening. The league added Houston, SMU, Boise State and San Diego State in recent months, stretching the meaning of "Big East."
Neinas said the Big 12 would consider helping West Virginia with any additional penalties it might have to pay, but the decision would be up to the board of directors.
The new commish is certainly speaking his mind, and I'd say he's right on both accounts, but despite claims of selfishness and hypocrisy, Mizzou and the Big East would certainly defend that by arguing they were looking out for their best interests.
So is the Big 12.
That's a recipe for things to get messy.
And, they have.
Plenty more in the story in the Gazette, including Neinas' thoughts on Big 12 expansion. Check it out.