Big 12, Big East start picking up pieces

By Jim Vertuno

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 21 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne earlier this month said the Big 12's revenue-sharing plan lends itself to instability. The Huskers is in its first season as a member of the Big Ten, where each school received $22.6 million this year — about twice as much as Nebraska could have expected if it had stayed in the Big 12.

Texas' Powers said revenue sharing will be subject to discussion in coming days.

"A lot of these issues that you hear (about) whether it's revenue sharing or whatever, we've been working on long before," he said. "We will continue to work on those. I'm not going to prejudge on how those will come out. There are not any preconditions for the conference coming back together.

"We want a stable, workable conference going forward," Powers said.

Once the Aggies leave, the Big 12 will have nine members unless a replacement — or replacements — are found. Only SMU has gone public with its interest in joining the Big 12.

"It's about quality, not quantity," Dodds said. "In my mind, 10 is the perfect conference. You have a clear path to the national championship game without stumbling in a (conference) championship game."

There was still activity around the Big 12 on Wednesday. Oklahoma State's regents gave school Hargis the power to depart the Big 12 if necessary while regents in Kansas reiterated their support for staying in the Big 12. Regents in Missouri are scheduled to meet Thursday.

Hargis said the decision to give him authority over a league change was important even after the Pac-12 was taken off the table as a potential destination because "there are a lot of moving parts here and we may have to make decisions fast." He said his first priority is stabilizing the Big 12.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said he was optimistic that the Big 12 would remain intact, stabilize and add members.

Elsewhere, former Big Eight Commissioner Chuck Neinas, a high-profile consultant for sports leagues and coaches, said he has been working on a partnership with the Mountain West and Conference USA in which they would merge as football playing programs into east and west divisions, spanning four time zones.

East Carolina of Conference USA announced Wednesday that it has applied for membership in the Big East, where members are trying to rebuild after Syracuse and Pittsburgh accepted invitations to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Navy and Air Force are the top choices as football-only members, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the conference does not want to publicly disclose its plans.

Big East Commissioner John Marinatto said Syracuse and Pittsburgh won't be allowed to leave until the 2014-15 academic year and he expects TCU to join in 2012 as agreed.

AP Sports Writers Stephen Hawkins and Ralph Russo, AP Writers Betsy Blaney and John Milburn, and freelance writer Doug Tucker contributed to this report.

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