Big 12 Conference Interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas held a media teleconference on Friday, September 23.
Neinas has over 50 years of experience in the field of intercollegiate athletics, including work with the College Football Association (CFA), Big Eight Conference and NCAA National Office.
Here are the highlights of Neinas' 45-minute teleconference:
Question: What are some of your immediate priorities?
Neinas: "I don't officially start until Oct. 3. We need to define the objectives, figure out the concerns and establish the priorities. I'll meet with the athletic directors next Tuesday and Wednesday. I'll visit each campus and with each president by the end of October. When you make campus visits, you sometimes find out things on campus that you might not find out in a meeting. You gather as much information as you can and then distill it. You let that information help develop a game plan."
Question: Why did you agree to take this job as interim commissioner?
Neinas: Primarily because I have strong affinity toward the conference and a number of the people who are involved with it. I know most of the athletic directors and all the football coaches. If there's anything I can do to be of assistance I wanted to help. I can't help it. The Big Eight was very good to me. Ask Donnie Duncan, DeLoss Dodds. I was in the background helping get the Big 12 formed. If people I know think I can be of assistance, I'm willing to try. They've hired me to be a commissioner and I'll act like a commissioner. If you look at my record, I'm not afraid to make decisions. ... They can always fire me."
Question: Will you visit College Station, what are the chances of keeping Texas A&M, what's your sales pitch to them?
Neinas: "Sure I'll visit Texas A&M. They're a member, arent they? (What are the chances of keeping them in the Big 12?) I’d say the odds would be against it, but sometimes the 100-to-1 shot comes home. I would tell them they belong in the Big 12. It's history. I'm a history major. They're former members of the Southwest Conference. They were born and bred in Texas. I think they're history belongs in the Big 12 Conference. As far as some folks thinking they belong in the Southeastern Conference, everybody has their own opinion."
Question: What about the issue of expansion?
Neinas: "The conference has an expansion committee. ... I'm old fashioned. If you take a look at how conferences were formed, commerce flowed in those areas. Big Eight and Big 12, you have natural resources and agriculture. Big Ten you had the industrial Midwest. The SEC, look at how commerce flowed in that area. Now, it's more related to scheduling opportunities for television and revenue. Conferences used to have their own culture. The ACC had a culture, the Big Ten, the old Big Eight, etc. Now it's amalgamated. The bottom line about Big 12 expansion: I don't know."
Question: What do you see as the futures of Missouri and Texas A&M.
Neinas: "I think the Aggies are probably going to go and Missouri is probably going to stay. The Missouri chancellor told me he has some new curators who want to discuss things. That's where some of the uncertainty might come from. In the end, I think it will be resolved."
Question: How much damage control needs to be done and what issues need to be done?
Neinas: "I'm going to address the issue. Bottom line, we need to polish the image of the conference. Take a look at what's happening on the field. There are some good football teams and we need to focus on that. ... It comes down to one word: trust. You have to have trust between the member schools."
Question: How long will you be on the job and what role will you serve in finding a permanent commissioner?
Neinas: "I am not a candidate in any way shape or form on a permanent basis. I will offer my services to assist in the search. That's what I've been doing for the last dozen years."