College conference realignment rumors are sweeping the collegiate world lately, with the Big 12 reportedly looking to add two, if not four, schools by the end of the summer. Florida State, Miami, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Notre Dame have all been linked to the Big 12 in recent weeks -- something that seemed like a far cry a year ago.
A year ago, it seemed like the Big 12 was on life support. Nebraska and Colorado were officially gone, while Missouri and Texas A&M were SEC bound. The Big 12's two flagship institutions, Texas and Oklahoma, were rumored to be headed to the PAC-12, a move that would likely have initiated the super-conferences that either strikes excitement or fear into the heart of college athletics fans.
Texas and Oklahoma, though, did not abandon the Big 12. The Big 12 did not die, and it now has something it has lacked in recent history: stability. Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News believes that interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas deserves a lot of the credit. In fact, Gosselin believes that Neinas deserves so much credit that Gosselin contends that Neinas is the sports executive of the year.
That's quite high praise for an interim commissioner, but Gosselin is correct. Neinas picked up the fallen pieces of the Big 12 and put them together -- and put the conference in a position to expand to the southeastern United States. Bob Bowlsby will undoubtedly receive much of the credit if and when the Big 12 expands later this summer, but let's not lose sight of the fact that Neinas helped stabilize a conference that was seemingly self destructing.