Continued from page 1

He said he believes Missouri will stay and Texas A&M will leave after receiving conditional acceptance to the Southeastern Conference requiring all legal issues be resolved first. But he hasn’t given up hope on keeping all 10 members together.

“I think their history belongs in the Big 12,” Neinas said. “They’re from the Southwest Conference, they’re in the state of Texas. That’s where they were born and bred. That’s where they should stay.”

Beyond his business acumen, Neinas said it’s his job to help mend hurt feelings in a league where he has many long relationships.

“I would like to see the same kind of atmosphere that we had in the Big Eight. It was family,” Neinas said.

After the CFA disbanded, Neinas founded a consulting firm that helped many of the Big 12’s biggest names land their jobs. His search firm helped Texas hire football coach Mack Brown and helped Oklahoma hire both football coach Bob Stoops and athletic director Joe Castiglione.

Neinas also hired current Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds as an assistant commissioner in the Big Eight in 1977.

Steven Hatchell, who was the first Big 12 commissioner when the league was formed in 1996 and is now president of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, has known Neinas since 1971. He called him “ideal for what needs to be done.”

“He’s smart, intuitive and very experienced on these types of things,” Hatchell said.

Former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer said Neinas is respected by everyone and has the skills to bring the biggest and smallest programs in the league in line.

“I see all these games on television every Saturday and I think about this: They wouldn’t be on television if it hadn’t been for us and for Chuck Neinas and Georgia taking on Goliath,” Switzer said.

“When I heard Beebe was leaving, Neinas was the first guy I thought of. He knows every athletic director in the country,” Switzer said. “He’s the one who can rein in Texas, if it can be done. That’s what they’ve got to have.”

The Longhorns have long been viewed by some Big 12 schools as the conference bully. Texas has the largest and wealthiest athletic program in the league and earlier this year signed a 20-year, $300 million contract with ESPN for the recently launched Longhorn Network.

The network has been blamed for helping send Nebraska to the Big Ten and Colorado to the Pac-12, while the Aggies were clearly unhappy with the network as they announced plans to join the SEC.

The network may have even been a key stumbling block as the Pac-12 considered whether to add Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.

Pac-12 and Texas officials met last week, but it became clear Texas would not agree to equal sharing of Longhorn Network revenue, a person with knowledge of the talks said on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.

Story Continues →