- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 27, 2011

GRAPEVINE, TEXAS (AP) - Big 12 athletic directors discussed ways during their meeting Tuesday to stabilize their league before they can determine if and how much they might expand.

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard, the chairman of the Big 12 ADs, said there were “healthy discussions” about what might happen numbers-wise in the future.

“There’s a lot of possibilities. It could be nine, it could be 10, it could be 12, it could be 16, pick a number,” Pollard said.

“I think what we’re more focused on is doing what we all believe is right for the membership of the Big 12 and the most important piece right now is the solidarity among the nine and finding a way to make sure that we provide that solidarity so that we can be stabilized before we entertain whether that should be nine, 10, 12, 16.”

The regularly scheduled fall meeting of the Big 12 ADs came a day after Texas A&M was formally introduced as the SEC’s 13th member, a move that takes effect for the 2012-13 school year. The Aggies are the third member to leave in the past 15 months.

Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) began play in their new leagues this season.

Newly appointed interim commissioner Chuck Neinas took part in the meeting even though he will not officially take over his new role until next Monday.

Pollard, who spoke on behalf of the league, said there is a process for stabilization. He wouldn’t go into specifics, but said there was a clear consensus among the nine schools on the items discussed.

“Ultimately we have to prove it because there will always be doubters,” he said. “All I can say is the people we were locking arms with in that room feel pretty committed to me. I take people on their word. I’m not worried about it at all.”

Pollard said formal agreements to ensure that stability were “still a work in progress” but insisted “all nine member institutions are fully engaged and committed” to putting those together.

He said everything would have to go through the normal chain of command with decisions made by the league’s board of directors, which is made up of the presidents and chancellors of the member schools.

The athletic directors spent a lot of time talking about ways to provide input to a special four-member committee appointed by the league’s board that is working on initiatives designed to provide solidarity and stability to the Big 12’s future.

That committee will be made up of the presidents or chancellors of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Iowa State.

When the nearly four-hour meeting ended late Tuesday, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds declined comment and referred all questions to Pollard.

“It’s a crazy time,” said Missouri athletic director Mike Alden, who also deferred to Pollard.

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