Conference realignment is always a tricky subject. Unless news is broken by the institutions involved, any rumors up until that point should typically be considered unsubstantiated*. The reason is that conference realignment dealings are kept in secret not only behind closed but locked doors. It’s a game of poker with millions of dollars and thousands of lives affected by a potential move or non-move. Any dealings have to be exchanged extremely carefully and news released only when a hard agreement is in place.
*That of course doesn’t stop the Tuxedo Yodas, Greg Swaims, and Dudes of WV from throwing as much crap at the wall as possible and hoping it sticks.
So for good reason I was intrigued when I read the following tweet from a recruit one of Cincinnati’s coaches just visited.
I met coach Clinkscales at Cincinnati. Them bearcats going to the big 12 next year
— Terrell Clinkscales (@TerrellClink92) November 2, 2013
11.2.2013 UPDATE: Clinkscales has since deleted the tweet. Luckily I had the foresight to take a snap shot of it:
It’s one thing when a bunch of people with unnamed sources start spewing conference realignment rumors, it’s quite another thing to hear that Cincinnati’s coaches might be telling recruits they’ll be invited to the Big 12 within the next year.
If you don’t know who Terrell Clinkscales is, he’s arguably the top JUCO defensive tackle in the class of 2014. He’s been offered by just about everyone; Auburn, Georgia, Miami, and Arizona State to name a few. Tuberville and his crew know that they are at a competitive disadvantage being in the American Athletic Conference and going up against those teams in the SEC, ACC, and Pac-12 on the recruiting trail. The way to level the playing field is to tell highly rated recruits like Clinkscales that they, too, will be playing in a high profile conference like the Big 12 sooner rather than later.
Now, we don’t know if Steve Clinkscale is telling the DT recruit the truth and he has inside information on Cincinnati’s future or if this is just the typical embellishment coaches use to get a prospect’s attention. Also, we can’t say that Terrell Clinkscales even heard that from the UC defensive back coach himself or if he just put two unrelated statements in the same tweet.
For obvious reasons this doesn’t necessarily mean that Cincinnati is Big 12 bound. It also doesn’t mean that there aren’t plans in the works to invite the Bearcats. At the end of the day this tweet means nothing but is very, very interesting nonetheless.