Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

What Will the Big 12 Do on Expansion Issue?

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

What Will the Big 12 Do on Expansion Issue?

Article excerpt

The Big 12 board of directors meets Monday in Dallas and the topic of expansion will be addressed. Not necessarily decided, but definitely addressed.

Maybe after three months of vetting, analyzing and interviewing potential new members the presidents and chancellors will decide the Big 12 Conference should add schools. Maybe they will even decide which schools to add.

Or maybe they will decide 10 members are enough for the smallest Power Five conference and stick with what they have.

Or maybe they will decide not to decide and keep college football's never-ending story going.

It is impossible to know which way this will go, but news reports from Big 12 country over the last month suggest the conference has cooled on the idea of expansion.

The only public statements that provide a hint at which way the Big 12 is leaning have come from Oklahoma President David Boren, who once called the conference "psychologically disadvantaged by having only 10 members.

First, Boren said expansion should not be considered a given. Then, responding to reports citing unidentified sources that he had changed his position, Boren released a noncommittal statement in late September.

"I do not know where the speculation came from, but Oklahoma has not yet taken a position on expansion, he said.

Consultants have provided data to conference leaders showing expansion could increase the Big 12's chances of reaching the playoff and the bottom lines of its members.

The Big 12's television contracts with ESPN and Fox call for the networks to provide increases to cover the addition of new members. So two new schools would mean an extra $50 million or so each year through 2025.

The new members would, as is standard, receive a partial share of conference revenue for the first three or four seasons in the league. The old members would split the rest.

More money and a better chance to make it to the playoff. So why wouldn't the Big 12 expand?

Big 12 officials held face-to-face interviews with 11 schools during September: Air Force, BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Connecticut, Houston, Rice, South Florida, SMU and Tulane. …

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