Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Not a Good Day for the Big 12 - or WVU

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Not a Good Day for the Big 12 - or WVU

Article excerpt

Halloween is fast approaching.

The Big 12 news out of Dallas on Monday, however, felt more like April Fools' Day. At least, I'd imagine, to the 11 candidates still hoping for an invitation to the Big 12. By all accounts, almost all the league presidents and chancellors quietly left a meeting on the topic of expansion when a decision to stay at 10 schools was reached Monday afternoon. Reports had it that no super majority (a vote of eight of 10 schools) could be mustered for any of the candidates, but Oklahoma president Dave Boren, who kick-started the process, and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Monday night in a press conference that wasn't the case.

When the league's version of a papal conclave ended, the color of the smoke released from the Grand Hyatt DFW Airport was just dark. There are no new members. The Big 12 simply decided against expansion. Simple as that.

No Houston. No BYU. No Cincinnati for WVU fans to visit.

And it was anything but a good look. The conference had a presser set for two-and-a-half hours after news first leaked via Twitter. And in the meantime, shots were being fired.

"The only thing the Big 12 can agree on is that it can't agree on anything, fired Football Scoop writer Zach Barnett.

"If this expansion process was all about removing [the] dysfunctional label from [the] Big 12, don't know if it quite succeeded, wrote Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News.

Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel said, "Now every candidate can feel equally insulted.

Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel added, "Entire Big 12 expansion/non expansion seems to have stemmed from [Oklahoma president] David Boren thinking out loud. Maybe ignore him next time.

Later, while Boren and Bowlsby held the aforementioned press conference, Tillman Fertitta, Chairman of Houston's Board of Regents, first said he was "shocked and then said, "I think you have a bunch of people in that room that couldn't make a decision.

Folks were salty - and understandably so. Lucy, it seemed, pulled the football while Charlie Brown was approaching.

But what actually happened here? Sports Illustrated last Friday reported the Big 12's network partners might be discussing a buyout of the "pro-rata clause with the league that could have required the networks to pay $25 million extra annually per new member. The networks apparently didn't see schools worth that much and told the league to slow its roll.

On Monday, Bowlsby said he wasn't "going to get into specifics about that, but pointed to the league's new football championship as a vehicle for discussions. He mentioned he was in "constant contact with the partners over many issues, possibly even a future third- tier digital platform network.

Yet this wasn't the Big 12's finest hour in any sense. (And the league has had some other doozies. …

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