Big 'No' From Big 12: Conference Won't Expand, Membership Stays At 10
Oct 21 2016 by Francis Osborne
The SWC died because it couldn't navigate the changing landscape of college football, lost its competitive edge (only two Top Five finishers after 1981) and saw a marquee member (Arkansas) flee for another conference. A fifth former SWC school, Texas A&M, was a founding member of the Big 12, playing there from 1996 until - concerned about the Big 12's stability - it bolted for the SEC after the 2011 season. "Sure, we do", Bowlsby said. "This was an endorsement and reinvestment in the 10 that we had".
The chancellors and presidents of the Big 12 Conference reached a decision Monday in Dallas regarding expansion of their 10-team league.
It's the same conference whose board of directors chairman (Boren)publicly flipped a few times on whether he favored expansion. A University of Texas graduate who had been vocal in his support of Houston's candidacy for membership, Abbott wrote: "The Big 12 owes a lot of people an apology". What happened Monday won't be enough to save the conference in another eight years when its grant of rights expires.
Boren, thinking out loud once again, said the Big 12 needed a TV network of its own (and to expand, and add a conference championship game) and it needed to do all of those things at the same time.
Moving into a Power Five conference for those schools would mean tens of millions of dollars more revenue per year, along with greater exposure and prestige. Despite the ruling, the school will not be deterred from building "champions for life".
UConn President Susan Herbst said it was a good experience to go through the process and get a better understanding of where UConn stands and what is has to offer. A school would need 8 of the 10 schools to say yes to them joining the conference. I'll add the word we were all thinking: yet.
With the expansion debate over, Bowlsby said the league could make a decision as soon as this week on whether it will form divisions to decide which teams will play in the championship game.
The meetings were devoted strictly to discussing the idea of expansion in general, and no specific schools were voted on during the discussions, according to Boren.
If you're surprised that the Big 12 Conference voted thumbs down on expansion, then you obviously have not been paying attention. It was simply a confirmation of the wonderfulness of the Big 12 as already constituted. "I think that shows, without question, that our conference plays at their level and are athletically and academically appropriate to be a Power Five". As for the site of the title game, he said the league got bids from four potential hosts. Plus, the exploration of expansion was not a guarantee that the Big 12 would add members.
"Ten presidents came together in unity and came to the same conclusion", Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Monday.
In June, the conference announced record payouts to members of $30 million each, and expansion talk seemed to fade. The announcement came after Monday's six-hour meeting with the conference's university presidents and the commissioner. Included in those discussions might be a boost for eliminating the pro rata clause in the contract that would have made the Big 12 entitled to additional $25 million shares from TV networks to new members, regardless of whether or not their worth matched the price tag.
A Big 12 Network? Bowlsby was evasive when asked Monday if he expected to receive more from his TV partners for not expanding.