In spite of its name, the Big 12 Conference is sticking with 10 teams, and for now, any discussion of expansion is effectively dead.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Board of Directors Chairman Dave Boren announced Monday that not only will the conference not expand, but expansion has been removed as an active agenda item for the foreseeable future.
Despite reports, Boren said there was never a vote or any discussion involving individual schools. According to Boren, the board voted unanimously not to expand, which eliminated the need for votes on individual schools.
“We don’t feel a sense of urgency to expand just for expansion’s sake,” Boren said. “Bigger is not always better.”
Several of the schools considered possible candidates for expansion released statements during the press conference:
So does this mean the Big 12 will never get bigger?
No. Both Boren and Bowlsby confirmed that while expansion has been removed as an active agenda item for now, that doesn’t mean it will never happen.
“Never say never,” Boren said.
So, while it’s out of the question right now, I guess it might still happen eventually? Sigh.
What about the idea of a conference network?
Boren said the prospect of a conference-wide network has been eliminated as well, because “the market made the decision for us.”
He said that once the current grant of rights agreement ends in 2025, the Big 12 will explore the possibility of a new use for its Tier 3 rights, including the possibility of a network. But it’s off the table for right now.
Speaking of the grant of rights...
According to Bowlsby, an extension of the grant of rights was not discussed. So while the two conference officials filled the air in Dallas with the usual platitudes on conference unity and holding hands and being good buddies and whatnot, no actual action was taken to display that commitment on paper. For all intents and purposes, the stability of the conference is in the same place as it was before the meeting.
What about the conference championship game?
It’s still happening in 2017, but that’s all we know.
Boren did say that conference athletic directors will now start to work out the mechanics, but no further details were announced on how championship game participants would be determined. Boren indicated that the athletic directors would give updates on the process of determining a system as soon as they are available, whatever that means.
At this point, we also have no idea where the championship game will be held. But, in the the middle of the parade of empty statements, Bowlsby indicated that there has been some discussion on that front.
Looks like nothing was accomplished. So this was all pretty much a gigantic waste of time?