The Big 12’s expansion drama might be over as early as Monday.
The Big 12 has scheduled a press conference following its board of directors meeting. And while the conference didn’t say what the press conference was about, it’s hard to believe it won’t bring some sort of closure to what has been a sordid three months (18 months) of potential expansion.
Following the first year of the College Football Playoff, the Big 12 was criticized for not having a conference title game and there was speculation that the lack of a true champion is what kept the conference out of the playoff. At the time, the Big 12 had discussions about expansion, but the member schools were divided about it.
Fast forward to this summer and the Big 12 appeared gung-ho about adding at least two new schools to bolster its membership, a potential television deal and increase its chances for playoff inclusivity. The process was mildly ridiculous and very public. Schools from all over the country prepared presentations touting reasons why they should be the Big 12’s next school.
Then, two weeks ago, things seemingly started to fall apart when Sports Illustrated reported that Oklahoma president David Boren was having second thoughts about expansion after leading the charge 18 months ago. Boren — kinda — denied the report and the conference has gone from certainly expanding to maybe expanding to probably not expanding at all.
According to Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News, nothing is set in stone.
“Sources confirmed Wednesday that pretty much all the options are on the table, including the possibility of football-only membership with Houston and BYU the most likely members. The sources also confirmed that expansion has gone from likelihood about six weeks ago to maybe a 1-in-3 chance.”
What will become of the conference if it doesn’t expand? Nothing except public ridicule. Remember, the conference did get a waiver that allows it to play a conference title game with just 10 members, but it probably won’t matter this year with several teams far on the outside looking in.
But there will be more rumors and next one might be about teams, such as Oklahoma, leaving for what they perceive to be greener pastures. There’s no question there’s a lot of dysfunction in the Big 12 and calling off expansion after so vehemently and publicly pursuing it would be a major gaffe in the eyes of the college football world.
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