Did the Big 12’s decision on expansion have some dissension?
The conference has said the move to stay at 10 teams was unanimous among its member schools. According to ESPN, “there were schools that ultimately agreed to go along with the plan when it became obvious the conference would not reach the supermajority to expand.”
The Big 12 even sent out a memo to schools with talking points, including the heavy push that the choice was an easy one. From the memo’s dos and don’ts:
* Indicate the Board arrived at a “Unanimous Consensus”
* The Board was unanimous in its desire and commitment to stay at 10 members
* Refer to the conference as equal to our peer group.
This is at least the second official time that the Big 12 has advocated for unity among its members; the main reason expansion became such an overwhelming topic is because of all the conflicting signals sent out from the conference and its schools.
In February, the Big 12 said all official expansion discussion would come from commissioner Bob Bowlsby and not from any of the 10 university presidents.
The memo also tells schools to promote that the Big 12 has “the most competitive competition model in college sports.” Each football team plays each other during the season and the conference is adding a title game in 2017 — a game that will bring in more revenue for the league.
The “don’t” list says to not publicly say that TV influenced the decision not to expand. Reports emerged earlier in the year that Fox and ESPN weren’t too keen on expansion. It also advocates for schools to not say expansion was “dilutive,” an instruction Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard violated earlier Tuesday. Pollard said in candid radio interview that it wouldn’t enhance the Big 12 if the conference added teams that couldn’t compete.
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