The Big 12 has narrowed its list of potential expansion candidates to “six to eight” schools, according to a report on TMGcollegesports.com written by former Boston Globe columnist Mark Blaudschun.
In the report, Blaudschun notes “word has it” that invitations have been sent to Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis, UConn, South Florida and Central Florida from the American Athletic Conference, as well as BYU and two other unnamed schools from the AAC.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby declined to comment on the report.
Big 12 commish Bob Bowlsby says, "As you know, we have never commented on who was or was not involved. We are not going to start now."
— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) August 31, 2016
However, East Carolina, one of the 30-plus schools vying for a spot in the Big 12, released a statement Wednesday saying it was out of conference expansion contention and disappointed with the decision.
“While it is obviously not the decision we were hoping for,” ECU athletic director Jeff Compher said. “I am confident ECU put forth its best effort during this process.”
According to the TMGcollegesports.com report, each finalist will make a presentation to Big 12 officials “presumably in Dallas” in the next few weeks. After the presentations, the list will be trimmed to two candidates and then Bowlsby will present the candidates to the Big 12’s board of directors at a scheduled Oct. 17 meeting. At that point, the vote would move on whether to issue invitations to the candidates.
Prospective candidate schools signed nondisclosure contracts and cannot speak about the ongoing process.
The report did note that considerations are underway to invite schools on a football-only basis, which would suit schools such as UConn and BYU. Blaudschun noted UConn could place its other sports in the Big East if an invitation was received.
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