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Big 12 can officially have a conference championship without expanding, if it wants

Bad news for those hoping other conferences would force the Big 12 to expand.

In 2015, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could've had a rematch one week later for the Big 12 title.
In 2015, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could've had a rematch one week later for the Big 12 title.
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Monday, SB Nation reported that the Big Ten was likely to alter its proposal to allow conferences with fewer than 12 schools to hold championship games, so long as those conferences play round robin schedules.

Representatives from every FBS conference met Wednesday, and the Big 12 has reached a compromise that will allow it to hold a championship game without adding schools.

The new ruling, via the Big 12:

One conference championship football game conducted in either of the following ways:

i)                 A game between division champions of a member conference that is divided into two divisions (as equally balanced as possible), each of which conducts round-robin, regular-season competition among the members of that division; or,

ii)                A game between the top two teams in the conference standings following a full round-robin regular-season schedule of competition among all members of the conference."

So who was proposing what?

The Big 12 and ACC had proposed that conference championships should be deregulated, which would allow any conference to hold a title game. That came after the Big 12 missed the first Playoff due in part to its teams playing one fewer game than other conference champions did, though it can be argued the Big 12's lack of a title game helped Oklahoma get into 2015's Playoff.

The Big Ten countered that conferences should be required to split into divisions, something the Big 12 did not want to do. Many reported that if the Big 12 was required to have 12 teams or hold divisions to get to a championship game, the conference would expand.

How'd the vote turn out?

The ACC, which wanted full conference championship game deregulation (perhaps to do something like break into three divisions), voted against the legislation.

Now what?

Such a decision is bad news for fans of programs hoping for a Big 12 invite, like BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UConn, but it doesn't necessarily rule out expansion.

"It is too early to speculate on the impact this will have with our member institutions regarding a football championship game," said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. "This vote does not automatically mean the Big 12 will implement a football championship game."

The conference thinks it could generate $25 million to $30 million in revenue, though.

The compromise will allow the Big 12 to hold a championship game as long as it's between the top two teams in the conference.

The conference could still decide not to hold a championship game, which might be wise, based on its history during the BCS era.