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Here’s what Big 12 members were told not to say about the league’s expansion decision

Here’s what the conference is feeling a little self-conscious about.

NCAA Football: Big 12 Media Day Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s an internal Big 12 memo obtained by ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, who reports the memo instructed league members to describe the conference’s decision to not expand as being unanimous, whether it was or wasn’t.

The memo lists some Dos. Let us focus on the Don’ts.

“Don’t say we are at a competitive disadvantage.”

Having only 10 teams is irrelevant to the Big 12’s College Football Playoff chances. Lacking a 13th game (a conference title game) helped cost the league a Playoff berth in 2014, but helped Oklahoma make the Playoff in 2015. The league is adding a conference title game next year.

Anyway, Big 12 members probably shouldn’t talk about this too much.

“Don’t say revenue determines strength.”

“If cash ain’t king, it’s damn sure the incentive,” Anderson Paak said.

Money helps build stuff that recruits like and retain coaches whom recruits like. Recruits become players who win games.

Anyway, yeah, Big 12 members shouldn’t try to compare dollar signs with the Big Ten or SEC.

“Don’t say expansion is dilutive.”

Iowa State’s athletic director either did not get this memo or did not agree with it:

"When you know that the athletic administrators think that the best solution is the solution we currently have, why would we then want to say no we'd rather have 12 members?

"Because we want to add more schools to this league that are going to be like Rutgers or Boston College in their conferences? Which have no fans coming to the games, and they're getting outscored 170 to whatever it was. In Boston College's case, haven't won a game in two to three years in their conference. That totally dilutes your value."

“Don’t say candidates were not deemed Power 5 worthy.”

Yeah, that would be rude.

“Don’t refer to any specific expansion candidate/school by name.”

Probably smart.

“Don’t indicate that TV influenced decision.”

[Arrested Development narrator voice]

It did.

“Don’t say we are psychologically disadvantaged.”

Don’t say that again, to be clear, as Oklahoma’s president did when calling for expansion.

“Don’t discuss 2024-25 as a grant of rights issues.”

That refers to the impending end of the conference’s revenue-sharing deal, which sure feels like a countdown to the league’s crackup.