clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big 12 expansion decision could reportedly come by summer

Could this story finally be coming to a merciful end?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 expansion rumors could finally be coming to an end. According to Berry Tramel at The Oklahoman, the conference is going to make a final decision at some point this summer whether to expand or not. Tramel spoke with Oklahoma President David Boren, and it sounds like everyone's getting tired of dealing with rumors and just wants to settle this.

"We've sort of said to ourselves, come this summer, we're going to have to finally make a decision about what we do. We cannot indefinitely postpone decisions. That's what I had gotten frustrated about. I thought we were spinning our wheels."


Get all kinds of NCAA Football stories, rumors, game coverage, and pictures of Puddles in your inbox every day.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has been issuing denials and non-answers on conference expansion for a good four years now, so it's easy to see why university presidents are getting tired of dealing with the same issue over and over. A story came out earlier in February that Boren, who has long been a vocal advocate of expansion, supports the University of Cincinnati's bid for inclusion in the Big 12. If the conference does expand, the Bearcats would seem to be the favorite for an invitation, but a second team would need to join them as well. Other possible candidates includes BYU, Boise State and UConn.

The primary motivation for Big 12 expansion was reaching 12 teams so the conference could have a championship game. Baylor and TCU were left out of the first College Football Playoff field in 2014, and the conventional wisdom was that the conference's lack of a title game hurt the Horned Frogs and Bears. Of course, Oklahoma made it into the Playoff without having to play in a title game in 2015, so that argument may not hold much water. It's also moot at this point, as the Big 12 got the green light back in January to have a championship game without expanding to 12 teams.

The Big 12 doesn't need to expand to have a conference title game, but if the money works out right, they could go through with it anyway.

"I think people are being very sincere about trying to look at the figures and the facts," Boren said. "Not be emotional about it or ‘I want this school' or ‘I want that.'

"Well, what are their academics? What's their research base? How well do they fit our academic profile? How well do they fit our fan base profile? How many dollars in their market do they bring to the table? We're looking at all that. In terms of the network and those dollars, we're looking with our TV consultants to tell us."

* * *

SB Nation presents: How to quickly and easily fix the College Football Playoff