clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Here's how Cincinnati's pitching itself as a Big 12 expansion candidate

New, comments

This summer, the Big 12 might finally be ready to decide whether to expand to 12 teams. It isn't a secret that the University of Cincinnati would like to be one of those teams.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Oklahoma president David Boren, who has led the charge for Big 12 expansion the most, supports Cincinnati's bid to join the conference, and West Virginia President Gordon Gee told SB Nation (and others) that WVU would like a regional travel partner in Big 12 play. UC football coach Tommy Tuberville said in 2015 that the Big 12's chances of making the Playoff without expanding are on par with mid-majors.

But what exactly is Cincinnati pitching to other Big 12 leaders? Thanks to documents obtained by SB Nation, we have a better idea.

We filed an Open Records request for promotional material UC had sent to the Big 12 in a time period beginning in Dec. 2015 and ending in Jan. 2016. Cincinnati sent us two video presentations, one highlighting the commitment the university has showed toward athletics and one that talks about the university more generally.

We can't show these clips to you, due to copyright, but here is what they say:

  • UC has made a "half a billion dollar commitment" to athletes over the last decade. This means new buildings, seats and upgrades to athletic facilities.
  • "UC only hires the best coaches. Coaches who recruit, coaches who win and coaches who put the student athlete first." The footage shows Tuberville and UC men's basketball coach Mick Cronin. Tuberville is described as a "big name" football coach who has "been to the top of the mountain" alongside video from his undefeated 2004 at Auburn.
  • The Bearcats have spent $300 million to improve athletic facilities since 2005 and signed a $50 million apparel contract with Under Armour this year.
  • Cincinnati football has made bowl games in nine of the last 10 seasons, and the men's basketball team has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of the last five years. UC has six national championships and 77 conference championships in 10 sports.
  • UC has "fully funded" scholarships for Olympic sports athletes.
  • As a university, UC has "grown 33 percent in the last 10 years." UC is described as "a research heavyweight," with $3.3 billion in research funding over the past 10 years.
  • The Bearcats play in a city of more than 2 million people who "show up on game day." The city is the "No. 7 TV market for regular season college basketball" and "ranks in the top 25" for college football.
  • According to ESPN, the state of Ohio is ranked sixth in the nation for total football and basketball recruiting.
Reading between the lines, it seems this pitch focuses on Cincinnati's willingness to continue to invest in athletics, success in football and men's basketball and advantageous location.

We also filed Open Records requests for similar documents for Connecticut, recently listed as a Big 12 candidate, but were told there were no responsive records. A request to South Florida for similar records has not yet received a response. BYU, a private school, is exempt from these requests.