After months of speculation, and a long, very public examination period, the Big 12 decided to punt on expansion after all.
Sources tell SB Nation that Big 12 candidate schools are being told that the Big 12 is not expanding “at this time”. Multiple other reports indicate that the conference will not expand, with ESPN stating that no school could generate enough votes.
The decision naturally comes as a disappointment to BYU fans, who thought they stood a pretty good chance, given the stated criteria Bowlsby said that conference administrators would evaluate during the expansion vetting process.
At the end of the day though, the schools in the Big 12 couldn’t reach an agreement on who to add. Houston, after all, may be playing the best football at the moment, but leaders are multiple conference institutions expressed hesitation about adding another program in Texas, which could make recruiting even more difficult.
BYU, of course, had geography, a non-Sunday play policy, and concerns over their Honor Code and other institutional policies. Other Big 12 candidates had different negatives.
Plus, the conference’s TV partners made it clear that they didn’t support the idea, and that expanding just to grab money could limit the Big 12’s ability to secure another TV deal in the future.
Bob Bowlsby will speak at a press conference at 6:30 p.m. ET.
We’ll have more on what this means for BYU, and the conference itself, later this week. For now though, it appears that BYU’s best chance at securing a Power 5 affiliation in the near future just passed them by.