After months, if not years, of Big 12 expansion news floating in a holding pattern, hard and fast might be coming awfully quickly, especially if conference administrators have their way.
The Big 12 didn’t announce a specific timeline for their expansion decisions during their conference call after Big 12 Media Days on July 19, but according to Dennis Dodd of CBS, multiple sources indicated that the conference would like to make a decision before the start of the football season.
In case you were wondering, the first game involving a Big 12 team is on September 2, when Baylor takes on Northwestern State. Hawaii and Cal will play the first FBS game of the season on August 26. That’s less than a month away.
The reasoning, according to Dodd, makes a lot of sense, and something I really agree with. The conference doesn’t want to risk sapping attention away from the actual football season. Oklahoma will open the season as a playoff contender, TCU could make a run, Texas has a shot at being Texas again for the first time in several years, etc. There are plenty of compelling on the field storylines, and if all of us blogger and media types are writing about BYU and Memphis instead, it hurts the league.
A quick announcement would certainly make it easier for teams to join relatively quickly (say, for the 2017-2018 season), but there are still plenty of logistical hurdles to clear. Teams that leave the AAC or the MWC will have to pay potentially stiff buyouts, especially AAC teams that are hoping to start Big 12 play relatively quickly. The specific timelines and logistics will all have to be hashed out by the lawyers.
BYU, of course, wouldn’t have to pay an FBS conference buyout, but they might have one with the WCC should they join the Big 12 in all sports. When I asked about that process, a WCC spokesperson declined comment. Either way, it’s probably less money than the AAC is asking.
After false start after false start, it looks like things could start moving very quickly very soon. Hold on to your butts.