Stop me if you’ve heard this story before, but, the Big 12 expansion rumor mill express may finally be reaching a halt. Earlier, we learned that conference administrators would discuss expansion again later in July to discuss Big 12 expansion again. Now, we have a date for those meetings: July 19.
Here’s the Des Moines Register, quoting Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby:
Bowlsby said a July 19 meeting of the league’s Board of Directors could be the day of determination – whether the league votes to add additional schools, or whether the current round of expansion talk ends.
“That’s up to our presidents and chancellors, but I think we have provided a lot of information, and the intention of that was to get the athletics directors and presidents to spend some time talking about the issues that are in hand, and to formulate some institutional positions,” Bowlsby said. “I think they’ve had an opportunity, and everybody’s been engaged on it.
The Big 12 has already made a few big decisions this offseason, namely, to go ahead and hold a conference championship game and to not pursue a television network, but punted on a decision to expand back in May. Now that some of their administrators have had more time to get comfortable in their positions, and study the data, a decision could finally be coming.
Bowlsby seems to understand what the rest of the internet has figured out, it’s time to finally make a decision, even if that decision isn’t to expand. From later in the same article:
“We’ll not be served well by an ongoing, extended, protracted discussion of this. We’ve got the data we need. I think we need to establish institutional decisions and make some decisions.”
Without a TV network, expansion would likely only give a modest financial boon to Big 12 member institutions. With the right programs, it could potentially increase their chances of making the playoff. BYU, with established programs in both football and basketball, along with a developed fanbase, stacks up favorably compared to some of the other possible contenders, like Houston, Cincinnati, or Memphis. But as we all know, these decisions often include matters that have nothing to do with sports.
We’ll have more as we get closer to the next round of conference meetings. Hopefully, the conference finally puts an end to the speculation, and makes some sort of decision.