Bowlsby says expansion not in Big 12's near future
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
7/24/12 at 6:50 AM
DALLAS - The Big 12 is headed toward a period of stability with no expansion expected in the near future, conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Monday morning.
"This is a group of 10 institutions that if we were to press for raised hands in a meeting room around the issue of expansion, I don't know that we'd get two votes for moving to a larger number," Bowlsby said at the start of Big 12 Media Days in Dallas. "If the Big 12 had to vote on it today, we wouldn't take any new members in."
After the departures of Colorado and Nebraska in 2011 and Texas A&M and Missouri this year, speculation has centered on which schools could be added to the conference in addition to new members TCU and West Virginia.
"We believe it should be very difficult to get into this group of institutions," Bowlsby said. "It should be the toughest fraternity in America to join, and the only people that have a chance to join it are those that bring something that is very substantial."
The advent of a four-team playoff could play a role in realignment slowing down, Bowlsby said.
"I think part of the reason for the mad scramble in conference alignment was the fear of the unknown," he said. "And I think this diminishes the fear of the unknown."
Bowlsby, who took over as Big 12 commissioner in May, said he believes the best years of the conference are ahead, mentioning the in-the-works TV contract that will include a 13-year grant of rights and the fact that the league now features equal revenue sharing.
Another new development is the Champions Bowl featuring the Big 12 and SEC winners on New Year's Day. It likely will be shown in prime time after the Rose Bowl and probably will be hosted by an existing bowl, Bowlsby said.
"We expect the game can be as big as any game in college football, and that's our aspiration," he said. "... I think the Champions Bowl puts us on a par with the Rose Bowl, the long tradition that the Big 12 or the Big Ten and the Pac-12 have had in that bowl."
This year, Big 12 football will include three defending conference champions (Oklahoma State, West Virginia and TCU). Bowlsby said a tougher nonconference schedule is essential for teams to ensure better positioning in the postseason.
"The second two-thirds of the season are terrific, but the first month of the season is not always terrific," he said. "We need to make the month of September as good as the months of October and November are."
Also during Bowlsby's media availability, he announced the conference coach of the year award has been renamed in honor of Chuck Neinas, who was interim commissioner last year and responsible for bringing the Big 12 back from the brink of disaster.
"Under his guidance, we brought TCU and West Virginia into the league," Bowlsby said. "He had a tremendous calming force. Through his sage advice and insights and experience, we were able to get through a really tough time."
Original Print Headline: No plans to expand Big 12
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Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, speaking at Big 12 Media Days on Monday, said the Big 12 is not expecting to expand. MATT STRASEN / Associated Press