John Klein: Big 12 at peace in 10-team structure
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Thursday, January 31, 2013
1/31/13 at 5:29 AM
Go to John Klein's Blog Original Print Headline: Big 12 at peace in 10-team structure
STILLWATER - The Big 12 wants to stay at 10 teams and the league will apparently petition the NCAA to have a championship football game with its current 10-team alignment, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.
Bowlsby attended the Oklahoma State-Iowa State basketball game Wednesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
He talked with a small group of media during halftime of the game, just one day after the conclusion of a two-day meeting of Big 12 athletic directors.
Bowlsby said the consensus of Big 12 athletic directors was a preference to stay at 10 teams.
"That is an absolutely accurate assessment," said Bowlsby. "We are unconvinced that larger is better."
Bowlsby will speak at the Tulsa Business Forums luncheon, sponsored by the OSU Spears School of Business, on Feb. 21 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Bowlsby said athletic directors expressed support for the current round-robin schedule in football and the home-and-home schedule in basketball.
Bowlsby said the current financial situation in the Big 12 "distributes the largest amount of money per school" of any league in the country.
So, Bowlsby seemed comfortable in saying the Big 12 is not in the realignment or expansion business.
"We're going to sit tight at 10," said Bowlsby.
As a result, the Big 12 would seem to be set in the current alignment for the immediate future.
What that means down the road, if one of the other power leagues makes a grab for expansion, is up in the air.
Bowlsby admitted on Tuesday that the Big 12 "needs to be constantly vigilant. I think in coming out of these meetings we're prepared very well for that vigilance."
If we've learned nothing else in college conference realignment, you should always remember to never say never.
Still, Bowlsby seemed pretty firm that both he and the Big 12 athletic directors are in agreement on keeping the current lineup of teams in the league.
In addition to preference of the 10-team alignment, Bowlsby said finding schools for expansion that would make it financially feasible is difficult. "There aren't many (possibilities)," he said.
The recent meetings have been characterized as some of the most cooperative and comfortable in the rocky history of the Big 12.
"We all have our hands on the oars and we're rowing in the same direction," he said.
Bowlsby, still relatively new on the job, said the meetings were smooth.
"We were playing very nice in the sandbox," said Bowlsby.
Even though he was not a part of the Big 12 during the shaky past, when the league lost four members and added two over the last four years. he knows it hasn't always been as harmonious as it was earlier this week during the meetings in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
"I've heard it was anything but peaceful," said Bowlsby.
Bowlsby said the agenda at the recent meetings was small - just three items.
He said Big 12 athletic directors discussed composition of the league, future bowl game agreements and football scheduling.
Among those items, the idea of a championship game remains a priority for the Big 12, even with just 10 teams.'
"We will probably ask for it," said Bowlsby.
He believes the league doesn't need to go to 12 teams just to get a championship game. "We've deregulated a lot of things recently," said Bowlsby.
Among the items discussed was some sort of alliance with another league.
The Big 12 would like to explore some sort of scheduling alliance to help in basketball and/or football.
"We have lot of very important games in October and November," said Bowlsby. "We hope this might strengthen (September).
"Or, it could be a single basketball game."
As far as bowls, Bowlsby believes "very likely" that the Cotton Bowl will become a part of the four-team national championship playoff.
If so, the Big 12 is preparing to adjust its bowl lineup.
"We've talked about a lot of things," said Bowlsby.