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Big 12 watch: Will expansion even happen?

Commissioner of the Big 12 Bob Bowlsby, right, and University of Oklahoma President David Boren arrive to speak to reporters at the Big 12 sports conference meetings in Irving, Texas, Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Commissioner of the Big 12 Bob Bowlsby, right, and University of Oklahoma President David Boren arrive to speak to reporters at the Big 12 sports conference meetings in Irving, Texas, Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
LM Otero, AP

While the news about Big 12 expansion has begun to slow as the conference hears pitches from candidates, there was still some important information and ideas to be had on Wednesday.


In responding to a mailbag question, Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports discussed the possibility that the Big 12 might not expand at all. He writes, "there does remain a very real possibility — about 40 percent, if not higher — that the conference will eventually make that very announcement."

He then gives several reasons why expansion might not happen. After touching on the lack of excitement from within the conference and its TV partners' feelings about the whole thing, he writes, "this public bakeoff the presidents touched off among the various contenders is not healthy for anyone. Schools lobbying politicians and engaging in social media campaigns — all the while still competing in their current conferences — is creating tremendous pressure on all involved. If, in fact, this ends with the Big 12 presidents picking, say, BYU and Cincinnati, there will be incredible anger and bitterness from Houston, Memphis and the like. People may lose their jobs over it.'


Drew Borsellino of SB Nation's Viva The Matadors came up with his own plan on how the conference should expand.

After talking about how many schools are looking for Big 12 inclusion, he writes, "It got me to thinking pretty radically about Big 12 expansion. The English Premier League started up last week and that also led to my delusional plan for expansion."

He then shares that the Big 12 should add 14 teams and then split the 24 teams into two divisions, saying, "The current 10 schools along with Cincinnati and BYU would form Big 12 A and the remaining 12 would form Big 12 B. Big 12 A would represent Power 5 affiliation and Big 12 B would be considered the Group of 5. Below is what the conference would look like."

He then asks questions to explain how the whole system would work. "Can schools be realigned between Big 12 A and Big 12 B?" To which he answers, "Yes, there will be realignment between the two divisions. Relegation will happen every 2 years. The bottom two schools in Big 12 A will be demoted to Big 12 B and the top two teams from Big 12 B will be promoted to Big 12 A."

Jay Yeomans is a sports writer for DeseretNews.com. Contact him at jyeomans@deseretdigital.com.