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Big 12 Commissioner On Realignment: ‘No Expansion Discussion At Any Level’

DALLAS, TX - JULY 21, 2018: Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks during the Big 12 Media Day on July 21, 2014 at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)GETTY IMAGES

ARLINGTON, Texas – We’ve entered Media Day season on the college football off-season calendar. What’s great about this time of the year is that we here from the influential voices that run college athletics. Which of course are the Power Five commissioners.

The Big 12 Media Days began on Monday, and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby opened up the event by addressing the media. The first topic thrown Bowlsby’s way was an update on possible realignment in the conference.

“We have had no expansion discussion at any level,” said Bowlsby. “We like the ten we have. We think the full Round Robin is the right way to conduct competition and in the case of our basketball, full double Round Robin. We are distributing record revenues and we have heretofore unanticipated media opportunities and I don’t expect that to be an active topic on anybody’s agenda within the conference anytime in the foreseeable future.”

That’s tough commentary for BYU fans as they hope that one day a Power Five conference will come calling, but nothing would suggest that the Big 12 – which still consists of only 10 members – is going to be making new additions soon.

The Big 12’s current rights agreement runs through the 2024-25 academic year. After 2024 or 2025, we could possibly see realignment pop up again in college athletics with the television rights deals expiring, but no one knows for sure as mobile and digital consumption continues to grow.

“We are competing in some measure against the very high-quality television product that we have helped to develop and as all of us are finding out, mobile consumption is getting larger and larger with each passing year,” said Bowlsby. “Digital delivery and a wide variety of evolving platforms are right on top of us and anybody that tells you they know what the future looks like three years from now or five years from now I think is delusional because the environment is changing so rapidly.”

What this all means for BYU, is that the Cougars are going to remain an FBS Independent for the foreseeable future. If BYU wants to be in a conference before Power Five TV rights are up, the only landing spot would likely be a spot in the Group of Five leagues, which would be the American Athletic Conference or the Mountain West Conference.

The AAC has an opening with UConn moving to the Big East Conference. BYU and Army are reportedly the only two programs that the AAC would consider adding as a football-only member.

BYU’s athletic director Tom Holmoe has indicated in the past that money is not an issue for the athletic department and has shown support for the path of football independence.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.