Big 12 Conference Focusing On ‘Long-Term Strength’ After AD Meetings

Sep 1, 2021, 7:34 PM | Updated: 8:04 pm
Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 Conference...
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby admits the 2022 spring meetings have some "weirdness" to them. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The eight remaining athletic directors in the Big 12 Conference met to discuss their future over the past two days.

After the Pac-12 Conference announced last week they didn’t plan to expand at this time, the Big 12 Conference formed a four-person expansion subcommittee. Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt, who is part of that subcommittee, said the Big 12 AD meetings would also include the league’s TV partners last week.

These meetings were interesting here in Utah as BYU is reportedly a program that the Big 12 is “seriously discussing” for potential expansion. Even though the Big 12 Conference has not formally come out to say they are expanding.

After two days of meetings with the eight ADs, there was no formal announcement that expansion is on the horizon.

Here’s the statement from Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.

Big 12 Conference Statement after AD meetings

“Following two days of consultation with the athletics directors of the continuing members of the Big 12 Conference, commissioner Bob Bowlsby stated, “The eight ADs remain committed to furthering the Big 12 as one of the nation’s premier athletic conferences, and look forward to working with our presidents and chancellors to strengthen the league. Future exploration by the group will continue to center on options that best position the long-term strength of the Conference.”

If the Big 12 Conference is looking to bring long-term strength to their league, BYU seems like a logical addition if the league adds new members. The Athletic’s Andy Staples and Max Olesen reported that BYU would add value to the Big 12’s future TV deals.

If expansion is ultimately the path that the Big 12 Conference takes, one big question remains. Could the Big 12 add members while keeping Texas and Oklahoma locked into their grant of rights through 2024-25? If adding members causes an opportunity for the Sooners and Longhorns to bolt for the SEC earlier than 2025, it’s hard to picture the Big 12 adding kicking the tires on expansion anytime soon.

Right now, Big 12 schools are currently averaging $37 million per school in annual TV revenue. So for a league that’s likely going to see a dip in their TV money after Texas and Oklahoma bounce, they probably don’t want to do anything that will hurt that money.

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

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