Big 12 Presidents Decide to Pass on Expansion

"The Big 12's decision in no way changes the mission of the University of Houston that began long before there was talk of conference expansion", Khator said.

Bowlsby wouldn't get into details about what was said in the private session. He said that while the conference could one day re-open the subject, expansion is now off the agenda.

"This was not a decision not to expand", Bowlsby said.

"We just want to focus on what makes us stronger", OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said Monday.

Conference officials held interviews in September with Air Force and Colorado State from the Mountain West; Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, South Florida, SMU and Tulane from the American Athletic Conference; and BYU, which is a football independent with its other sports in the West Coast Conference.

Yet, Boren and Bowlsby stated that this process didn't waste anyone's time, and this could be revisited down the road.

Boren, for the record, sidestepped the grant of rights issue Monday, choosing instead to proclaim: "No one's looking to walk away from this conference".

Bowlsby and Boren spent much of Tuesday's press conference touting the strength of the league, with Boren breathlessly reporting that the unity and collegial spirit of the conference has never been stronger. Even on days its most important people make some of their most reasonable decisions, they step all over themselves in doing so.

Unless you've been living under a rock, been cryogenically frozen since Texas A&M and Missouri left the Big 12, or haven't been following any collegiate sports at all, you've probably at least heard of the Big 12's rumored attempts to expand the conference from 10 teams to 12 or even 14.

On the first point, the Big 12's contracts with the two networks required ESPN and Fox to keep per-school payments the same regardless of whatever the conference's size.

Bowlsby admitted the process took on more of a "sweepstakes" feel than he expected, with a university-changing golden ticket to a Power Five conference dangling in front of a near-dozen institutions who would do anything to attain it.

The networks could offer the Big 12 a smaller increase in rights fees and possibly an extension on its TV deal for not expanding. The league will play host to a title game in 2017 and has received approval from the NCAA to do so with only 10 teams in the conference. The announcement comes after months of speculation and presentations from interested schools. Nearly all available solutions are square-peg, round-hole conundrums, but the conference thinks it needs the game to better its chances at the College Football Playoff and raise more revenue.

"We chose to remain at 10 members", Boren said.

The Big 12 has decided not to expand its membership, according to multiple media reports on Monday afternoon.

Oh, and adding two teams would mean an extra $50 million in annual TV revenue for the Big 12.

ESPN reports that several members of the Big 12 favored expansion, but chose to go along with the decision once they realized they would not be able to reach the required number to expand. In terms of being forthright and respectful and transparent, I think we did it about like we would have hoped we would. The conference seemed certain to fold both years, a crisis narrowly avoided due to the intervention of several individuals, including former Baylor President Ken Starr.

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