The Big 12 made it official during a press conference at 5:30 that the conference will not be expanding. David Boren of Oklahoma said, “We decided after very thorough discussion we would remain at 10 members.”
Earlier today, the Big 12 Presidents gathered to consider expansion. Any candidate required eight votes to join the conference, and no team received the requisite number of votes.
In a year where I had a lot of misses, I did get this one right on August 17th where I guessed the Big 12 would stay at 10.
My immediate reaction is that people have little idea what the world will look like in 2025 when the Big 12’s Grant of Rights expires, so the hot takes are coming way too fast. At that point, the Big 12 could collapse, which is what many people seem to believe. But let’s remember how much of an eternity nine years really is. Will cable television still exist in any real fashion, or will live streaming take over? Players could even be paid by then, upending the entire landscape of college sports. I doubt the last one happens. But the world is unpredictable.
Not expanding has prevented the elevation of a program like Houston and also kept the conference from being in worse shape when it deals with expansion in 2025. Baylor’s best bet for surviving into 2025 is to continue to have a strong academic profile and perform highly on the field. Yes, Baylor’s reputation has taken a massive hit lately with everything that has happened, but the school is located in the middle of Texas and has overtaken Texas A&M as the second best Texas school in a power five conference, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Think about nine years ago for Baylor. At that time if you had said Baylor football would win the Big 12 twice, have a Heisman, and four seasons of 10 wins, people would have laughed hysterically. Perhaps their laughter would have been matched only by the thought Baylor would make two elite eights in men’s basketball, another sweet 16, and make the tournament as a 3 seed and a 5 seed on another occasion.
There are some questions that remain. We’ll find out if the conference will have divisions with 10 teams for its championship game next season. We’ll also see how the votes went in the days and weeks ahead.
The Big 12 may end up dying. But if it does, Texas or Oklahoma looking for a new home or the changing landscape of college sports will be the reasons, not the decision to forego adding two schools from outside the power five.