ESPN.com was the first to report expansion is a no go after the Big 12's presidents and chancellors met for almost six hours at a hotel here in suburban Dallas on Monday. Their decision comes nearly three months to the day after the Big 12's board of directors unanimously agreed to authorize Commissioner Bob Bowlsby to explore candidates for expansion.
An announcement of some kind is expected later today in a news conference that has been scheduled immediately following the Big 12 board of directors' meeting.
UCF is among a long list of candidates Big 12 leaders have evaluated during the past few months while they considered expansion.
Big 12 officials held face-to-face interviews with 11 schools during September: Air Force, BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Connecticut, Houston, Rice, South Florida, SMU and Tulane. Specifically, this would mean that the Big 12 is expanding by either two or four schools, with some potentially being football-only members.
A month ago, Boren seemed to press the slow-down button, suggesting in a public statement that the addition of new teams into the Big 12 was "not a given". BYU, with its football history and strong fanbase also had a perceived leg up, but concerns about the school's honor code with respect to the LGBTQ community became a black cloud of sorts over BYU's candidacy. Some sources indicated that would be the compromise for those in the Big 12 who had been pushing for expansion as well as a conference TV network.
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Interim president Beverly Davenport's Twitter message Monday afternoon confirmed UC has been notified of the Big 12's decision, a university spokesman told The Enquirer. The Big 12's TV contracts call for ESPN and Fox to increase their payouts to the conference so that any new member would be making what the current members are making, which is about $25 million.
Speculation ran rampant when this picture with the Big XII logo and Cincinnati's logo surfaced on Snapchat but the rumors and speculation ended up being just that. In this scenario, Big 12 presidents believe now is the time to add new members to the ranks.
A candidate required a supermajority of favorable votes to join the league, or the backing of at least eight members of the Board of Directors comprised of school presidents. If that happens, the Big 12 as we know it would most likely cease to exist.
The mixture of who to add, or if to add teams at all, of fan perspectives has been documented.
There has been talk of the networks (ESPN and FOX) considering buying out the pro-rata clause of the contract.