Big XII thinking out loud about expanding again

UPDATE: The Big 12 Conference will discuss expansion during its meetings the next two days, but this may be an either/or situation in regards to how the league wants to approach its future. They could either expand the league to 12 members or form an alliance with another conference. And the Big 12 is leaning in a certain direction.

"(Big 12 commissioner Bob) Bowlsby confirmed to that the league is in the exploratory stage about an alliance with the ACC and perhaps some other leagues," Dennis Dodd of reported. "That could involve a scheduling agreement, marketing, anything to enrich both conferences.

"In other words, no expansion. Such an arrangement might quash speculation about Clemson and Florida State are eventually coming to the Big 12. It's still a debate whether those schools add value to the Big 12. And the discussion doesn't start unless, say, Jim Delany raids the ACC again."

While the topic of expansion is still on the docket, the Big 12 won't actively pursue the possibility.

“Bob doesn't want to expand, doesn't believe in it,” a source told Dodd. “Doesn't believe it's good for the student-athlete.”

The Big 12 has repeatedly stated it is happy with 10 members. It appears they'll stay that way for the foreseeable future while still securing its place within the landscape of college football.


Possible expansion will once again be on the docket when the athletic directors of the Big 12 Conference convene today and tomorrow in California. It's merely the early stages of discussion, but the league continues to consider the possibility of adding more teams.

"It is very much an academic and philosophical discussion," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsbytold Big 12 reporter Wendell Barnhouse. "We have no plans in the immediate future for any change in composition, but we think it's wise and prudent to consider all the positive aspects of our current formation as well as whatever negative effects there may be. It also is a good time to talk about the positives of adding a new member or two members or six members."

"We don't have any plans to expand, But on the other hand, we don't want to be caught off guard either. I think there's a proactive approach we can undertake and also a reactive and responsive approach. We're going to flesh out both of those."

The Big 12 isn't likely to jump and make an immediate move. It simply has to be prepared. Schools like BYU, Boise State, Cincinnati are all likely candidates. The league will have problem pulling from the ACC now that the league has provided some stability to its members -- where it was once believed programs like Florida State, Clemson and Virginia Tech may have been interested in the Big 12.

Possible program additions to the conference aren't the only type of expansion the Big 12 is considering. It's also considering a potential alliance with another league.

"Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the league is actively exploring a possible alliance with the Atlantic Coast Conference and two other unspecified leagues for the purposes of scheduling, marketing and possibly even television partnerships, an arrangement that might prevent further expansion," Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman reported.

The Pac-12 and the Big Ten Conferences are the most likely targets past the ACC since the two leagues had a similar deal break down last year.

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