Heading into this weekend’s meeting of Big 12 presidents to discuss league-related issues, here’s a look at expansion options on the table, based on discussions with league administrators (and assuming Missouri remains in the league), and what would happen with each model:
1. Staying with 9 teams: Would maximize revenues per team from TV contracts but would do little to appease teams seeking long-term stability going forward. Probably a low percentage play.
2. Expanding to 10 teams only: Would recapture 10-team configuration in place for Fox Sports TV contract. Would also keep revenues-per-team high. But it would not appease those schools seeking long-term league stability. And that is the desire of multiple schools. This move could force league officials to choose between TCU and Brigham Young for a one-school expansion option. If this winds up being the extent of Big 12 expansion, that could be the one option that keeps TCU out of the loop going forward. Texas men’s athletic director DeLoss Dodds has expressed a desire for a 10-team configuration.
3. Expanding to 12 teams: Multiple options on the table, many of them including TCU and Big East schools Louisville, Cincinnati and West Virginia. BYU and Boise State also in the mix. Schools interested in long-term stability, as well as those wanting to recapture a conference championship game in football to generate revenues, prefer the 12-team models. Oklahoma president David Boren has been public about favoring a 12-team model.
4. 16-team model: A full-blown merger between Big 12 and Big East football-playing members in 2012 gets you to this number. But it’s not a high-percentage play because other options are more profitable and more appealing. Also: If Missouri leaves, and the Big 12 nucleus drops to eight, look for Central Florida to enter the picture in a 16-team expansion model.
_ Jimmy Burch