While the Big 12 waits on a final declaration from Missouri about its plans to move to another league, Louisville has mounted a last-minute push to try and secure the spot that league officials have indicated will belong to West Virginia.
A day after multiple Big 12 sources said they were prepared to invite West Virginia to become the league’s 10th member, assuming a departure by Missouri, some league administrators today have begun pitching Louisville instead.
One league source confirmed a New York Times report that cited a lobbying effort led by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate minority leader, as a factor in the current state of flux.
Multiple league sources have said that Big 12 television partners favor West Virginia as the league’s 10th team if Missouri departs because it offers higher television ratings for football than Louisville and would allow the league to maximize the value of existing TV contracts once Missouri and Texas A&M leave the league.
It remains unclear whether the split opinion will be enough to quash West Virginia’s bid to become a Big 12 member. One Big 12 source said today that the Louisville pushback represents nothing more than “a little slowdown” in the process because the TV partners favor West Virginia.
_ Jimmy Burch