Big 12 content with 10, rejects expansion

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Months of speculation and anticipation came to a lackluster end Monday when the Big 12 Conference announced that it will not add any additional universities. Despite evaluating potential candidates for the last three months—which included the University of Houston—officials say that the member schools decided unanimously against expanding the conference.

University of Oklahoma President David Boren and Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby took to the podium to inform the public of the outcome. Boren led off the press conference by breaking the news and clarifying the process for the decision.

“As all of you know we have just completed a series of meetings that began Sunday evening here with the presidents and board of directors,” Boren said. “We decided after a very thorough discussion that we would remain at ten members. We’ve committed ourselves to that proposition and each other.”

Boren said that the conference will continue to put a conference championship game together as they do not currently play one at the end of the season. The schools agree that adding the championship and not universities to the conference is what will benefit the Big 12 the greatest in the long run.

Having ten teams and no conference championship has left Big 12 schools susceptible to being excluded from the College Football Playoff by the selection committee.

Bowlsby reinforced Boren’s remark and noted that he wanted whatever decision the universities made to be a final one. He said that expansion will not be revisited in the near future.

“I made one recommendation,” Bowlsby said. “It was that we should bring this process to closure one way or the other. We shouldn’t kick the can down the road.”

He says that an “extensive data analysis” took place and helped in the decision. Bowlsby noted that each institution has their own interests and concerns but was impressed by their ability to reach a unanimous decision.

Rumors have swirled since the Big 12 announced that the conference would consider expanding to 12 or 14 teams over the summer. UH was believed to be a top candidate for invitation into the conference based off of geography, athletics, academics and market.

UH President and Chancellor Renu Khator released a statement shortly after the announcement.

“The Big 12’s decision in no way changes the mission of the University of Houston that began long before there was talk of conference expansion,” Khator said. “We remain committed to strengthening our nationally competitive programs in academics and athletics that allow our student athletes to compete on the national stage.”

With no other conferences actively pursuing expansion, it appears UH will remain in the American Athletic Conference for the foreseeable future.

UH Vice President of Athletics Hunter Yurachek says that decision is part of the evolving landscape of collegiate athletics. Despite the ruling, the school will not be deterred from building “champions for life.”

“Our goals, which were in place long before expansion conversation began, will not change,” Yurachek said in a press release. “As a progressive Tier One institution that places a competitive emphasis on both academics and athletics, the University of Houston will continue to operate in the national spotlight in one of the nation’s premier athletic conferences and dynamic cities.”

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  • They forgot to add, “and became a national laughing stock by saying one thing and doing another, and most of all for having a 10 team conference named the Big 12. Brilliant.

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