Big 12 Media Days ended with a shocking revelation, or not if you have read anything posted by the experts on Big 12 message boards. The presidents and administrators have voted to engage schools interested in the possibility of expanding the conference. I wrote about this a few months back and it is not really breaking news but still very very interesting for not only us West Virginia fans, but the entire country.
This next wave of expansion will be a lot like the ACC raiding of the old Big East back in the early 2000s and the Big East effort to acquire place holders. It could be good and strengthen the conference (Louisville, Cincinnati) and it could potentially suck (USF). Obviously Louisville committed a ton to their athletic programs when they moved up from Conference USA to the “big time” and that has propelled them to where they are now in the ACC as a player in nearly every sport. Then you have the USF’s of the world who have shown some flashes of brilliance but have been bottom feeders in most sports for the better part of a decade now.
So what is the Big 12 to do? What is in the best interest of the current schools? Financially and competitively. Geographically and TV market wise. There are a ton of questions. Why do this? Are we going to add schools just to add them? What real value do they bring for the future? What is road game tailgating going to be like for rowdy Mountaineer fans in Provo, Utah? These are all questions that have to be answered before making a selection.
To me, I don’t necessarily think more is better. That money coming in is very nice for each school and why mess with that? We would obviously attempt a Big 12 Network to increase revenue but I feel like, in an SEC dominated world, it would be a lot like the current Pac 12 Network, which is pathetic.
And what school is going to provide the biggest competitive draw? Not a lot of hard hitters out there ready to be scooped up. Maybe BYU. Maybe Cincinnati. Maaaaybe Memphis? But it seems like that Group of 5 well has dried up for the most part.
I know I said to keep adding after 12 in my last post but I have changed my thinking a little bit. This debate will rage on for the foreseeable future and we welcome all your input, arguments, and ideas. The main thing I would like to avoid is watering down competition and especially income. Can the Big 12 do that? Lets see.