Big 12 officials will conduct video conferences with 17 prospective schools that are hoping to join the league, according to an ESPN report.
However, it is “becoming less and less likely” that the league will expand to 14 teams, sources told ESPN. The most likely scenario is that the 10-team Big 12 will add two teams and create two six-team divisions; the league already has decided to bring back a conference championship game starting in 2017.
Oklahoma president David Boren and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in July that the league was examining whether to add two or four schools. No final number was ever set in stone.
It was widely thought the league would add four schools. But a SportsBusiness Journal report indicated that ESPN and Fox executives were “pushing back” against that idea. That story was perceived as a way for TV executives to send a message to the Big 12 that the idea wouldn’t be welcome.
However, the Big 12 can expand to four teams without the TV networks agreeing to anything. It’s already written in the current TV deal that the league can expand, and networks would be forced to pay the new schools a pro-rata amount — anywhere from $20-25 million per team.
According to ESPN’s report, BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, South Florida, Memphis, Colorado State, Tulane, Temple, East Carolina, Boise State, SMU and New Mexico are among the 17 schools that will make a video presentation.
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