After the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns officially reached out to the SEC about membership on Tuesday, the questions around the future of the Big 12 Conference remain. While there’s a high likelihood that the eight teams could remain together longer than many expect, it’s also well known that if some schools get invites to certain conferences, they will bolt.
The best examples of this are Kansas and Iowa State, who would both love a chance to be in the Big Ten Conference. Reports came down last week that KU had a call set up with the Big Ten. And Iowa State, while reports have been a bit quieter on their end, although AD Jamie Pollard did release a video statement on Monday night saying, “It’s not time to panic.”
With that being said, a new report from Kirk Bohls at the Austin American-Statesman suggests that Kansas and Iowa State “made a run at the Big Ten, but I don’t know if they’ll get any place,” according to a Big 12 source.
Iowa State and Kansas are natural fits for the Big Ten based on geography and already having some relationship with schools like Nebraska and Iowa in the Big Ten West. It would be a very seamless and natural fit. But of course the biggest question around all of this is whether or not adding these schools provide value for a bigger and richer TV contract?
Iowa State has a rabid fan base and a football program led by arguably the hottest (I say this as a matter of demand for his services, sorry ladies) young head coach in the sport in Matt Campbell. Kansas has a blue-blood basketball program, but it’s football program is the worst in the Power 5, and as we know the big-money contracts are driven by football not basketball.
The Big 12 deal rakes in $37 million per year, while the Big East (basketball conference) TV contract is less than $10 million. So the basketball program may not get KU as far as it thinks it will.
The good news is that if the Big Ten is strict about wanting AAU schools, both these programs fit that bill. But with these stories changing by the minute, it remains to be seen what the next step will be for all involved. Stay tuned to Heartland College Sports for the latest around the Big 1 2 Conference.