No one knows what exactly the future holds for the Big 12 Conference. Oklahoma and Texas are leaving for the SEC. Contractually they’ll stay until 2025, but it’s believed the two schools will try to get out earlier.
Regardless, the question now is what happens to the Big 12? Do teams bolt for other conferences? Is that even an option? Does the Big 12 stay put at eight teams? Or does the league expand?
Max Olson from The Athletic wrote about where things were at in the Big 12 Conference on Wednesday, and while expansion does appear to be on the table, don’t expect the Houston Cougars to get one of the first looks, if and when that day does come.
Olson reported that the focus would be on a strong football conference, but when it came to UH, he reported, “There still seems to be serious reluctance about engaging with Houston, which dates back to the conference’s unpleasant experience with UH board chairman Tilman Fertitta in 2016.”
Ferititta was outspoken when the Cougars weren’t more seriously considered for the Big 12 in 2016, the last round of expansion talk.
“That’s kind of disappointing that Texas with their big budget fears the University of Houston,” Fertitta told CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd. “For other schools in the Big 12 to keep them out because they’re scared of them, men need to be men.”
As recently as 2019, Fertitta was still ripping the Big 12 Conference for its decision.
TexasFootball.com sat down with Fertitta whoa at the time went on to say, “It’s a shame. We belong in the Big 12. All those people a couple years ago said they were going to help us and it was all talk and it was all bullshit. We want to be in one of the major Power Five conferences. We start the season out $30 million less than all the big schools have to play just on TV, just that alone. Give us that $30 million, we’re on a much fairer playing level.”
Clearly, the frustrations are there across the board and many in the Big 12 may not want to deal with UH and Fertitta at this point in time.
The Cougars did make a splash in 2019 when they pulled Dana Holgorsen away from West Virginia and hired him on a big deal with a massive buyout. But things haven’t panned out yet for Holgorsen in his two seasons on campus.
And as for a Big 12-UH marriage? That doesn’t look like it’s going to pan out any time soon either.