The future for the Big 12 Conference is up in the air after Oklahoma and Texas decided to leave 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, who would get the invite if the league does decide to expand?
Olson reported on this issue, adding, “One sentiment among multiple sources is that the Big 12’s best approach to expansion, if it does stay together, is focusing on building the strongest football conference it possibly can. BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and Boise State would be logical targets if that’s the plan, and several more schools merit consideration. 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.”
Also part of this report was the news that the Houston Cougars were unlikely to be considered in conference realignment by the Big 12.
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.”
It was also announced on Thursday that the Pac-12 will not be expanding, meaning it’s unlikely the Big Ten and ACC will. So now, it’s your move Big 12. Get going.