With the Big 12 Conference now looking at expansion in the wake of the Pac-12’s decision to not expand, the question that many have revolves around the timeline for the league. However, nothing appears to be happening any time soon.
Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt told ESPN nobody in the Big 12 has directly contacted any other schools about membership yet. “Not to my knowledge,” he said. “There’s nothing imminent.”
Hocutt is part of a four-person subcommittee that also includes Baylor AD Mack Rhoades, Kansas Chancellor Doug Girod and Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen. This comes on the heels of the conference hiring Oliver Luck, the former West Virginia AD and XFL commissioner, as a consultant to help with the process.
Hocutt went on to say that doing this right versus doing it fast has to be a priority, adding, “I think we’ve really got to be careful and thinking through this the sequencing of decisions and timeline in the months ahead … We know that we’re going to continue to be an Autonomy Five conference. We still plan to have our continued standing in the College Football Playoff, so we need to think through how we’re going to strengthen this conference from a football standpoint.”
Hocutt said he remains “extremely confident” in the Big 12’s ability to remain strong even without the league’s biggest brands.
The subcommittee met with the Big 12 presidents on Friday morning will have in-person meetings this coming week involving Big 12 athletics directors and media and television consultants, while adding, “Right now, our complete focus is to make the Big 12 as strong as it can possibly be and I expect that Texas Tech will play a leadership role in that. We’re going to continue to be part of the power-five structure in college athletics.”
The timing for Big 12 expansion is also a major barrier. Oklahoma and Texas are set to join the SEC in 2025, which is when they’re contractually allowed to without paying a buyout of nearly $80 million. However, at least one college football reporter believes the Longhorns’ and Sooners’ departures could come sooner, perhaps as early as the fall of 2022.