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Was The Big 12 Never Interested In Getting Back To 12 Teams?

Former Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas opened up about why the conference added TCU and West Virginia over BYU, and in the process killed our dreams of the Big 12 getting back to 12 teams.

TCU Announces Decision to Join Big 12 Conference - Getty Images - Brandon Wade

Ever since the Big 12 dropped to just ten teams fans have speculated on who the conference could add to get back to its namesake. Who makes sense geographically, who’s competitive in football and basketball, and the most important factor… who brings television sets with them?

BYU has always been a school in the discussion, and like any potential school we always discuss their pros and cons. Pro: The Cougars are competitive in football. Con: BYU doesn’t play on Sundays. Not such a big deal for football, but it could throw a kink into smaller sport tournaments.

Turns out all of our discussion is a moot point. When the conference brass says they aren’t interested in expansion, they really aren’t interested.

Chuck Neinas, the interim Big 12 Commissioner during the conference realignment, spoke with Tim Montemayor of 1320 KFAN in Salt Lake, UT, about why BYU was looked over in favor of TCU and West Virginia, and pretty much killed our dreams of adding two more schools to the conference in the process.

Apparently the question people need to stop asking is, ‘Who could the Big 12 add?’.  It’s pretty clear that there were four deserving schools, but the Big 12 was only ever interested in adding two.

Before the College Football Playoff I was against conference expansion. It just didn’t make sense for two reasons. One, as Neinas point out, even though the TV contracts allow for more money if the conference was to expand to 12 teams, the slice of pie for each school would be smaller than it is now. Two, the conference would not pick up any new bowl bids, thus giving each school a lower statistical chance of making a bowl. Ten teams is the ideal financial model for the conference.

There’s just one problem. College football changed the rules with the playoff. There’s more of an emphasis on the conference championship games. How a race went from two teams to four, and the qualifications got harder I don’t know, but they did. Reluctant to let go of the financial model that’s brought the conference stability, the Big 12 has been sent scrambling to find a solution since being left out in the cold last season. I’m not sure asking a team that’s come out on top through round robin play to play a conference championship game makes any sense, but it looks more and more like the Big 12 is going to give it a shot. The one thing we can be sure of though, is that the Big 12 isn’t looking to expand anytime soon. Sorry BYU, Boise State, UCF, ECU, SMU, Houston, and Northern Illinois.


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