Big 12 Expansion: Waiting begins for UConn

Here, according to sources familiar with the process, is where we are in the Big 12 Will Expand/Big 12 Won't Expand Derby.

Interviews/presentations: They will continue through the end of next week. Of the 11 schools on the interview "list'', UConn, Houston, UCF and USF had made (as of Friday morning) their sales pitches. Remaining: Air Force, BYU, SMU, Rice, Colorado State, Tulane, and Cincinnati.

It is a two-tiered list: Cincinnati, UConn, BYU and UCF are in the first group and have already been vetted by the Big 12. Their presentations were filled with additional details beyond the basics.

The other 7 schools required more of an introduction and have almost no chance of making the final cut unless some major unknown additions are made in their presentations. Most of those schools are being interviewed for political reasons.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership :]

Next step: Not clear. The final decision/announcement won't come until mid-October when all the Big 12 Presidents gather. But Big 12 Comissioner Bob Bowlsby (who is basically a one man screening committee at this point) could cut that list down to three or four finalists who would meet with a select group of Presidents. Or, he could simply spend the next three weeks analyzing the data, working on his recommendations to the Presidents. Bowlsby could also present a recommendation to table all expansion talk for one more year, although that seems unlikely.

The BYU issue: Not looking good for the Cougars. Full membership looks like it is off the table, football only membership is still alive, but each time there is a negative reaction (the Iowa State Student body saying they will petition other Big 12 members to reject BYU) it works against BYU's chances.

If BYU is indeed off the table then Houston--as the most prominent football school among the candidates remaining--almost becomes locked into one spot. It is inconceivable that Bowlsby will recommend expansion WITHOUT BYU OR HOUSTON. In that scenario, the only way Houston doesn't get selected is if the Big 12 passes on any kind of expansion.

For UConn, it is simply a matter of waiting to see if they have finally cleared the hurdle into the Power 5.

The Huskies have had two runs at the ACC and a semi-run at the Big 12 and came up empty. This could be their last chance for the foreseeable future. If they are again rejected, they must then decide about their future in the American Athletic Conference. But that is a challenge for another day.[/membership]

Comments