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Iowa State AD: Big 12 did not want to dilute conference with expansion

10 October 2015: Big 12 logo the chains during an NCAA football game between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX. Texas won 24-17. (Photo by Raymond Carlin/Icon Sportswire).
Photo by Raymond Carlin/Icon Sportswire

The Big 12 Conference decided Monday not to expand membership beyond its current 10 team so as not to dilute the quality of competition in the conference, according to Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard.

Pollard said that adding noncompetitive teams to the conference could lead to competitive programs like Texas and Oklahoma looking for other conferences to join.

The conference has recently seen a loss of top teams with Missouri and Texas A&M leaving for the SEC in 2012. Athletic directors and school presidents were wary of expansion fueling a further talent drain.

Pollard noted that if Texas and Oklahoma went elsewhere, the Big 12 would be no better than the Mountain West conference.

“Because we want to add more schools to this league that are going to be like Rutgers or Boston College in their conferences?” Pollard said. “Which have no fans coming to the games, and they’re getting outscored 170 to whatever it was. In Boston College’s case, [they] haven’t won a game in two to three years in their conference. That totally dilutes your value.”

The conference was considering expansion after TCU and Baylor were co-conference champions in 2014 because the NCAA regulations do not allow conferences with fewer than 12 members to hold conference championship games. The winner of a TCU versus Baylor matchup would have likely secured a spot in the college football playoffs, but neither did.

The Big 12 Conference championship will return now that the NCAA passed legislation allowing conferences with fewer than 10 teams to hold a championship game.

The Big 12’s decision to not expand was reportedly a consensus decision among the team presidents that gathered.

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