DALLAS – The Big 12 Conference board of directors announced Tuesday that commissioner Bob Bowlsby has been directed to continue to investigate the interests of schools who have expressed interest in joining the league.
The board also heard a report from Baylor interim president David Garland and two members of the board of regents regarding Baylor’s recent sexual assault issues that has been characterized as besmirching the Big 12’s image.
Instead of ending what seems to be a never-ending debate and discussion regarding Big 12 membership, the story will continue. The recent announcement that ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference will start a network starting in 2019 rekindled the Big 12’s interest in considering expansion.
“We had reports from our two groups of consultants. Obviously the announcement that the ACC has agreed to go forward with a contract made us look at what expansion of the conference might mean,” Oklahoma president and Big 12 board chair David Boren. “We live in a fast-changing world, new technologies being adapted. ACC exploring new platforms. We’re still not sure about a linear network’s value.”
Boren said that Bowlsby will contact, “schools that have come to us, the nature of their interest and the proposals they might make in terms of their interest.”
Bowlsby said he wouldn’t put a time frame on the research but they would “be active soon” and that the news from here would lead to those interested schools renewing their interest.
The Big 12’s board had requested more information from Baylor regarding an internal investigation conducted by Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton. A 13-page “bullet points” release in late May led to the dismissal of school president Ken Starr, athletic director Ian McCaw and football coach Art Briles.
“Our board has been deeply concerned about what has taken place and it was very important for us to hear about how Baylor is handling these issues,” Boren said. “We were pleased with the information we hear and with Baylor’s commitment going forward. It was quite candid and necessary from our point of view.”