The Big 12 Conference expansion process has reached the first elimination stage. East Carolina announced Wednesday it had received a letter from the conference informing the school it was no longer on the list.
That news came the day after veteran college writer Mark Blaudschun wrote for TMGCollegeSports.com that the Big 12 had narrowed its list to six to eight schools. His sources indicated the remaining schools included Cincinnati, Houston, Connecticut, Memphis, BYU, Central Florida and South Florida.
Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman Tweeted Wednesday that Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said, “As you know, we have never commented on who was or was not involved. We are not going to start now.”
The Big 12 had the schools sign non-disclosure agreements. Now that it is apparently out of the running, East Carolina felt no restriction to comment.
“While it is obviously not the decision we were hoping for, I am confident ECU put forth its best effort during the process,” East Carolina athletic director Jeff Compher said in a statement released by the school. “Through a determined approach we were able to tell our story to not only the Big 12, but the entire nation. Our student-athletes, coaches and staff will continue to proudly compete for championships in the American Athletic Conference, and we will represent our alumni and community with great resolve.”
The Big 12 received interest from up to 20 schools had reportedly has conducted video interviews with representatives of those schools. Blaudschun reported that the remaining schools are likely to visit Dallas in the next two to three weeks to make in-person presentations.
The Big 12’s board of directors have a regularly scheduled meeting in October in Dallas. Bowlsby could present his recommendations regarding the candidates then. Approval to add a school requires eight votes. Blaudschun reported there is talk that the Big 12’s presidents could decide to table an expansion decision for a year.