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Report: Big 12 to ‘interview’ 17 expansion candidates

(Photo: Icon Sportswire)

The Big 12, which nearly a month ago announced it would explore the possibility of expansion, appears to be gaining focus regarding the process. Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com reported Friday that commissioner Bob Bowlsby will conduct video conferences with 17 schools that have conducted the league with their interest in joining.

McMurphy’s story highlighted these points that indicate the Big 12 is nearing closure regarding its future membership:

  • McMurphy’s sources are saying that it is “becoming less and less likely” that the league will expand to 14 teams.
  • The final expansion decision will end with the Big 12 deciding to stand pat with 10 teams or add two teams and split into two six-team divisions for football. That would solve a problem created by the return of the Big 12 championship game in 2017.
  • McMurphy has identified, through his sources, 14 of the 17 schools that the Bowlsby will talk with: Cincinnati, Houston, BYU, South Florida, UCF, UConn, Memphis, Colorado State, Boise State, Tulane, Temple, East Carolina, SMU and New Mexico.

Bowlsby said two weeks ago that he hoped to have the expansion process wrapped up before football season, but that appears unlikely. The Big 12 has a regularly scheduled board of directors meeting scheduled in October. That would appear to be when a final decision is rendered.

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