SBD/January 17, 2013/Colleges

Big 12 Commissioner Says League Could Be "Proactive" On Expansion

Bowlsby feels "pretty good" about where the conference currently sits
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby yesterday said that league officials "'could be proactive' on the expansion front and will address the topic in league meetings" Jan. 28-29, according to Jimmy Burch of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. The Big 12 has only 10 members and that is "not enough ... to have a conference championship game in football." But the configuration "does maximize per-school revenues from television rights fees." Bowlsby said that is a financial advantage league officials "will weigh during discussions about the future of the Big 12." Bowlsby: "Until we’re persuaded that larger is better, we feel pretty good about right where we are. ... I just think there’s a real shortage of empirical evidence that can guide our decisions." Bowlsby even cited the "possibility of adding a Big 12 championship game under the league’s configuration if NCAA rules, which allow such games only in conferences with 12 or more members, are tweaked." He said, "In a period of deregulation, does it make sense that the association is describing the manner in which we create our champion? Does it make any difference if we have 10 members and we take our two highest-ranked teams at the end of the year and have them play off one more time in a repeat and the champion goes on to the post-season? It’s just another area of deregulation that we think is worthy of consideration" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/17).

THINGS STABILIZING SOME? N.C. State Univ. Chancellor Randy Woodson yesterday said of conference realignment, “We were surprised as a conference by Maryland, and I’m not going to say a lot about that because there are some legal issues involved in that. But I think what most conferences have done to try to stabilize is make leaving the conference cost-prohibitive. And frankly I think it has stabilized, except for I would worry a little bit about the Big 12, because they only have 10 teams.” Meanwhile, he said of the ACC’s TV rights contract with ESPN, “We’re definitely satisfied with the level of coverage we’re getting. We’re getting a lot of national exposure as a result of our new contract. And it was a fair contract relative to everything. But this is a really strange time” (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 1/17).
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