Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby

Big 12 Still Exploring Various Conference Arrangements

The Big 12 Conference is prepared, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said, but not prepared to do something right now regarding conference realignment or relationship deals with other conferences.

That was the overall assessment as the league athletic directors concluded two days of meetings on Tuesday in Irving, Texas, where the Big 12 headquarters are located. One thing that was made very clear coming out of the two-days of discussion was that the conference schools have no desire to change the current 10-team structure of the league, but they want to be ready and able to move if circumstances change.

“It’s not about what we’re prepared to do,” Bowlsby said. “It’s that we’re prepared.”

There were reports a week ago that the Big 12 was talking with the ACC about some kind of alignment. Bowlsby confirmed that Big 12 representative have had a conversation with ACC officials, but would not specifiy the nature or content of the discussion. There was speculation that the subject was about a football or basketball scheduling arrangement, but this has not been confirmed by either side.

“I think there are some ways you can get benefits and some of the value of a larger configuration without actually adding members,” the Big 12 commissioner said.

The Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference announced a bowl partnership last fall in which the conference football champion of each league will meet in the Sugar Bowl every year in January, provided the top teams in the two conferences are not involved in the championship playoff and the Sugar Bowl is not part of the championship rotation that particular year. This will begin in the 2014 college football season.

There has also been talk about a basketball challenge series between the Big 12 and the SEC, which has fueled the belief that the Big 12 might be interested in an annual football scheduling deal with the ACC.

To be perfectly clear, the chief reason why Big 12 schools are perfectly content with the current conference configuration is that there are fewer teams to share the league revenue distribution than would be the case with 12, 14 or even 16 schools. A further differentiation the Big 12 has with the other major college conferences, the so-called BCS Conferences, is the  full round-robin schedule in basketball and that every school plays every other c0nference school in football, which allows for a true league champion based on results on the field.

At the very least, this week’s league meeting proves that we haven’t heard or seen the end of the changing landscape in college athletics.

You can get more sports news and information about the Big 12 and all the conference schools at




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