Big 12 officials announced kickoff times Thursday for several high-profile football games this season, including the Thanksgiving night matchup between TCU and Texas in Austin (6:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1).
Other Thursday night matchups released during the second day of the league’s spring meetings include: Sept. 18, Auburn at Kansas State (6:30 p.m., ESPN); Sept. 25, Texas Tech at Oklahoma State (6:30 p.m., ESPN) and Nov. 20, Kansas State at West Virginia (6 p.m., Fox Sports 1).
In other non-Saturday telecasts, Baylor will open its new McLane Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 31 against SMU (6:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1) and play a Friday, Sept. 12 game at Buffalo (TV details TBD).
Kickoff times for September games also were set for most schools. TCU will open its season Aug. 30 against Samford (6 p.m., Fort Worth), with TV details to be announced later. The Horned Frogs’ Sept. 13 game at Minnesota will be played at 3 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.
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Other notable starting times for national telecasts: Texas-UCLA, Sept. 13 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington (7 p.m., Fox); West Virginia-Alabama, Aug. 30 in Atlanta (ABC/ESPN2, 2:30 p.m.); Brigham Young at Texas, Sept. 6 (6:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1); Arkansas at Texas Tech, Sept. 13 (ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, 2:30 p.m.); Tennessee at Oklahoma, Sept. 13 (ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, 7 p.m.).
Texas officials announced that the season opener for new coach Charlie Strong, Aug. 30 against North Texas, will be shown at 7 p.m. on the Longhorn Network. The starting time for the Aug. 30 Cowboys Classic in Arlington between Florida State and Oklahoma State (7 p.m., ABC) was announced previously.
Extra official returns
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said feedback on last year’s experiment to place an eighth football official on the field in Big 12 contests was “exceedingly positive” and the practice will be repeated this season.
Other leagues also will experiment with the practice during the 2014 season.
“We felt like it gave our referee and our umpire, particularly, a better opportunity to manage the game. Especially the flow of the game, the substitutions,” Bowlsby said. “With the speed of the game, it makes some sense.”
Big 12 athletic directors remain undecided on whether to support a proposal for an early signing date in college football, as suggested by ACC administrators.
The ACC suggested an Aug. 1 option, which has not gotten much traction with Big 12 officials. John Currie, Kansas State athletic director, made it clear he prefers keeping it on the first Wednesday in February.
“We talked about it some. But I don’t perceive any extreme momentum for that,” Currie said. “For every argument for that, there is a big stack of arguments against it. I personally believe those decisions already are being made far too early by student-athletes, often to their detriment.”
Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt, chairman of the NCAA football recruiting subcommittee, said additional discussions are slated at a June meeting. He said football coaches have yet to take a national position in favor or against the date switch.
Big 12 administrators spoke in favor of proposed NCAA governance changes that would allow more autonomy to schools from the five power conferences.
Action on that front could be taken in August, including provisions that would allow athletes the full cost of college attendance, enhanced medical care and an opportunity to receive additional scholarship help after players have exhausted their college eligibility or left early for professional careers.
Bolwsby said the 65 schools in the highest-profile leagues seek “a new covenant with today’s student” because NCAA rules have not evolved adequately to meet their needs over the past three decades.
Texas President Bill Powers said: “There’s a wide consensus among the five conferences that we need to adjust to the times and the issues. We need some reform. How we go about it is the issue and we’re in discussions.”
Bowlsby said he plans to seat a task force of Big 12 administrators to examine potential tweaks that league officials want to stress when more autonomy becomes a reality.
TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said school officials are in negotiations with a Pac-12 school to finalize a home-and-home football series for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
He said he hopes to have an announcement next month.
Big 12 officials have tweaked the wording in their football tiebreaker procedures to adopt the College Football Playoff rankings in lieu of the BCS standings to break multi-team ties in the league standings.
Bowlsby said: “All it is is nomenclature. We struck the places where it said BCS and added … CFP.”
Bowlsby left open the possibility of having the Big 12 men’s and women’s tournaments in the same city in future years, but nothing is set.
The tournaments have been held in different cities the past two years and the same will be true in 2015, with the women’s event in Dallas and the men’s event in Kansas City, Mo.
Bowlsby also left open the possibility of starting conference play before Christmas in basketball to allow for more byes during the regular season.