The Big 12 expansion process will include 17 video conferences with prospective candidates, based on an ESPN.com report, with sources close to the negotiations saying it is “becoming less and less likely” the league will expand to 14 teams.
The sourced report, released Friday, suggested the most likely scenarios include the Big 12 staying with its current 10-team configuration or adding only two schools to create a 12-team league with two six-team divisions.
ESPN and Fox Sports, which hold the Big 12 television rights through the 2024-25 school year, are consulting league officials in the expansion process.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby will conduct the video conferences with the prospective members with an eye toward making a decision on expansion this fall. When announcing plans to explore expansion opportunities in July, Oklahoma president David Boren, chairman of the league’s board of directors, outlined a set of criteria that will be used in vetting candidates that includes: athletics success, fan base, TV following, academic standards, integrity and shared values with existing Big 12 members.
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The next scheduled meeting among Big 12 presidents, who would cast the ballots on expansion, is in October although a special meeting could be called before that. To be an admitted, an expansion candidate must receive at least eight “yes” votes from the 10 active members that includes TCU, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Among the 17 schools slated to make presentations to the Big 12 are Brigham Young, Houston, Cincinnati, Central Florida, South Florida, Connecticut, Memphis, Colorado State, Boise State, Tulane, Temple, East Carolina, SMU and New Mexico.