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Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Bowlsby: Talk of expansion 'on agenda'

By David Ubben

New Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby doesn't want to see any future expansion in college athletics, but recent events have given him no choice but to put the issue on the Big 12's agenda, as it is on other conferences'.

My opinion," he told USA Today on Tuesday, "is college athletics would be well served by some period of smooth water and not all of the angst and disorganization that goes with moves from one league to another."

We've heard that from the Big 12. Florida State is forcing Bowlsby's hand, though he wouldn't mention the school by name.

"I think the topic of expansion will be on every agenda going forward. But it's on every other conference's agenda going forward, too," Bowlsby told the paper.

Over the weekend, Florida State's chairman of its board of trustees opened up a big ol' can of realignment worms, however, when he offered credence to a long-held rumor rumbling around college sports. Could Florida State leave for the Big 12?

"On behalf of the Board of Trustees I can say that unanimously we would be in favor of seeing what the Big 12 might have to offer. We have to do what is in Florida State's best interest," Andy Haggard told Warchant.com.

So, here we are. After two years of attrition and a role as the hunted, the Big 12 is doing some hunting of its own? Or is it? The league just added TCU and West Virginia for 2012 after Texas A&M and Missouri bolted for the SEC, leaving the Big 12 with eight members. That move was a year after Nebraska and Colorado left the Big 12 for the Big Ten and Pac-12, respectively, costing the conference its namesake. Could Florida State move the Big 12 one step closer to a return to 12 members?

Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds tamped down some of the discussion, telling the Austin American-Statesman that there was "no traction" to the reports.

He did not add a "yet" on the end of that sentence, but more than a few assumed that was the case. How could the Big 12 and Florida State at least not sit down at a table for an exchange of ideas?

Where does the Big 12 stand right now? Bowlsby's not showing his hand.

"It's all about driving value for the member institutions," Bowlsby said. "There is a case to be made for optimal value being driven by the status quo, and there is a case to be made for some form of expansion. And I'm not prejudging or adopting either side of that right now."

He is, however, discussing it. And while that happens, there won't be many calm waters in college football.