Thursday, February 7, 2013
Big 12 fans are clear: Expansion is wanted
By David Ubben
The Big 12 examined its expansion options at last month's athletic director meetings, and didn't sound like it was gearing up for a big move on the expansion front. If other leagues like the SEC or Big Ten make a move, that might change, but for now, the Big 12 is a 10-team league and preparing for a future with that lineup.
Big 12 fans, though, continue to clamor for the league's membership to reflect its name. Expansion is still overwhelmingly favored by our readers, though I agree with the Big 12's position that 10 teams is the best fit for now.
Last week, I asked you to cast your votes on the Big 12 expansion debate, and I heard you loud and clear. Nearly 80 percent of fans -- 78 percent, to be exact -- say the Big 12 should expand and expand now. If Florida State is that team, I agree, but that doesn't look like it's the case just yet. Maybe that changes in the future, but commissioner Bob Bowlsby made it clear that any expansion candidates would have to bring a whole lot of money to the Big 12 pie. The league's members divvied up more than $260 million over the past year, the highest number per team of any league in college sports. Any new members would have to bring in about $26 million or more. The list of teams that do that is small.
There's excitement and intrigue in bringing in new blood to a conference, and I'd say fans buy into that. They also buy into the idea that having 10 members puts the league at a major disadvantage in a world with 14 and 12-team leagues becoming more of the norm. I'd say that argument is mostly specious, but it's clear the league's fans believe that bigger is better. The conference leadership does not. I wouldn't expect that to change unless the college football landscape changes dramatically first.