Big 12 expansion appears to be taking another turn … away from expanding.
In a story posted on Sports Illustrated’s website, college sports reporter Pete Thamel said multiple sources around the Big 12 said Oklahoma president David Boren is no longer in favor of expansion.
This would mark a sharp reversal of Boren’s most recent statement. In July, he said there was “momentum” to consider expansion and directed commissioner Bob Bowlsby to evaluate schools that had shown interest in the Big 12.
Boren released a statement later Tuesday that said “Oklahoma has not yet taken a position on expansion.”
It was Boren who set the wheels in motion for growth with his comment in early 2015 about the Big 12 being “psychologically disadvantaged” by having 10 members and no conference football championship game while the other four power conferences had at least 12 and a title game.
Boren has flip-flopped on the issue multiple times: from psychologically disadvantaged to a stance of no need to expand because the league was unlikely to get a third-tier television contract like the four other Power Five conferences to expansion back in play with the July announcement.
Now this, a possible game-changing stance for the Big 12. Standing pat at 10 would end the Power Five hopes, at least for now, of schools like Houston, Cincinnati and Brigham Young. Those schools are most often mentioned as expansion candidates.
It also contributes to the dysfunction of the Big 12 and especially Boren, who has guided the expansion conversation for nearly two years.