Big 12

Big 12 will explore whether to play football championship game

Kansas State’s Josh Buhl (left) celebrated as quarterback Ell Roberson held the Big 12 championship trophy after the Wildcats beat Oklahoma 35-7 in the 2003 conference championship game at Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas State’s Josh Buhl (left) celebrated as quarterback Ell Roberson held the Big 12 championship trophy after the Wildcats beat Oklahoma 35-7 in the 2003 conference championship game at Arrowhead Stadium. THE KANSAS CITY STAR

Media consultants have been summoned by the Big 12 regarding a conference championship football game.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the league will use consultants to explore the revenue potential of a game that was played for 15 years through the 2010 season. That was the last time the Big 12 stood at 12 members and was split into divisions.

Last month, the NCAA voted to allow a conference with fewer than 12 teams to hold a league title game between the top two teams in the standings, as long as that league plays a complete round-robin schedule.

The Big 12 does that, and a meeting of athletic directors meeting in Dallas on Thursday started the discussion whether to hold a title game.

No decisions were made. None were expected. Bowlsby said that a title game for 2016 “is unlikely, but it’s not impossible” and that no recommendation for a championship game would emerge from this meeting.

Several factors will be considered:

▪ Financial: Forbes estimated a Big 12 championship game could be worth $25 million to $35 million in additional television rights revenue to the conference.

▪ Competition: A title game in a 10-team league guarantees a rematch of a regular-season matchup. If a championship game had been in place last season, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State would have played in consecutive games.

▪ College Football Playoff: The Big 12 is the only Power 5 conference that doesn’t have a league championship game. That means the league plays one fewer game (12) than other conference champions that are considered for the playoff.

A conference championship game wouldn’t be tied to expansion, according to Bowlsby.

“We didn’t spend any time talking about expansion,” Bowlsby said.

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