Big 12

From BYU to USF, candidates make their case to join the Big 12

The Big 12 logo was shown during Media Days this week.
The Big 12 logo was shown during Media Days this week. The Associated Press

The news from Big 12 media days has reverberated around the nation.

The 10-team conference is not only actively exploring expansion candidates, but it might add up to four teams. That raised antennas from Utah to Connecticut to Florida.

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Here is a summary of several schools’ cases for joining the Big 12:

Brad Rock of the Deseret News wrote that Brigham Young needs to have a successful football season this fall.

The Big 12 is aware of BYU’s television network, the online potential and its widespread fan base. The eye-opener won’t be the indoor practice facility, the renovated Marriott Center, the shiny baseball stadium, the 64,000-seat football stadium or the trophies in Legacy Hall.

“As old-fashioned as it sounds, dominating on the field is still a great way to impress.”

David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel made the case for Central Florida’s growth potential.

“Every school has strengths and weaknesses. Well, UCF doesn’t have any weaknesses, at least according to a letter president John Hitt sent to Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis in May.

“Among other things, it touted Orlando’s growth, UCF’s gargantuan enrollment, its athletic program graduation rate and its large TV market.”

Jason Williams of the Cincinnati Enquirer compared Cincinnati with other expansion candidates.

“In 2015, UC completed an $86 million expansion of Nippert Stadium that added new luxury suites, club seats, a party deck and press box. Also, UC is by far the closest expansion candidate to the Big 12’s geographic outlier, West Virginia. But geography may not play a factor, even though West Virginia would like to have a closer conference rival.”

In May, Matt L. Stephens of the Coloradoan noted that Denver has a large number of Big 12 alumni. He said there are other reasons why Colorado State would be a good fit.

“Two of the biggest selling points for CSU in the realignment landscape was its academic performance — placing higher than Big 12 members Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Texas Tech and West Virginia on U.S. News and World Reports’ rankings of the top 204 universities in the country — and the Denver TV market. Denver is ranked by Nielsen as the 17th-largest market in the U.S.”

Paul Doyle of the Hartford Courant said Connecticut still desires a spot in a power-five conference.

“With 15 national championships in women’s and men’s basketball and a close proximity to the New York market — not to mention a large alumni base in New York and Boston — UConn has lots to offer.”

Joseph Durate of the Houston Chronicle said Houston must do all it can to impress the Big 12.

“UH can tout $240 million in facility upgrades, including 40,000-seat TDECU Stadium and proposed $60 million renovation of the basketball arena formerly known as Hofheinz Pavilion.

“UH can tout a football program that is the trendy pick by some to be the first non-Power Five school to crack the four-team College Football Playoff.

“UH can tout more than 21,000 season tickets sold to date. That’s no small feat for any school that had two, three or four seats of extra leg room at some games.

“UH can tout a football signing class that is already on a Power-Five level.”

Geoff Calkins of the Commerical Appeal called this the moment of truth for Memphis.

“When you read the quotes from (Oklahoma president David) Boren, it’s hard not to think that he might have been asking other schools to step up in the way we know that Memphis and FedEx already have.”

The Tampa Bay Times’ Joey Knight believes South Florida’s odds appear viable.

“USF currently resides in the nation’s 11th-largest media market, according to Nielsen. Academically, it recently earned a major accolade — not to mention $5 million from the state — when it was awarded ‘emerging preeminence’ status by the Florida Board of Governors Strategic Planning Committee.

“It also ranks 25th nationally among public universities — 41st when counting private universities — in research dollars, according to the National Science Foundation.”

So those are the eight of the nine leading contenders to be included in Big 12 expansion (It was quite in Boise, Idaho). Do you like them or not? Vote below if you’d give each school a thumbs up or down about joining the Big 12.


Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

Blair Kerkhoff: 816-234-4730, @BlairKerkhoff

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