For Pete's Sake

Memphis fans throw shade at BYU in effort to strengthen Big 12 credentials

Is a bigger, if not necessarily better, Big 12 on the horizon?

The Star’s Blair Kerkhoff wrote about potential changes to the Big 12 last week. The league hired a consulting and research firm called Navigate, and presented different scenarios to Big 12 football coaches. The formats ranged from the current 10-team conference to one that had 16 teams.

The Big 12’s presidents and athletic officials meet in Dallas from May 31 to June 3.

The leading contenders for potential Big 12 expansion remain the same: Cincinnati, Houston, BYU, Memphis, Connecticut, South Florida, Central Florida and Boise State.

Fan bases from all schools are engaged to varying degrees. Last week, a Memphis supporter sent me a power-point presentation from the fan community that makes the case for the school’s addition to the Big 12. To be clear: The University of Memphis had nothing to do with the presentation.

That’s good, because while building up Memphis, it throws shade at BYU.

There is a slide titled “All Sports 7 Days of Play.” It reads: “A university fielding teams in a variety of sports in both men’s and women’s athletics faces unique challenges each year. One annual task for both conferences & schools is the complex scheduling process. The University of Memphis competes seven days a week for ultimate flexibility in scheduling across all sports.”

In short: Take that, BYU.

If that sounds bad, in its page “Making The Case For Memphis,” the fans spelled it out clearly: “A variety of schools are routinely mentioned as natural fits with BYU often at the top of the list, but the school’s own BYU Network and lack of Sunday play in all sports complicate what some consider a sure bet scenario. An invitation to UConn would deliver a storied basketball program, but would further widen the already stretched footprint of the conference to the East coast. The same can be said for any potential Florida candidate schools.”

No subtlety there.

This was understated: Last year, the University of Connecticut bought a billboard in New York that was certainly aimed at the Big 12.

The thinking from UConn’s perspective would be about adding New York to a potential Big 12 Network.

With Big 12 expansion talk swirling again, who do you think are the strongest candidates to join the conference? Rank the following schools:


Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff