The Big 12 presidents held a half-day meeting at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where, according to ESPN’s Jake Trotter, they ultimately decided against expansion. The conference’s decision comes after months of back-and-forth from those looking to keep Texas free of another major recruiter and those who wanted to widen the conference’s reach.
The failed operation first gained steam when Oklahoma president and Big 12 board chair David Boren said the league was “psychologically disadvantaged” by its 10-member status in 2015. Within a year, the league announced its intentions to explore expansion and spent the past summer reviewing candidates. Little of substance was revealed outside of who the league presidents had in mind—Air Force, BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Connecticut, Houston, Rice, SMU, South Florida, and Tulane. The Dallas Morning News reports the presidents could not reach the required eight votes on any of the candidates by the end of Monday’s meeting, thus tabling the talks of expansion.
While this may have ruined their dreams on getting in on the big TV money, the Group of Five schools had signs the movement was going to give out, most notably in September when Boren said expansion is not “a given.” This was followed by reports from Sports Illustrated this past week that found Fox Sports and ESPN were willing to pay the current member schools to keep membership as-is in an attempt to duck an extra $40-million payout it would have incurred under the current conference television contract.