The Big 12 can finally breathe a sigh of relief after holding their breath for what seemed like a world-record time following the announcement from the Pac-12 that they would not accept Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State as their 13th through 16th members to form a super conference.
That, for now at least, salvages the Big 12 conference, which will be down to nine teams when and if Texas A&M departs for the Southeastern Conference. The only thing stopping the Aggies from leaving is potential legal action from Big 12 members Baylor, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa State and Oklahoma State. Baylor had come out publicly, stating that they intend to pursue legal action, while the other aforementioned schools did not publicly say they waived their rights to sue.
With all that said, for now the Big 12 is safe from the Pac-12 and the SEC. Now it is time to take the offensive by adopting the mindset many people thought the Pac-12 had: reap teams from a failing conference. It is also time for the Big 12 and its schools to retain its litigation rights and pursue legal action against Texas A&M due to their intended departure. The Big 12 needs to let the country know that the conference has a strong hand and will act forcefully to maintain the health of the conference.
The previously mentioned failing conference is the Big East. Pittsburgh and Syracuse have announced their decision to leave the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference, a move that will take place in 27 months as part of a by-law of the Big East that the Orange and the Panthers intend to follow. It is also being speculated that the University of Connecticut is looking at its conference options.
Andy Katz of ESPN speculated on SportsCenter that Louisville and West Virginia, both current Big East members, would be viable options for the Big 12. In addition to those two schools, he talked about Brigham Young University, an independent football school and a West Coast Conference member in all its other sports, possibly joining the Big 12.
I say that if you want to avoid any future potential upheavals of the conference, the Big 12 absolutely, 100-percent needs to chase those schools and get the conference back up to 12 members. The Big 12 presidents are scheduled to have a teleconference today to discuss policy changes to stabilize the conference following this month-long period of uncertainty, the second period in just over one calendar year the conference has experienced, both of which involved in at least one school leaving. In addition to Texas A&M’s departure, the Big 12 lost Nebraska and Colorado last year to the Big Ten and Pac-12 respectively.
The Big 12 is the only Football Bowl Subdivision conference currently in the NCAA in which all of its schools, even KU (surprisingly enough) have a winning record in football thus far this year.
With that being said, the conference needs to act on the elite status of the Big 12 and lure teams to the conference.
The Big 12 has gotten through two crisis periods thus far. The biggest question for the Big 12 now is where do they go from here.
The Big 12 needs to go get teams, stabilize the conference and give the conference a long, bright future.
Louisville, Ky. and Provo, Utah, the locations of Louisville and Brigham Young are two primetime markets that are reportedly open to the reaping of the Big 12. Morgantown, W.Va. is also an amazing opportunity for the Big 12 to expand eastward and reach a wider audience. If the Big 12 got BYU and WVU, the reach of the conference would be over 1,900 miles across the country. It is time to make the Big 12 a national brand that other conferences fear.
Finally, I do not believe the Big 12 and its member schools should so freely let Texas A&M leave. Now that the conference has an upper hand and it is moving towards stabilization, it should pursue the Aggies for all they have. Earn some money for the conference that will further entice teams to stay.
The Big 12 survived having its head jammed under water for a long period of time. Now that it’s up and done gasping for air, the conference as a whole needs to take the offensive and get the conference back to the prestige it was at just a few years ago.