Big 12 Looking to Get Bigger
Posted by: Charlie Smith
NCAA football betting fans that are picking favorites in the Big 12 might have more teams to consider in the near future. The latest news in college football is that the Big 12 Conference is looking to get even bigger. When the conference was first founded back in 1996 it lived up to its name by actually being made up of 12 schools. Then with the 2010-13 Big 12 Conference realignment the conference was reduced to just 10 teams. Brand recognition and clarity are the driving reasons behind the conference keeping it name. It’s worked hard to be recognized as the Big 12 and there already is a conference called the Big 10 (which currently has 14 teams). Now it looks like the Big 12 is looking to get rid of some of the confusion by adding more schools to its conference. NCAA football betting fans will be hoping they add only 2, in order to prevent any further confusion when they bet at their favorite sportsbook.
In fact it seems that there is a mutual interest, in both the conference and potential suitors, to expand the Power Five league. The 10 members were unanimous in their decision to request the commissioner of the Big 12, Bob Bowlsby, to start the vetting process. The Big 12 is not being stingy with its money; last year the conference paid out nearly $30 million per member school. The majority of that money came from the 13-year television deal that the Big 12 currently has with ESPN and Fox. While the deal runs through 2024 – 2025 and is reportedly worth an average of $20 million per school, adding other members would result in less money being distributed. The Big 12 combats this issue however by not distributing equal shares to new member schools. This ensures that schools that have been members the longest don’t have to take significant pay cuts. For example TCU and West Virginia received their first full share last season, after spending 4 years in the conference. In the end whichever schools are willing to take the longest pay cuts will be more likely to be accepted into the Big 12.
Ultimately, the Big 12 is betting that expansion will produce more profits. Just like the Big Ten added Rutgers and Maryland to increase its influence in the East Coast, the Big 12 will be looking to broaden its horizon. Having members all over the nation will result in even more lucrative TV deals for the conference. There are several schools lining up at the door for the Big 12. UCF, UConn, and Memphis have all sent letters to different member schools explaining why they would be good additions to the conference.
On top of bringing in more revenue the Big 12 is looking to increase its chances for a national title. The Big 12 is currently the smallest of the power conferences and is the only one without a championship game. This will be changing in 2017 as the Big 12 has announced that it will begin to hold a conference title game. NCAA football betting fans might have to change some of their favorites if the Big 12 does indeed decide to expand.