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Big 12 expansion still in play

  • Kansas City Star
  • Published Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, at 10:03 a.m.

More growth for the Big 12?

The subject gained steam on Wednesday when the league’s four-member expansion committee met during a teleconference.

According to a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education, which quoted two anonymous sources, Louisville and Brigham Young were back in play for league membership.

But Bob Burda, the Big 12’s associate commissioner for communications, said no action was taken.

“It was a routine call, with nothing of substance discussed,” Burda said. “No further calls or meetings are scheduled at this time.”

BYU and Louisville were considered by the Big 12 when the league looked to replenish after losing Missouri and Texas A&M to the Southeastern Conference.

The Big 12 added TCU and West Virginia and there had been no indication that further expansion was on the horizon.

Besides, West Virginia’s inclusion is more immediate concern.

The Mountaineers and Big 12 are planning the move that the Big East is blocking through the courts.

The Big 12 is expected to have its 2012 football schedule completed soon, perhaps by Feb. 1 and it’s expected to include the Mountaineers.

A judge in Rhode Island, where the Big East office is located, has ordered a non-binding mediation between the parties and scheduled a status conference for Feb. 9.

Whatever happens, one conference could be in trouble when it comes to football scheduling.

The Big 12 is counting on West Virginia to help fulfill its obligation to Fox Sports Net, which begins a 13-year deal for about $1.2 billion for second-tier, cable television rights beginning this season. The deal is contingent on a 10-team league. Without 10, Fox could renegotiate for a lesser amount.

Also, without West Virginia the schedule, Big 12 teams would have to add another non-conference game, a difficult task so close to the beginning of the season.

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