Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has repeatedly said his league prefers its 10-team membership. Protecting it could mean alliances with other conferences.
But Bowlsby told the Austin American-Statesman on Friday that the Big 12 has had conversations with three other conferences — only the ACC was identified — to discuss scheduling, marketing, bowl games and perhaps television partnerships.
The Big 12 has an alliance with the 14-team Southeastern Conference for the Sugar Bowl, starting in the 2014 season and has had discussions with that conference about a possible basketball challenge series.
“It’s a process of discovery that would provide the benefits of larger membership without actually adding members,” Bowlsby told the paper.
It may also be an attempt to strengthen the leagues in the event of further Big Ten expansion.
The Big Ten announced last November that it was adding Maryland and Rutgers to reach 14 members, and there is speculation that the league could be interested in further expansion. If so, additional teams would come from existing conferences, likely the ACC.