You can never really kill conference expansion talk. You can forestall it. You can shelve it for the time being. You can hit it with the old “not at this time” dodge.
But it will be back. It always is. And such appears now to be the case with the Big 12, in which one particularly influential member reportedly has decided it’d be better to not expand at all than to expand just to do it.
Carlton is referring to David Boren, a former United States senator who has been OU’s president since 1994. Boren emitted a statement to the press this afternoon saying he didn’t know where that rumor came from and that Oklahoma hadn’t taken a position on expansion. But Boren has been hinting at this. Two weeks ago he caused a stir when he said expansion wasn’t a given, and The Dallas Morning News today reported that Boren’s presumed vote of nay more or less tossed a bucket of cold water on the whole idea.
Expansion, which looked like the most likely outcome with two schools, now appears to be in doubt. The Big 12, after a process that included as many as 20 candidates, could be in a position of confirming the dysfunctional image that Boren had publicly decried.
The DMN figures Oklahoma State will go along with whatever Oklahoma does, leaving the eight remaining Big 12 schools to pick two new schools from a pool of what seems to be three — Houston, Cincinnati and BYU.
Well, you know how that goes. Does the rest of the league want another Texas school in a league that already relies heavily on the state for recruiting, and already has the TV markets locked up? Is West Virginia cool with adding Cincinnati? Do any of them want to deal with BYU? Can they all agree?
It seems unlikely this is going to go anywhere without Oklahoma’s approval, which means it looks unlikely this is going anywhere.
Until next time.