Big 12 athletic directors will meet in suburban Dallas on Monday and Tuesday. With a report surfacing earlier in the week that officials would have a “philosophical” discussion about expansion, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby gave some insight on Friday where the league could be headed.
In an interview with the Austin American-Statesman, Bowlsby said the league has had alliance discussions with three other conferences.
“The ACC is one of them. It’s a process of discovery that would provide some of the benefits of larger membership without actually adding members.”
Bowlsby would not name the other two leagues, although the Pac-12 is believed to be one of them. He also told that the paper that an alliance – which would cover areas like scheduling, marketing and possible television partnerships – is not necessarily a precursor to expansion.
“If anything, it’s the opposite. You can begin to get some advantages without taking on any of the disadvantages (of expansion). It’s one option that allows benefits. It’s kind of like friends with benefits.”
Any alliance would include football and basketball and could spread to other sports. On Wednesday, Orangebloods.com reported that Bowlsby’s interested was piqued in December when a report surfaced that Florida State had reached out to the Big Ten about possible membership.
Meanwhile the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch obtained minutes of a meeting in December where Ohio State president Gordon Gee is quoted as saying he “believes there is movement towards three or four super conferences that are made up of 16-20 teams.”
Responding to a student question about where the league might go, Gee said:
“There are opportunities to move further south in the (E)ast and possibly a couple of Midwest universities.”
The Big 10 has reportedly tried to gauge the interest of several ACC schools. ESPN, picking up on the “Midwest universities” part of the quote, asks if that could be good news for Kansas.