Oklahoma president David Boren has seemingly been at the forefront of wanting the Big 12 conference to expand from its current 10-member group. But he had a different tune when addressing the media Thursday evening at the Big 12 meetings in Irving, Texas.
“We’re waiting,” Boren said.
Boren and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby were in agreement Thursday about how productive the meetings were. Bowlsby even went as far to say that they were among the most productive and open-minded meetings he has been a part of in the near five years he has been there.
The issue of expansion is not going to go away, but Bowlsby stressed Wednesday this is something that will not be decided this week. These were more information-gathering meetings than anything where some sort of decision was going to be made.
The root of the problem, from the outside looking in, has been Texas. But Boren said Thursday his goal is to not put Texas at any disadvantage.
“Nothing that makes me happier than beating Texas,” Boren said. “I absolutely relish it. But at the same time, I value our friendship.”
Boren said the notion that there are or that there should be some deep-seated feelings with each other is just not right.
He said one huge reason of the stance of they’re waiting regarding expansion is because the Big 12 is not in crisis right now. There is no sense of urgency to make a move because there doesn’t need to be one.
Though Boren wouldn’t go into full detail regarding expansion and expansion candidates, he did give some insight into the process.
“There are some strong people out there that do want to join the conference,” Boren said.
Boren said the conference will also have to be realistic. It is highly unlikely any expansion member will come from a school already in a Power 5 conference. But when asked if any schools from the Group of 5 conferences are candidates who could enhance the Big 12, Boren said that will come at a later day.
“I’d rather not discuss that in any detail,” Boren said.
He did say there will be a number of metrics to examine, ranging from TV markets to academic performance to athletic success. The key, as most everybody would agree on, is to not dilute the conference. Don’t add members just for the sake of adding members. They need to bring something to the table.
There has been a lot of talk about money distribution with the prevailing thought that Texas is taking way too much of the pie in the conference. Although this could be an issue, Boren once again stressed it’s not about making Texas look bad.
“We don’t have to be dollar for dollar or penny for penny with what somebody else is making but we have to be in the neighborhood,” Boren said.