Rewind: Recapping the Formation and Evolution of the Big 12 Conference

When mapping out the future, it's often instructive to look back at the past. We take a look at how the Big 12 was formed, and arrived at its current configuration.

Who's going to be added in the current Big 12 Expansion extravaganza? Theories on that are as plentiful as fan fiction in the Star Wars universe, but might it be instructive to look back at the way the conference got to this point? Formed in 1996, the league rose from a merger of the Big 8 and remainders of the Southwest conference, then  saw defections and additions begin in earnest in the early part of this decade.

For West Virginia fans, these moves were the savior of its athletic program. Imagine where the Mountaineers would be right now were it competing in the AAC. There would likely be no major renovation projects underway at the football and basketball venues, or at least drastically scaled down versions of the same. Treading water would have been the best the program could achieve. That's why, of course, the competition and lobbying for the two or four expansion slots will be so fierce over the next few months. Even at the expected lower payout rates the league will eventually execute with the new additions, those amounts will be much bigger than the newbies' current league deals.

More details, including some very interesting background on the maneuvers and machinations of the Big 12 formation and evolution.


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