Report: Big 12 won't expand
One of the most prolonged, preposterous teases in college athletics finally ended Monday when presidents of the Big 12 Conference decided not to expand and remain a 10-team outfit instead.
USF, among 11 expansion finalists vetted by the conference, was notified by phone of the league's decision late Monday afternoon. An official statement from school officials is expected after a Big 12 press conference Monday evening.
Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel and Chip Brown of HornsDigest.com, both citing anonymous sources, reported the news first Monday afternoon.
ESPN's Jake Trotter reported none of the expansion candidates garnered the super majority (eight of 10 votes) required to receive an invitation to join the league.
The presidents met Sunday and Monday at a hotel near the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, adjourning earlier than expected Monday afternoon. Their decision comes almost three months to the day after the Big 12's board of directors unanimously agreed to authorize Commissioner Bob Bowlsby to explore candidates for expansion.
USF and the other 10 finalists made formal, in-person presentations to league officials in Texas in early September.
The Bulls' bid included three videos (with testimonials from local dignitaries such as Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dungy and former Yankees star Tino Martinez); a 28-slide presentation; and a five-page, data-driven case statement for Big 12 inclusion.
But if Monday's early reports hold true, it's rendered all for naught, leaving USF outside of the nation's prestigious conference quintent known as the "Power Five."
The Bulls, who joined the American Athletic Conference in 2013 after the dissolution of the old Big East, were hoping for a quantum upgrade in money and stature by joining a conference with a television deal that pays each school roughy $20 million annually.
By contrast, the AAC's TV deal (with ESPN and CBs) pays a fraction of that ($126 million total over seven years).
With added millions each year, USF would've been in a position to (A) retain its most successful coaches by paying them more, (B) continue upgrading its facilities, and (C) get serious about adding an on-campus football stadium.
Today, the status quo prevails.