Rob Higgins supporting Bulls' Big 12 pursuit
The prominent USF alumnus whose group has helped Tampa land some of the most prestigious events in college sports says he's ready and willing to help USF land a Big 12 invitation.
Tampa Bay Sports Commission executive director Rob Higgins, who led the area's successful bid for this season's College Football Playoff national title game, told the Tampa Bay Times on Friday he and Bulls athletic director Mark Harlan "have talked on the Big 12 front," and he's willing to assist his alma mater's Big 12 pursuit.
Higgins wouldn't detail the extent of his conversations with Harlan, or the role he'd play in the school's strategy.
"I don't want to get into any specifics or anything related to it," Higgins said. "But again, I have a very close relationship (with Harlan) and we're here to support USF as we always have.
"I think it would be great for our market. I think it would be a tremendous asset for that conference, and anything that our organization can do to support that effort, we stand ready to do it."
During Higgins' 12 years as TBSC executive director, Tampa has hosted or been awarded the upcoming CFP title game, three NCAA Women's Final Fours, two Frozen Fours, two NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament opening weekends, the '07 ACC men's tournament and the '22 SEC men's tourney.
ESPN reported Friday that Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby will conduct video conferences with 17 schools that have expressed interest in joining the 10-team conference. USF reportedly is one of those schools.
"(Harlan) and I have talked on the Big 12 front and I think they've got a very compelling case," Higgins said.