The Florida lawmaker who recently lobbied to the Big 12 on behalf of USF and UCF has received a response from that league's commissioner.
The gist of its message: Thanks, but no thanks.
In a letter dated Jan. 26, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby informed Rep. Robert "Bobby" Olszewski the league currently has no plans to expand. Olszewski, who attended both USF and UCF, recently sent a letter to Bowlsby urging the Big 12 to strongly consider the Bulls and Knights if/when the league expands.
"Thank you for taking the time to contact me," Bowlsby's letter says. "However, I do not foresee a scenario in which expansion would again become an active agenda item for our Board of Directors in the near future.
In his letter to Bowlsby, Olszewski — who worked in radio for USF Athletics while attending the school — pointed out the highly successful seasons recorded by both the Knights (13-0) and Bulls (10-2), and alluded to the glowing ratings generated by their nationally-televised Black Friday contest (a 49-42 UCF triumph).
The Big 12 pondered expansion in 2016, and even vetted 11 finalists, before opting to remain a 10-team outfit. Its current TV contract, which distributes roughly $20 million annually to each of its member institutions, expires in 2025. Whether expansion again is considered before then is unclear.
"I can appreciate your pride for the University of Central Florida and in the University of South Florida," Bowlsby's letter says, "not only as an alumnus of both institutions, but also on the heels of tremendously successful football seasons for the Knights and Bulls."