Big 12 Mock Expansion: Can the Mustangs win the race?

UConn defeats SMU 68-62 at the XL Center in Hartford on Feb. 18, 2016. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Since the Big 12 announced that it would at least consider adding new members this summer, expansion rumors have been the talk of college athletics. While an unofficial list of 11 schools has floated around the Internet and a few serious candidates have emerged, The Daily Campus sports section has decided to take matters into its own hands with its mock Big 12 expansion. Ten staff members represented the 10 Big 12 schools as their respective university’s presidents and voted on a list of the 11 candidates rumored to still be in the mix. Out of the 11 candidates, six made the cut before the final expansion members are selected next week. The second of the final six candidates profiled in the DC mock Big 12 expansion series is Southern Methodist University.

As the number of schools on the Big 12 expansion list starts to dwindle, one of the schools still remaining is Southern Methodist University, better known as SMU. Located in Dallas, Texas SMU is currently in the American Athletic Conference. While the school has stated that they are happy in the conference, there are definitely pros to them being admitted into the Big 12.

The biggest factor SMU brings to the table is its location. There are direct flights available from the nearest airport to nine of the ten Big 12 schools, and the campus is a short drive from Big 12 headquarters in Irving, Texas. This would give players less time traveling and more time doing beneficial activities such as studying or practicing. Another positive aspect of SMU is its academic record. They are ranked No. 56 nationally and, if included in the conference, they would be ranked second behind Texas.

Even though SMU has struggled in gaining football attendance with a 23-39 record in the past five years, they have a rich athletic history. Their men’s basketball team has really been growing the last five years under the coaching of Larry Brown, although he recently stepped down and was replaced by Tim Jankovich. Their games are consistently sold-out and draw large crowds. In addition, the school, as a whole, has won eight team national championships.

The last advantage SMU has in getting into the Big 12 is that they have invested quite a bit of money into their athletic facilities. Since 2000, they have put $200 million into their facilities.

As far as what SMU could gain from entering the Big 12, the biggest benefit is program recognition. They would most likely get a lot more people watching and attending their football games. Their games would also be televised more often as Big 12 games are televised frequently. From this they could gain a steady viewership and fan base. The school would also gain a lot more in revenue from ticket sales and merchandise.

As of now SMU is a decent candidate for the Big 12 mostly because of location and their athletic history. However, their location may hurt them because the recruiting process in Texas is already strong and competitive. Schools down there are already scrappy enough when it comes to recruiting that another Texas school in the Big 12 could really exacerbate the problem. For SMU to really be considered they need to prove to the Big 12 that they are truly committed to their athletics and that the Big 12 could benefit from a school that is conveniently located.  


Mariana Dominguez is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at mariana.dominguez@uconn.edu.