After months of anticipation, Big 12 expansion came to an end as the conference announced it would not be expanding in the near future at a press conference Monday evening. For potential expansion candidates like UConn, this means that the financial payday that a Power 5 conference provides are a little bit farther away, if they ever come at all. With so much indecision by the conference before its “unanimous” decision to not expand Monday night, The Daily Campus sports section weighs in on whether the Big 12 made the right choice Monday night.
Stephanie Sheehan, Associate Managing Editor
I can’t say for certain whether the Big 12 made the right or wrong decision in terms of expansion, but I can say that it’s a blessing in disguise for UConn that it didn’t end up happening. For starters, UConn is a legit contender in both men’s and women’s soccer (the men’s team averages second in the nation for attendance!), and the Big 12 doesn’t even have soccer. Second, the Big 12 would be average at best for basketball. Sure, there’s Oklahoma, but that’s kind of it. We’re going to be playing them in the coming years anyway. Lastly, the Big 12 expansion would be a football decision. As much as the Big 12 would be a good look for UConn football for potential recruits, we can barely handle ourselves in the American. Of course there are pros to getting into a Power 5 conference, but there are better ones out there that have toyed with the idea of expansion (I’m looking at you, Big 10 and ACC). Here’s to hoping that in the future, it actually amounts to something substantial for UConn athletics.
Matthew Kren, Staff Writer
The Big 12 is a joke and expansion talk was its one way to remain relevant in regards to today’s news. First off, the conference has ten teams, which defies its name and makes everyone confused from the onset.
Secondly, for a “power football conference,” it only has three teams ranked in the top 25, with its highest being Baylor at No. 9. The SEC, Big 10, Pac 12 and ACC each have a team in the top five as Alabama, Ohio State, Washington and Clemson have all looked like playoff material this year. The Big 12’s top three teams, Baylor, West Virginia and Oklahoma have no wins over ranked opponents as all three are non-serious contenders.
I would take the two American Athletic Conference teams, Houston and Navy, over the Big 12 this year. The Big 12 is starting to become irrelevant in the only sport it considers itself good at.
Chris Hanna, Staff Writer
No one other than the Big 12 big wigs really knows why they decided not to expand the conference on Monday night. However, I’m sure everybody can agree that they made a horrible decision by not doing so.
The current format of the Big 12 without a conference championship in football is laughable at best and having only 10 teams in the conference doesn’t exactly help the cause. Yes, the Big 12 approved the addition of a conference championship for 2017, but with only 10 teams, the conference lacks the depth for new teams to compete year after year.
On the basketball side of things, I’m amazed that more Big 12 schools didn’t push for the addition of at least Cincinnati, SMU or UConn. The conference needs more credibility in basketball to challenge teams like Oklahoma and Kansas to look better for the NCAA tournament committee and adding a team like UConn, especially, would’ve been a huge help.
All in all, I believe that the Big 12 made a huge mistake by not expanding this week and pushing it off for another time. From a UConn fan’s perspective, however, I’m glad we weren’t accepted. The only conferences we should be in are the ACC or the Big 10.
Rachel Schaefer, Campus Correspondent
Expansion would have been a great thing for the Big 12, economically speaking. It’s still looking to increase its television revenue, and adding another team in a big sports market would have made that all the more lucrative. The area that the Big 12 teams typically compete in are all extremely close together and not demanding a huge audience from the other side of the country. Reaching east could have brought in a lot more money for it. That being said, I think UConn would not have been a good fit for the Big 12 anyway. Kansas would be the only real basketball competition, and UConn needs to remember that this is a basketball-oriented school.
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Hanna is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com
Rachel Schaefer is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org