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Big XII declines to expand

Sorry, UH.

The University of Houston’s campaign to join the Big 12 Conference was crushed Monday by the league’s presidents, who ruled out expansion without discussing the merits of any individual applicants, including the confident, fast-rising Cougars.

Bob Bowlsby, the Big 12 commissioner, and University of Oklahoma President David Boren, president of the league’s board of directors, said league CEOs decided unanimously against expansion and agreed to remove the topic as an active agenda item.

They said individual candidates, including UH and Rice University among 11 finalists, were never discussed during meetings Sunday night and a six-hour session Monday.

“We all came to a unanimous decision that this was not the right time (for expansion),” Boren said. “All the information generated was not wasted effort. They (candidate schools) presented themselves in a very fine light, and we appreciate them.”

Those compliments, however, came as cold comfort to schools such as UH that have invested tens of millions of dollars in facility upgrades and coaching salaries in the hopes of joining one of the “Power Five” conferences that hold the financial upper hand in the billion-dollar college sports industry.

So while UH stands among the nation’s elite on the field, ranked No. 11 in the most recent Associated Press football poll and the defending football champion in the American Athletic Conference, it remains on the outside looking in when it comes to the millions in financial spoils that fall to established leagues like the Big 12.

Here’s the official press release about the non-announcement. The Big XII last invited new members in 2011 when TCU and West Virginia joined. UH had been angling for an invitation back then – they’ve been at this for longer than that – but wound up going to the conference formerly known as the Big East instead. I’m not a UH partisan so I don’t have an emotional investment in this; I find the whole neverending game of musical conferences to be amusing and enervating at the same time. It may be that this is a wise decision for the Big XII and it may be that they’re putting short-term and self-interested considerations ahead of their long-term viability. Who knows? The one thing I’m sure of is that this settles nothing. We’ll be back on this rollercoaster before you know it. SB Nation, the Press, and the DMN’s SportsDay have more.

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6 Comments

  1. Paul Kubosh says:

    I am soooooo pisssed. This would have been good for the City of Houston.

  2. C.L. says:

    @ Paul… How ?

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    @C.L.:

    I assumed he meant increased tourism, because alumni will be more likely to travel to an in conference away game. I don’t see a huge boon for the city, even if UH made the cut, but I’ve been wrong before.

  4. Ross says:

    It could have meant $30 million a year more for the UH athletic department, reducing the subsidy from taxpayers.

  5. Paul Kubosh says:

    Arghhhhh screw the big 12. I hope it collapses.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    @Ross:

    Would have been nice.

    @ Paul:

    I still miss the Southwest Conference, so what do I know?