A four-person Big 12 subcommittee tasked with exploring expansion held a videoconference on Friday, and Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt told ESPN nobody in the Big 12 has directly contacted any other schools about membership yet.
“Not to my knowledge,” he said. “There’s nothing imminent.”
Hocutt is one of the four members of the subcommittee along with Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades, Iowa State president Wendy Wintersteen, and Kansas chancellor Douglas A. Girod. The group was formed in July following the historic decision of Big 12 co-founders Texas and Oklahoma to join the SEC.
Hocutt said the remaining eight schools need to consider how they are going to strengthen the conference from a football standpoint, and that it’s still “fairly in the preliminary stages.” He said Texas and Oklahoma continue to pledge to the rest of the conference that they will honor their grant of rights agreement through the 2024-25 season.
“I think we’ve really got to be careful and thinking through this the sequencing of decisions and timeline in the months ahead,” Hocutt said. “… We know that we’re going to continue to be an Autonomy Five conference. We still plan to have our continued standing in the College Football Playoff, so we need to think through how we’re going to strengthen this conference from a football standpoint.”
The Pac-12’s announcement on Thursday that it doesn’t plan to pursue expansion “at this time” was a boost to the Big 12’s chances of adding teams and remaining a viable conference. The reality remains that the Big 12 will have to add schools from the Group of 5 conferences in order to become whole again after Texas and OU leave.
Hocutt said he remains “extremely confident” in the Big 12’s ability to remain strong even without the league’s biggest brands.
“I think we can operate and move forward from position of strength and as a Power 5 conference,” he said. “I think we think we’ve got a lot of a lot to sell and a lot to build around.”
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