The Big 12 remains a 10-team conference for now, but if Dan Beebe‘s league loses Texas A&M and/or possibly Missouri to the SEC, the much-depleted group will either have to permanently disband, or find suitable replacements.
Finding valuable new members at this point in the game would be difficult. Potentially losing A&M and/or Missouri would be a crippling blow and there aren’t many available candidates that would provide at least equal value to the Big 12 as those members.
BYU, while a viable option, says they haven’t heard from the Big 12 — yet.
“Well, I think there is something going on,” BYU AD Tom Holmoe told the Salt Lake Tribune. “From our perspective, we have not been contacted by anybody. Never have.
“It is our feel that we are going to move forward. We have a big, big football season ahead of us, and there are a lot of things going on right now within our program that move us forward to independence, [such as] ESPN and BYU broadcasting. So our strength is moving ahead.”
Like every other program in the country at this point in time, BYU is looking out for their best interest, both financially and from a stability standpoint. The Cougars made the decision last year to go the independent route, and are still exploring the benefits of that move.
The Big 12 would have to make more sense for BYU than football independence for them to move back into a conference. There are exit fees from the West Coast Conference, which houses BYU’s other athletic teams to consider. How would the Cougars’ television deal with ESPN be affected? There are certainly options to consider.
Assuming BYU gets the call, which apparently hasn’t come yet.
“Certainly, regarding football and what we would do, I am not going to get into anything because nothing has even been said,” Holmoe insisted.
UPDATED 8:30 p.m. ET: Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com notes that if the Big 12 were to “expand” following a departure from A&M, it would likely be by one. In other words, a replacement.
BYU, Air Force, TCU and Houston were the schools mentioned by name.