The Big 12 Expansion Tour rolls on, and the folks in Walter White land have requested a stop.
New Mexico president Robert G. Frank penned a letter to Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby shortly after the Big 12’s expansion announcement, toting the Lobos’ credentials to join the league. (Read the full text here.)
“Sports reporters, ESPN broadcasters, and all the other outlets are advancing many names for possible Big 12 expansion. None of those universities or colleges can match the athletic and academic prowess of The University of New Mexico (UNM), a school which is not only within the Big 12’s regional footprint, but is a research institution with a diverse student population and a rich cultural history. UNM fits the core values of the conference’s peer institutions, and has a collegiate fan base and media base to match.”
New Mexico does have a unique profile to offer the Big 12 in that they are:
A) A flagship university (adding a “University of [Your State Here]” does bring a certain cache that city (Cincinnati, Memphis) or directional (South Florida, Central Florida) schools can’t match).
B) a flagship university that isn’t all the way in Connecticut.
C) hold complete control over an emerging media market (Albuquerque ranks 48th; the Big 12 only has two top-50 media markets outside of Texas at present in Kansas City and Oklahoma City).
It’s safe to say New Mexico is a long shot. Any team that plays in a stadium that seats less than 40,000 people and hasn’t won a conference title since 1964 — that won a conference that no longer even plays football — has to be considered such, no matter what their other metrics may be.
As for the current state of the Lobos’ candidacy, AD Paul Krebs played mum to the Albuquerque Journal.
“I really can’t say much more than there has been communication with the Big 12 office back and forth,” Krebs told the paper. “… I think it’s safe to say that some of the conversations we’ve had with the Big 12 were held in confidence and they’ve given us a sense of their timetable, but beyond that, I’m really not at liberty to comment.”