Texas Longhorns

ANNAPOLIS, MD - OCTOBER 08:  Head coach Tom Herman of the Houston Cougars looks on during a football game against the Navy Midshipmen at Navy-Marines Memorial Stadium on October 8, 2016 in Annapolis, Maryland.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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Houston officials talking ‘reasonable’ extension for Tom Herman


With Big 12 expansion off the table, most observers see Tom Herman not being long for the Houston job.  Still, the university is doing, or will do, its best to hang on to a man who will be one of the hottest commodities on the next spinning of the coaching carousel.

UH athletic director Hunter Yurachek told the Houston Chronicle that he has had “very general discussions” with those above him about offering Herman another revamped contract.  In November of last year, UH Board of Regents approved a new contract for Herman that would bump his salary from $1.45 million this season to $3 million, easily the most of any head coach in the AAC.

Last month, Yurachek revealed that Herman’s contract would contain a provision that stipulates the coach would receive a $5 million bonus if the Cougars moved from the AAC to one of the Power Five conferences.  The two sides had signed a memo of understanding regarding the payment prior to the Big 12’s decision to stay at 10 members.

As for the parameters of any extension added to the current deal, and while he will attempt to make it difficult for Herman to leave, Yurachek stated that the school “has to be reasonable” given its current revenue streams from the AAC.

“We have what I consider to be one of the hottest coaching commodities in all of college football,” Yurachek said. “It’s my job to continue to do due diligence and work with (president Renu) Khator and (board of regents) chairman Tilman Fertitta and put together parameters for what potentially could be a new contract offer for coach Herman as we look toward the future and retaining him as head coach.”

It’s widely expected that Baylor and LSU — and Texas, too, if Charlie Strong is dismissed as some surmise — will heavily pursue Herman as the regular season winds down.

Texas governor: ‘Big 12 owes a lot of people an apology’

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 04:  Texas Governor Greg Abbott is seen on the field prior to the game between the Texas Longhorns and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2016 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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As governor of the state of Texas, Greg Abbott had a very vested interest in the Big 12’s next move when it came to its membership numbers moving forward.  And, like a lot of people, Abbott was left with a bitter taste in his mouth.

Houston was one of a handful of teams under consideration by the Big 12 as the conference flirted with expansion for the past several months.  Abbott has long been a proponent of UH to the Big 12, tweeting back in July that “expansion is a non-starter unless it includes University of Houston.”

Three months later, expansion, period, was a non-starter as the conference opted to stick with its current 10 members, going so far as to not even voting on whether or not to add specific schools even after those universities very publicly made pitches for inclusion.

How the process played out was the (rightly) subject of derision and criticism by those in the media.  It was an embarrassment and black eye for an already battered league, something that Abbott, a University of Texas graduate, was quick to jump on.

Here’s to guessing that, once the Big 12’s grant of rights is up in less than a decade, the conference will cease to exist and those like Abbott may fee a sense of relief those they supported were snubbed in this go ’round.

Houston, BYU, UConn and others release statements on Big 12 non-expansion

PROVO, UT - OCTOBER 14: General view of LaVell Edwards Stadium and the field logo before the game between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Brigham Young Cougars on October 14, 2016 in Provo Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The Big 12 officially announced on Monday evening that the league would not be expanding and will not add any universities to the conference.

The news puts an end to a rather lengthy process that involved nearly every school outside of the Power Five in some form or fashion. As the result of the decision, many of those programs rumored to be on the Big 12’s short list released statements on the matter.

Here’s BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe:

“The announcement by the Big 12 Conference against expansion is not unexpected and is indicative of the volatile world of college athletics administration,” UConn president Susan Herbst said in a statement, while also releasing the promotional materials the school used in their pitch to the Big 12. “While I am sure many in our community are nervous about what this means for our future, I am confident that we have put our best foot forward in considerable effort to demonstrate how we currently operate our university and athletics programs at a ‘Power 5’ level and will continue to do so.”

“The Big 12’s decision in no way changes the mission of the University of Houston that began long before there was talk of conference expansion. UH is a diverse Tier One research institution that is on the move,” Cougars president Renu Khator said in a statement. “We remain committed to strengthening our nationally competitive programs in academics and athletics that allow  our student-athletes to compete on a national stage. We are confident that in this competitive athletics landscape, an established program with a history of winning championships and a demonstrated commitment to talent and facilities in the nation’s fourth largest city will find its rightful place. Our destiny belongs to us.”

Even South Florida released a statement on Monday after the Big 12 Board of Directors meeting.

“We are on a path to greatness at USF, reminding everyone in the Bulls Family why we are proud of who we are, how far we have come and what lies ahead,” athletic director Mark Harlan said. “Our student-athletes, coaches, staff, donors, alumni, fans and community members have propelled our program to profound success in recent years in the American Athletic Conference and I am confident that they will continue to do so in the future.”

The news that the Big 12 would not expand is no doubt disappointing for many fans from everywhere from Provo to Storrs to Houston to Tampa.

While administrators had a much more realistic idea of the process and what the eventual outcome was going to be, one thing everybody can agree on is to be thankful that this dog and pony show of Big 12 expansion is finally over.

It’s official: Big 12 unanimously decides not to expand

FILE - In this July 18, 2016, file photo, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby addresses attendees during Big 12 media day in Dallas. The Big 12 board of directors meets Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Dallas and the topic of expansion will be addressed.  Not necessarily decided, but definitely addressed. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
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It’s official.

In a “unanimous” decision, the Big 12 Board of Directors announced on Monday that the conference would not be expanding and adding any new schools to the league.

“We decided after a very thorough discussion to remain at 10 members,” Oklahoma president and board chair David Boren said. “We came to the decision that this is not the right time for expansion.”

Among the other highlights from the league’s press conference in Dallas:

  • There was no discussion of any individual schools getting into the conference
  • There was no vote on any schools or any polls of support for any university
  • The process to expand or not is no longer an agenda item being considered by the Big 12. Both Boren and Bowlsby said “never say never” however.
  • There will be no Big 12 Network at the current moment as the result of “market place forces” but it is not being ruled out completely in the future
  • Extending the conference’s grant of rights did not come up in the board’s discussions
  • The process of holding a conference title game moved forward and further details will be handled by the 10 athletic directors
  • There was no talk about the ESPN/Fox television contracts being renegotiated at this time

“I made one recommendation. We should bring this process to closure,” commissioner Bob Bowlsby added. “We shouldn’t kick the can down the road.”

The news no doubt comes as a blow to schools like Houston, BYU and Cincinnati among others who were hoping the Big 12 would expand by two or four schools and they would be able to join the Power Five as a result.

Big 12 expansion decision coming Monday?

Matt Ritchey
Associated Press

After months of speculation, the end, one way or another, could be near for one of the biggest off-field storylines in college football over the past several months.

The Big 12’s board of directors will gather Oct. 17 for a previously-scheduled meeting that will continue the conference’s discussion on expanding the league from 10 to 12 or 14 teams — or staying put — with some previously noting that that date could prove to be D-Day for the group.  With that date fast approaching, that could very well be the case as Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News writes that “[a] news conference has been scheduled after the… meeting, presumably to let everyone know whether the Big 12 will” expand or not.

The speculation of late, especially as it pertains to the reported waning of Oklahoma’s support for expanding, is that the Big 12 could indeed be leaning toward staying at 10 teams, or at the very least tabling the expansion discussion for now.  While “pretty much all the options are on the table,” Carlton writes, the likelihood of standing pat has grown of late.

Sources confirmed Wednesday that pretty much all the options are on the table, including the possibility of football-only membership with Houston and BYU the most likely members. The sources also confirmed that expansion has gone from likelihood about six weeks ago to maybe a 1-in-3 chance.

A total of 20 Group of Five schools, including 10 alone from the AAC, made initial pitches to the Big 12 for inclusion if the conference opted to expand.  Ultimately, nearly a dozen of those made the cut as “finalists.”

Of the 11 that are currently under consideration, seven come from the AAC — Cincinnati, Houston, SMU, Tulane, UCF, UConn, USF — two from the Mountain West — Air Force, Colorado State — and one from Conference USA — Rice. The lone remaining school, BYU, is a football independent.