One of the casualties of the departures of Colorado, Missouri and Texas A&M for other conferences was the loss of the Big 12 championship game. At 10 members following the addition of TCU, the Big 12 falls short of the 12-team-minimum threshold the NCAA requires to conduct a league title game.
If Bob Bowlsby has his way about it, though, his conference will hold a title game sooner rather than later — and do so without raiding another conference to add to its membership roll.
Speaking to the Associated Press Wednesday, the Big 12 commissioner said his conference will likely seek a waiver from the NCAA to conduct a league title game despite having just 10 members. In order to hold a championship game, NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199 (c) states that a conference must be “divided into two divisions (of six or more institutions each), each of which conducts round-robin, regular-season competition among the members of that division.”
Bowlsby points to the NCAA’s recent move to pare down its own rulebook as a reason to waive — or outright eliminate — the title-game requirements.
“At a time when lots of deregulation is taking place, it seems a little bit odd that the NCAA would be describing how we determine our champions,” Bowlsby told the AP.
“I think it’s reasonable to say if you’re going to have a champion that you’re going to have to designate it in one fashion or another. But to say it has to be between 12 schools or that there has to be divisional play or there has to be a round-robin, we’re deregulating lots of things and that certainly is a candidate.”
The Big 12 was the second major conference to conduct a championship game, joining the SEC (1992) back in 1996. Now, it’s the only one of the Big Five — ACC, Big Ten, PAC-12 and SEC — that doesn’t, with the last being played following the 2010 season.
While it appears Bowlsby is speaking on this subject with the approval of a majority the Big 12’s chancellors and presidents, it remains to be seen how the views of one of the most powerful men in the conference have changed.
“I don’t want a championship game,” Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said back in September. “I think five years down the road, for those that have a championship game, those coaches are going to say, ‘Why are we doing this? Why do we have an extra game to get to the [four-team playoff]?'”