Big 12 expansion: How adding BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, UCF may change college football’s power structure

The Massive 12 is more likely to develop again to its unique variety of 12 members for the primary time since 2010 as of Friday. That is when BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will take a big step towards becoming a member of the league following a vote of Massive 12 presidents, sources inform CBS Sports activities.

The hope is that the addition of these 4 groups will considerably counter the Massive 12’s losses of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC.

In the meantime, fallout from the addition of these groups will redefine what it means to be a “energy” convention and probably affect a good portion of school athletics.

For the second, it appears to be like just like the Massive 12 will stay a Energy 5 league, although one with solely eight of its unique members. These eight have caught collectively lengthy sufficient for a realignment lifesaver to return their approach. Helping issues is the Pac-12 publicly stating it will not increase and the alliance shaped between it, the Massive Ten and the ACC.

School athletics is ready for the SEC to say out loud it will not increase past 16. The league has performed sufficient harm to the Massive 12. Regardless, the query turns into whether or not a league with out Texas and Oklahoma to outline it might probably stay large time.

“I am assured the Massive 12 goes to retain Energy 5 standing,” stated Chuck Neinas, the league’s commissioner from 1971-80 who served it once more in an interim position from 2011-12. “Will [Greg] Sankey say no?”

Neinas was being facetious suggesting the SEC commissioner owes the Massive 12 an alignment favor. However he’s not far off the mark. A reconstituted Massive 12 can be the lowest-resourced Energy 5 convention. It might have fewer manufacturers and main metro markets than any of the opposite 4.

Higher to be on the proper aspect of the road that defines haves vs. have nots in faculty athletics. The retention of the Massive 12 within the Energy 5 mannequin would give it 69 major-conference faculties with 61 so-called Group of 5 faculties under that line.

It might be the primary time since not less than the start of the College Football Playoff in 2014 the place there was a majority of groups on the prime stage.

Due to that, the Massive 12’s future could possibly be a easy case of kill or be killed. The SEC focused the 2 faculties that basically made it a fascinating convention to the networks. Now, the Massive 12 faces raiding the lower-resourced American Athletic Convention to get greater. There may be little option to hold the Massive 12 within the Energy 5.

“[Commissioner] Bob Bowlsby has sufficient clout to make it keep as it’s,” one Energy 5 athletic director stated. 

However why ought to the Massive 12 be grandfathered right into a Energy 5 designation? The reply to that tops the listing of implications of the Massive 12’s growth.

There will probably be a domino impact

An informed guess is that AAC commissioner Mike Aresco, having misplaced three faculties, will act rapidly to raid different conferences himself. Which applications may exchange Cincinnati, Houston and UCF? This is some prospects.

  • Boise State: An aggressive pursuit of the Broncos cooled when COVID-19 hit in March 2020. Time to circle again round?
  • Louisiana: Billy Napier has confirmed you’ll be able to win large in Lafayette, Louisiana.
  • Appalachian State: An remoted however a confirmed winner at this stage.
  • UTSA: Alternative program from the Lone Star State. Jeff Traylor has rapidly turned across the workforce surrounded by Texas schoolboy expertise. Influential booster Tilman Fertitta is totally onboard.
  • North Texas: One other Texas candidate with a loyal fan base and spectacular amenities.

Clearly, including all or any these groups would affect the Mountain West, Convention USA and/or Solar Belt.

Aresco seemingly must do one thing. If commissioner Craig Thompson retains Boise State, the Mountain West would grow to be essentially the most highly effective Group of 5 convention. It has rising applications in San Jose State, Fresno State, Nevada and San Diego State.

Aresco might need to attempt a coast-to-coast transfer like what he thought of 9 years in the past. Again then, he tried to increase Massive East soccer by including groups like San Diego State and Boise State to the UConns of his league. The transfer fell aside, the Massive East turned a basketball-only league, and Aresco shaped the AAC.

A extra excessive choice

One line of considering is to realign all Group of 5 applications geographically. Rip up the leagues and begin from scratch with an alignment that’s extra pleasant to the journey budgets and backside traces.

That will be troublesome, but when the American has a league composition clause in its ESPN contract — thereby lowering its payout if it loses too many groups — backside traces are going to grow to be extra essential.

An much more excessive choice

Whereas the NCAA decentralizes and reconsiders its structure giving extra governance energy to the conferences, there’s an historic footnote. It is already been performed. Nearly 50 years in the past, the ability faculties banded collectively to struggle the NCAA over tv rights. The School Soccer Affiliation turned its personal governance entity.

Not solely did it struggle the NCAA, it helped move guidelines on educational reform and scholarship limitations. It advocated for the NCAA subdividing into Division I, II, II, I-A and I-AA. Division I-A (now FBS) then divided additional as a governance entities over the last decade into what we all know as we speak because the Energy 5 conferences and Group of 5 conferences. These labels outlined not solely soccer however generally the notion of their establishments.

When the CFA was shaped in 1977, there have been 153 Division I faculties. The CFA was a precursor to the Energy 5. It was made up of the highest 63 faculties and represented their tv rights in what would grow to be a landmark Supreme Court docket case.

That meant there have been 90 Division I faculties exterior the CFA, what we’d name the Group of 5 as we speak. That equated to 59% of Division I. If the Massive 12 stays Energy 5, that Group of 5 quantity would shrink to 47%.

Of these 90 faculties, 41 are not in FBS. These applications both dropped the game or cease funding soccer on the highest stage. If the listing of have nots continues to shrink. What, then, is their future?

To be decided is what playoff entry these 61 faculties will probably be given. Solely three of them (Hawaii, Memphis and Boise State) would have been to what’s referred to as a present New 12 months’s Six Bowl since 1970? A fourth, UConn, is an unbiased. What would the networks pay for that diminished group of colleges?

The Energy 5 was outlined in 2015 by the ACC, Massive Ten, Massive 12, Pac-12 and SEC wanting the “autonomy” to set a few of their very own NCAA guidelines. They received their approach. That second is memorialized within the NCAA Guide. To today, these conferences are granted these autonomous (weighted) voting rights.

Why finish the ruthlessness now? This can be a possibility for the 69 Energy 5 faculties and their conferences to interrupt away for good, limiting entry to the playoff whereas forming their very own governance entity. It could not occur this time round, however this version of realignment is making it clear it is a helluva lot extra seemingly than ever earlier than.

However will the brand new Massive 12 truly be an influence league?

With the NCAA about to rewrite its structure, there’s the query whether or not the Massive 12 retains that autonomy designation. Extra essential is whether or not the league stays a “energy” convention because it involves playoff entry.

That big-time standing was enhanced within the CFP period when all 5 leagues entered into agreements with the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl. Going ahead, the Energy 5 will probably be outlined when the commissioners themselves get in a room and resolve the construction and income related to an expanded bracket.

“There is a qualitative fan viewpoint: Do they play ample soccer?” stated an advisor to the Massive 12 growth course of. “Do they earn that? I believe the reply is sure.

The second is legalistic. The [Autonomy Five] designation is within the NCAA bylaws. I do not assume that is going to alter.”

Massive 12 sources agree. Commissioner Bob Bowlsby instructed CBS Sports activities that his league retaining Energy 5 standing is just not a priority. A Massive 12 AD who helped vet the 4 faculties agreed.

The newly-formed “alliance” is on board with the Massive 12. Commissioners of the Massive Ten, ACC and Pac-12 went out of their option to compliment the Big 12 final month.

“The Energy 5 continues to be the Energy 5,” stated Massive Ten commissioner Kevin Warren. “We really feel this can be a very sturdy, strong, highly effective first step to say issues will probably be OK. Issues will probably be higher. We’re keen to be collaborative.”

These alliance commissioners additionally did not invite the Massive 12 to their unique membership. The alliance was shaped basically as a option to tackle the SEC’s perceived rising energy over the game.

When and the way the CFP expands could take a while. As proposed, an expanded 12-team playoff would come with the highest six convention champions plus six at-large groups. That is a win for the Group of 5, which might have an computerized spot (or two) to compete for every year. However as latest occasions have confirmed, nothing is for certain, together with playoff growth itself.

These Group of 5 conferences at present cut up $90 million per 12 months from the CFP. That is 22% of the entire income. The Energy 5 get $66 million every yearly. In an expanded playoff, Energy 5 leagues are anticipated to net approach north of $100 million every only for taking part.

“That is the crucial query,” that Massive 12 guide stated. “If there’s important growth, it should imply important cash.” 

Earlier than that call is made, it must be thought of the Massive 12 grabbed an unbiased and three of essentially the most completed Group of 5 faculties: BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF. Their complete variety of what are actually referred to as New 12 months’s Six bowls (Orange, Rose, Fiesta, Cotton, Sugar, Peach): 11.

Texas and Oklahoma’s mixed complete: 73.

You’ll be able to see the climb the Massive 12 is going through to maintain its relevance.

What has emerged as a form of relegation course of, just like European soccer. These golf equipment that do not carry out over time go to a decrease stage and should work their approach again up. Over the last spherical of realignment, solely Utah and TCU got here from non-BCS leagues to be awarded Energy 5 standing within the Pac-12 and Massive 12, respectively.

The Massive 12’s newest growth would reward 4 faculties at present exterior the normal energy construction. UCF itself claimed a nationwide championship after going 13-0 in 2017 however has sponsored soccer solely since 1979. Cincinnati has been to a few BCS/New 12 months’s Six bowls, all since 2009. BYU received a nationwide championship in 1984 as a member of the WAC. Houston was previously the member of a significant league within the previous Southwest Convention. UCF and Cincinnati are tied for the best closing CFP rating by a Group of 5 program, No. 8.

Massive 12 growth notes

Geography would not matter: Solely Houston can be in a Massive 12 state. Like West Virginia, UCF, Cincinnati and BYU are a number of states away from the closest Massive 12 faculty.

Issues about BYU have been addressed, sources inform CBS Sports activities. As a result of it’s a faith-based establishment it doesn’t play Sunday. That won’t be an issue within the Massive 12. Additionally, its 2016 candidacy for the Massive 12 might have been scuttled by a letter to Bowlsby elevating considerations about LGBTQ equality. BYU has participated in an NCAA initiative referred to as Widespread Floor.

No extra blocking: Houston’s largest Massive 12 enemy, Texas, is now within the SEC. It was extensively presumed Texas blocked Houston’s try and get into the league in 2016.

From giant to small: Cincinnati and Houston convey the smallest stadiums to the Massive 12. Each seat roughly 40,000.

All of this should come collectively in phases. First, the Massive 12 will develop again to 12. Then it is going to start to search out its income value. Trade sources have put the brand new per-team income at $20 million-$25 million per 12 months. Whereas that might be an enormous enhance for the AAC groups emigrating to the Massive 12 — these faculties make solely $7 million per 12 months — the present Massive 12 faculties would have scale back their backside traces by a few third, coming down from $37 million in annual media rights payouts.

Will an Iowa State have the ability to maintain on to Matt Campbell? What would occur to expansive amenities upgrades? Will debt service obligations be met?

The brand new Massive 12 will enter a world the place the opposite energy conferences have totally different philosophies on how finest to succeed in the playoff. The Massive Ten and Pac-12 are exploring taking part in one much less convention sport every season to be able to add a notable nonconference alliance opponent.

The SEC is doing the precise reverse in looking for create extra and higher convention video games. Sankey’s league can do it as a result of it has one of the best stock of video games maybe than any convention in historical past. Take into account that there can now be common video games that includes Texas or Oklahoma towards Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M, and many others. That is with out even mentioning the legacy SEC rivalries like Alabama-Auburn, Florida-Georgia, and many others.

What’s one of the best rivalry within the new Massive 12? Twelve groups in 5 states from the Atlantic to the Wasatch Mountains?

That’s one growth query that’s but to be answered. | Massive 12 growth: How including BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, UCF might change faculty soccer’s energy construction


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