Critics say Big 12 should have pushed ahead with expansion

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, shown at a news conference July 8 in Dallas, complained in a tweet that the Big 12 "punted on expansion."
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

The governor of Texas is leading a chorus of voices criticizing the Big 12 Conference for its decision not to expand.

Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted his thoughts on Monday night, hours after the conference announced it would stand pat with a lineup of 10 schools.

“The Big 12 owes a lot of people an apology,” Abbott wrote. “It punted on expansion & it shanked its future.”

The conference, which had previously been cannibalized during the realignment frenzy, spent months looking at a number of potential additions, including Houston, Southern Methodist and Brigham Young.

“Right now, it’s best for us to stay where we are, to keep our options open,” said David Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma and chairman of the conference’s board of directors. “We all came to the unanimous feeling that this was not the right time.”


As many in the media have pointed out, the decision was surprising because the Big 12 is falling behind larger conferences in the race for broadcast dollars and other revenues.

There are also questions about whether the conference can survive in this configuration when its current television agreement expires in 2025.

For now, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby noted that some of the candidate schools were disappointed in the board’s decision.

As a University of Texas alumnus, Abbott wrote that Houston, in particular, “deserved better.”

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