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Big 12 says 10 is enough

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Oklahoma and Texas line up for play during the second half of the Red River Rivalry on Oct. 8.
(LM Otero / Associated Press)

The Big 12 Conference has decided against expanding beyond its current lineup of 10 schools, officials announced on Monday afternoon.

The conference’s board of directors reached the decision after an hours-long meeting in Texas.

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

The idea of expansion had been bouncing around the Big 12 for two years, with more serious consideration over the last few months.

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Schools such as Houston, Brigham Young, Southern Methodist, Tulane and Cincinnati recently interviewed with conference officials.

Commissioner Bob  Bowlsby said that he had been in contact Monday with the candidates.

“They expressed gratitude at being part of the process,” he said. “They expressed disappointment.”

Bowlsby added that existing members pledged their loyalty to the Big 12, which had lost schools during the realignment frenzy.

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An addition could have generated tens of millions in TV revenue but the conference’s broadcast partners had expressed concern about diluting the product.

“Bigger is not always better,” Boren said.

david.wharton@latimes.com

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