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July 23, 2012

New Big 12 chief not in favor of expanding league

STILLWATER, Okla. — DALLAS — With the Big 12 Conference welcoming two members in West Virginia and Texas Christian University, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Monday expansion of the conference will stop there — at least for the near future.

Addressing members of the media at the Big 12 Football Media Days in Dallas, Bowlsby said he’s happy with the state of the conference with its new members, West Virginia and Texas Christian University, and that the view is shared throughout the league.

“This is a group of 10 institutions that if we were to press for raised hands in a meeting room around the issue of expansion, I don’t know that we’d get two votes for moving to a larger number,” Bowlsby said. “Now having said that, expansion is on every conference’s list of discussion items — I don’t think we can afford not to think about it.

“But if the Big 12 had to vote on it today, we wouldn’t take any new members in,” Bowlsby said. “We believe it should be the toughest fraternity in the country to join and the only people who have the chance to join would bring something very substantial.”

The coaches who spoke Monday at the Big 12 Football Media Days echoed the commissioner’s sentiment on the stability of the conference.

“I think it’s pretty obvious that it’s a great league. ... To me everything is a positive and shows great stability,” Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops said. “And the quality of teams shows great strength.”

The addition of West Virginia and TCU — each of which won a conference championship last year — makes for three reigning conference champions, including Big 12 champions Oklahoma State, taking to the field for the Big 12 Conference this fall.

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