The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors voted for the league to play nine conference football games plus one nonconference game – putting them in line with the majority of the Power 5 Conferences.
The league made the news official Monday night after reports broke the news.
“I would like to salute the work of our university presidents and chancellors, athletics directors, coaches, medical advisors and administrators who have worked tirelessly and collaboratively during these extraordinary times,” Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in the league release. “We believe this change provides the best opportunity going forward. However, we will undoubtedly need to be flexible as we progress through the season in order to combat the challenges that lie ahead.”
The league vote would benefit Oklahoma State in a way.
The Cowboys were in search of a new opponent to open the season due to the Pac-12 move to playing conference-only games – canceling OSU’s home opener against Oregon State.
Oklahoma State still had Tulsa and Western Illinois on its nonconference slate, and would have to trim one of those two – the most likely being Western Illinois, allowing the Cowboys to maintain it’s in-state rivalry with the Golden Hurricane.
However, the American Athletic Conference – with which Tulsa is a part of – has yet to make a decision on how its season will be formatted. AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco has been quoted saying that the league could stick with its eight-game conference schedule and let its members play as many of their four nonconference games – which are dwindling among Power 5 Conferences.
The same is the case with Western Illinois’ conference – the Missouri Valley Conference – which has five league members originally scheduled to go against Big 12 teams (Missouri State at Oklahoma, South Dakota at Iowa State, North Dakota at Kansas State and Southern Illinois at Kansas).
According to the release from the league, the plus-one game for Big 12 teams must be played at home.
The league championship game, scheduled for Dec. 5 at AT&T Stadium, could potentially be bumped back by a week or two, giving some wiggle room in the event of games having to be postponed midseason.
There was no further information in regard to when the Big 12 football season would start, with the release stating it “will be solidified in the coming weeks, with an anticipated start sometime between mid- to late-September, with the expectation that nonconference games are contested prior to beginning league games.” OU and KU had already moved up their season openers – against the Missouri Valley Conference programs – to Aug. 29.
For example, the SEC and Pac-12 – each of which are playing 10 conference games – will not begin their football season until Sept. 26 (three weeks after the original starting weekend).
The ACC, which voted upon an 11-game season with 10 conference games, will begin its season the weekend of Sept. 12 – the second week of the originally scheduled season.
The Big Ten, which was the first league to announce a move to a 10-game conference-only slate, has yet to release a new schedule for its teams.
The NCAA is slated to meet Tuesday with potentially making a decision on all other fall sports – such as soccer, volleyball and lower-division football – and whether to cancel or postpone the championship events for those sports.