The Big 12 wants you to know that it still wants to expand. Probably.
Colorado? UConn? St Johns?!?
Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.
I don’t make our own podcast anymore (RIP Going For Two), but if you prefer audio content, I did just do a show with my old pals, The Solid Verbal. We discussed what I’ve been hearing about the various lawsuits surrounding EA Sports College Football (and more on this next week btw), the San Diego State legal mess, various lawsuits, and more. We also talked about Athletic Director Simulator 3000, because I am required by law to mention Athletic Director Simulator 3000 in every media appearance I do over the next 60 days.
I’ll talk about that more here too, but first, some #news:
The Big 12 would like you to know that it’s still thinking about expanding again
Big 12 Media Days kicked off this week with a reminder that Fall 2023 athletic season is just a few weeks away from starting. Normally, I enjoy the conference media day talking season, since it reminds me that there are actual on-the-field stories to consider and that my beat does not encapsulate all of college athletics.
But commissioners talk at these things too, and since this is the Big 12 we’re talking about, that means realignment. I have to admit, this tweet made me laugh:
“I won’t address it today. I’ll just leak it to the media repeatedly for the last eight months”
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken)
Jul 12, 2023
And sure enough, here’s Sports Illustrated, with a look at the Big 12’s potential expansion strategy.
For those that have been following the last few months, there probably isn’t a lot in here that feels completely new. Big 12 senior leadership wants the conference to be nationwide. They want a larger presence in New York, they believe college basketball is an undervalued growth property, and they desperately want to change the league’s cultural branding. At Big 12 Media Days, Commissioner Brett Yormark said
Per Forde, that means the expansion list includes:
Among the potential Big 12 targets:
Maybe others down the road
— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde)
Jul 13, 2023
What will the Big 12 ultimately do? I can’t say for certain. Based on conversations I’ve had with Big East-ish folks over the last few weeks, I haven’t talked to anybody who thinks UConn is really going to end up in the Big 12 in the immediate future. I’ve completely given up on trying to prognosticate what will ultimately happen with the Pac-12 TV deal.
I do have to admit though…there’s something pretty funny about trying to reach out to Gen Z by bringing in St John’s. I’m 36 years old, and I think the Red Storm has been nationally relevant like…twice, in my adult memory. If you’re going to bring in a program that has ties to New York, MSG, and long-ago college basketball prominence…just call CCNY. I bet they’re cheaper.
Also…if you’re Memphis, how angry are you after reading that list? After everything you’ve tried to do to get into a power conference…you’re still behind St John’s?!?
My personal opinion is that the Big 12 moving to a four-time-zone conference is a bigger deal for conference administrators and television executives than it is for fans and athletes. Nationwide travel for Big 12 athletes will probably be harder than it will for Big Ten athletes, who enjoy larger budgets and more urban campuses. Four time zones will mean inconvenient event start times for fans on both coasts. If history is any guide, it will be hard to keep a 14-team league with such disparate cultural, athletic, and historical interests together forever. Just ask the old Big East.
But what do I know? I’m just a guy with a laptop, and my mortgage doesn’t depend on beating the Pac-12 or ACC in anything. Maybe they pull this off and look like geniuses in five years.
Here’s what else we’ve written this week
I broke the news that the Landmark Conference will be the first D-III league to sign a big streaming contract, as the league agreed to a five-year deal with FloSports. I understand why many D-III fans are not happy about this development. Here’s what I’d say to them.
I wrote a big ol’ column about how the problems with Northwestern extend far beyond just Pat Fitzgerald. I really believe the university, and those who love it, need to start asking some tough questions about their athletic department culture, and senior administration.
I broke out Google Maps and the spreadsheets to figure out which lower 48 college program has to travel the most each season. Air Force hockey? Utah lacrosse? Cal Field Hockey?
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I’m flying to D1.ticker HQ down in Kentucky this weekend to get ready for the fall season and hammer out some final details with Athletic Director Simulator 3000, which I’ll share with you shortly. In the meantime, if you want to play the beta and help influence the final release, full subscribers can play the game here. It’s pretty fun!
I’ll see y’all next week. I’m working on some EA Sports stories, some NIL collective stories, and something a little silly. Who knows what else will pop up? Better check the ol’ email to see.
This isn’t a paid ad, but I do want to shout out a company that I think does great work. Sideline Design.
Between trying to do reporting, write newsletters, write a dang computer game, and send too many Tweets, I don’t really have time for graphic design. I've never been able to get the hang of Photoshop. But I also know that growing my social media accounts and telling our story often requires quality images.
The folks at Sideline Design have hooked me up with access to their directory, and I have to say, I’ve been really impressed with how easy it is to make professional-looking graphics. We use them on our Instagram page, and I see recruiting departments and athletic departments use them as well.
If you’re looking for a solution to help your resource-strapped department make compelling social graphics, I think you should give them a shot. They didn’t pay me to say that. But maybe, if enough of y’all tell them I sent you…maybe they will next time lol.
If you’d like to buy ads on Extra Points, good news! They’re affordable, and we have openings this season. Drop me a line at [email protected]. If you have news tips, I’m at [email protected]. Otherwise, I’m at [email protected], @MattBrownEP on Twitter, @ExtraPointsMB on Instagram, and @MattBrown on Bluesky.