Here we go again. The Big 12 is at 10 teams and someone from its member institutions seems to always speak out about the possibility of adding two teams to get to 12. The latest to do so is new West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons.
In an interview with WVIllustrated.com, Lyons said there is a committee that is looking at if adding two more teams makes sense.
“There’s a presidential committee that’s kind of looking at that as well,” Lyons said. “As athletic directors, we try to look at the bigger picture of what actual teams and partners we could bring in that would add value to the conference and that’s still being explored.
“I’m in favor of expansion if it’s the right two teams to bring in,” he said. “Obviously for us, it would be nice to have more of an eastern partner, but at the same time, I want to make sure it’s the right partner and from a revenue standpoint it doesn’t impact us negatively as well by bringing additional partners in.”
The Eastern partner to the Big 12 has been mentioned time and time again, and that is to add a travel partner for West Virginia. Provo, Utah, to Morgantown, West Virginia, is 1,929 miles apart and that would be the farthest point between two power five teams.
Back to Lyons comments, it all comes down to what value new teams can bring to the conference. The Big 12 just announced record revenue which paid out $27 million per schools receiving full shares and TCU and West Virginia still took home between $23-$24 million as partial members.
Currently, BYU is no where near that amount and the current deal with ESPN pays the Cougars between $4.8 million to $7.2 million from their television contract. Basketball might add a little bit to that but that is no where near what the Big 12 paid to its current members. BYU does make sense as they are in the middle where they make more than the non-power five teams but are still miles behind the Power five conferences, yet on the field they are consistently a top-40 program.
Eastern teams that could be in the mix are Memphis, Cincinnati and Central Florida, all three of those performed well on the football field — Memphis’ long term success is still in question — and all come from the American Athletic Conference where the revenue they could bring it would still fall well short of what the Big 12 teams currently earn.
Check out the video of Lyons comments.