An email Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby sent late last month to the president of the University of Houston says the conference has “finalized our procedures for consideration of potential” new members.
The email was first reported by ESPN on Thursday and later obtained by The Associated Press.
The Big 12 announced July 19 that its presidents had authorized Bowlsby to begin evaluating schools for possible expansion of the 10-team conference by two or four members. The conference has not commented publicly on its plans nor has it committed to adding schools.
In an email dated July 26 from Bowlsby to University of Houston President Renu Khator, the commissioner wrote: “We have finalized our procedures for consideration of potential Big 12 Conference members and, pursuant to your email of last week, I am writing to inform you of the process.”
Bowlsby asked in the email that Khator provide a “very brief communication indicating your interest in being considered.” Bowlby writes that it is not necessary to send supporting information or materials and to send the letter to his attention care of Kansas City, Missouri, based attorney Kevin Sweeney of Polsinelli.
“Mr. Sweeney will follow up with your GC to provide instructions and to coordinate future steps,” Bowlsby writes. “Thanks for your interest in the Big 12 Conference.”
That there has been communication between the Big 12 and Houston is not surprising. The school is a member of the American Athletic Conference, but has made it clear it aspires to be in a Power Five conference. Since the Big 12 revealed that it is looking into expansion, the University of Texas and Texas Tech have public supported considering Houston. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott went even further, saying Big 12 expansion “must” include Houston.
Among the other schools that have been maneuvering to be considered by the Big 12 are BYU, Cincinnati, Central Florida, Memphis, Connecticut, East Carolina, Boise State and Colorado State.
Bowlsby has put no timetable on the Big 12’s decision, though he has said the conference would like to move quickly and not interfere with the football season. The presidents meet again in early October.
Iowa State President Steven Leath told the Iowa State Daily student newspaper on Wednesday that he expects the Big 12 to expand.
“We’re spending a lot of time and money to that end, so I suspect that’s where we’re going to end up,” Leath told the newspaper. Leath added that he expected the process to play out between now and Christmas.