Now that the Big 12 has named its permanent commissioner in Bob Bowlsby after months of interim leadership from Chuck Neinas, the question now inevitably turns to: what now? Expansion is the topic du jour and the universities named like Clemson and Florida State are rather impressive compared to those previously rumored like CIncinnati or Louisville.
As the Big 12 proceeds forward this season with new additions like TCU and West Virginia, the league has stated again and again that they are fine with 10 members. But power conferences must continue to look at keeping up with the Joneses and the SEC begins this year with 14 — including former Big 12 members Missouri and Texas A&M.
Florida State in particular is an intriguing candidate to transfer given its current financial woes. The school must cut $2.4 million from its athletic department budget this year, and the Big 12’s new money deal outshines the new ACC TV deal by several million per school. Add that up over the life of the contract, and a school would have to give up a lot of money for the sake of tradition. Is it worth it?
Thus far, FSU has been successful on the field and the court, but they can’t seem to make enough money. Chip Brown takes it even further.
“Combine this success on the field with the fact Florida State’s basketball arena and football stadium are in desperate need of renovation, and the Seminoles are probably taking a hard look at the ability to launch their own TV network in the Big 12,” writes Brown. “Even with the new money from the ACC-ESPN contract, expected to provide an additional $4 million per year in revenue, Florida State is going to be hard-pressed to raise the kind of money needed for a major facility upgrade.”
From the Big 12’s perspective, they would likely want another school to enter into the conference so it wasn’t a lopsided 11, which is where Clemson comes into play. Both schools would bring strong football programs as well as new audiences and markets for recruiting — making both schools major assets in possible expansion. If Bowlsby could oversee such acquisitions, he would immediately make his mark as the new commish.