The Big 12 officially got back into the expansion business one week ago. Many of the conference's prospective future members responded by posting statements on Twitter espousing their interest and qualifications. Who posted the best statements? Who’s trying too hard? Let’s assess their efforts:
Most extensive campaign: Houston
When some of the most influential leaders in Texas are backing you on Twitter, you’re off to a pretty good start. The statements president Renu Khator and AD Hunter Yurachek sent out last week were both classy and touted their fancy “Phi Beta Kappa” and “Carnegie Tier One research institution” status.
Most excited: BYU
Remember, Brigham Young does not have to play nice with its current conference because it has none. So the Cougars' AD focused on how stoked he is about the Big 12 news. Bonus points for giving a shout-out to Big 12 leadership and commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
Long but fair: SMU
We couldn’t find a Southern Methodist statement on Twitter, but AD Rick Hart did grant an extensive interview to the Dallas Morning News laying out the Mustangs' case. And he said some pretty level-headed stuff, like this on SMU’s location:
“We believe that we’re a good fit. It seems natural. We have competed at that level before and done very well. We’re on a level playing field with those institutions. We’re in the middle of the footprint of the conference, which is anchored in the state of Texas. I understand it can be argued whether we bring, quote/unquote, the Dallas market, but what we do is solidify the Dallas market.”
Hart also acknowledged SMU has flaws and weaknesses, which his something his fellow Big 12 candidates are not saying. Honesty is a nice approach during this PR war.
Vague but proud: Memphis, Colorado State
Colorado State AD Joe Parker used his statement to tout his school’s plusses and its focus on “being the best version of Colorado State that we can be.” He makes no specific mention of the Big 12.
Same angle from Memphis AD Tom Bowen: Nothing specific about conference, but his school is “prepared to take action” when certain opportunities arise.
Take us seriously: UCF
Central Florida president John Hitt gets right to the point and says his school should be “very seriously” considered by the Big 12.
UCF AD Danny White also offers this hot, proud take in that story: “We have so many competitive advantages that it doesn’t matter what league we’re in.”
Keeping it casual: UConn, Boise State
Connecticut hasn’t been sending out statements, and with good reason. In an interview with the Associated Press, AD David Benedict indicated his school is indeed interested but he’s waiting for the Big 12 to call him.
“I don’t think circumventing that process is the way to go. But I don’t think there is a question as to whether or not the Big 12 is aware that we would have an interest if they are interested in us.”
Boise State AD Curt Apsey hasn’t sent out a statement, either, but did go on local radio to say his school is happy to be in the Mountain West.
Keeping quiet: Cincinnati, South Florida
Neither of these institutions has sent out any pleas for Big 12 membership on Twitter so far. Maybe they’re going with DMs instead?
Coming on a little too strong: ECU
Yes, AD Jeff Compher deserves credit for sending out the most passionate statement, one which featured a vow that East Carolina will “deliver the entire state of North Carolina” to the Big 12.
But the Pirates did not stop there. Their official athletic department Twitter account has been pitching @Big12Conference directly and publicly. They’ve bragged about their football attendance figures, donations and, most recently, their “travel partner” abilities.
We get it. If you’re a dark horse in this race, you’ll feel inclined to go above and beyond to make your case. But maybe just play it cool, ECU.