Notre Dame's and Arkansas' names popped up as prospective future Big 12 members, and Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long confirmed on Wednesday that contact did occur.
It also went about as expected.
He said the Big 12 did express interest in trying to lure Arkansas away from the SEC. Long didn’t provide any exact details, but said the conversation didn’t go far. He said Arkansas is strongly committed to the SEC.
“I think that our program is such that there are a number of conferences that would love to add us as a member,” Long said. “But we’re strongly committed to the SEC. I’d be surprised if we weren’t reached out to by other conferences about joining them. That happened. It didn’t surprise me. But, again, we’re committed to the SEC. It’s the strongest conference in the country and is only going to get stronger.”
That's no big surprise.
I said all along that the Big 12 should explore that avenue as far as it went, and the league did. Big 12 expansion seems to be on hold now with Oklahoma mulling its own conference membership, but at least the Big 12 swung for the fences.
Chances were high that it would strike out with the Hogs, but the worst-case scenario (Arkansas saying no) wasn't exactly a nightmare.
Priority No. 1 now for the Big 12 is holding the league together, but if that happens, BYU may have a decision to make.