Last week, I got an interesting email from a reader who wondered if the Big 12 was feeling the sting of regret by not inviting an eager Louisville program into the Big 12 -- and then promptly watching the Cardinals win a national title in basketball and a BCS bowl game in the same calendar year, a feat duplicated by only Florida and, yes, Kansas.
It's a complicated debate, if only for the number of different scenarios in which Louisville might have been a Big 12 member. Could the Big 12 have done so and left out West Virginia or even TCU? Could it have invited all three and been an 11-team league? It sounds awkward, but the Big Ten operated with that arrangement for two decades until recently inviting Nebraska.
Today, that discussion gained a bit more relevance with the news that the ACC has agreed to a grant of rights through 2026-27, effectively ending any idea the Big 12 had of making Louisville a member anytime soon. (And Florida State, Clemson or Notre Dame, for that matter). The Cardinals will be locked up just like the rest of the Big 12 has been since executing a six-year grant of rights before extending it to 13 years last fall.
The ACC's grant of rights guarantees if a school leaves for another league in the 14 years, that its school's media rights, including revenue, for all home games would remain with the ACC and not its new conference.
"That ends expansion right there," a source said.
My take on the Louisville issue is here, and it inspired a whole lot of response from plenty of you. I'm intrigued by what you think.
It's easy to be enticed by the recent success, but difficult to convince me that Louisville's modest historical success on the football field produces enough attention and success to warrant inclusion. It's not out of the question, but it's not a slam dunk, either. TCU made a whole bunch of sense with its history among Big 12 members as a member of the old Southwest Conference, proximity and growing football tradition, brand and stadium, and West Virginia was the Big East's biggest, most recognizable (and valuable) football brand.
Still, what do you think? Should the Big 12 have brought in Louisville in any capacity? I'm accepting all votes here: A "Yes" as the the Big 12's ninth, 10th or 11th member counts as a "Yes." No is no.
Cast your votes.