Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby took some time today to talk with ESPN.com. Read Part 1 of his Q&A today to see his thoughts on Notre Dame's move to the ACC, the Big 12's current attitude toward expansion, and more.
Here's the rest of what he had to say.
I haven't seen the physical TV contract the Big 12 just signed with Fox and ABC/ESPN for $2.6 billion over 13 years, but does it give you the flexibility to renegotiate for more money if you were to expand at some point?
Yes. It certainly accomodates that. It also references departures. That's just good business on our part, and good business on the part of Fox and ESPN.
We've heard so much from you and others about how much this league loves the 10-member set up and round-robin scheduling in football, but what's the chief argument you've heard against having an 11 or 12-member league?
One of the things we've committed to is playing a nine-game league schedule. With 10 members, it's a round-robin, but a nine-game league schedule goes right to the heart of our agreements with ESPN and Fox. We have promised them that we would have the inventory that's available with a nine-game season. One way or the other we would have to do that, and it's mathematically impossible to play a nine-game schedule with 11 members over the number of weeks that we have during the fall. You end up with multiple byes during the course of the season.
Statistically, that's just not feasible.
Going to 12 certainly gives you the opportunity to have a postseason football championship game and playing in divisions, but given what we're doing with the BCS right now, or whatever it's successor organization is called, the opportunity to mow through to one of those four slots without playing a postseason championship game, we think, is a better path to the national championship.
As far as 10 vs. 12 talk, is the league unanimous on wanting to stay at 10 right now?
I haven't had anybody come to me and say, "I know this is a minority position, but we need to keep thinking about expansion." I know it's a majority, if it came to a vote, that would say "We'd like to stay where we're at." Would there be some institution that would say, "Ah, I might consider expansion?" There could be. They haven't expressed it to me.
You've already acknowledged talks between the Big 12 and Notre Dame. How would you describe how close Notre Dame was to coming to your league, vs. the ACC?
We never got to the point of any negotiations at all. We talked conceptually about it, and agreed that it was going to be very difficult for us to do anything until after our television contract was put to bed.
We haven't heard much from the Big 12 about it, but people from Florida State and Clemson at least addressed the possibility of Big 12 membership on the record. What was your reaction to the ACC's new exit fees of $50 million?
I don't know enough about it to comment on it.
What would you tell fans who believe the Big 12 missed out on adding Notre Dame or an ACC power to the league?
I think our strategy is sound. I think the thinking of our presidents and athletic directors is unified, and I'm convinced that larger is not better than status quo.
We've already seen Texas Tech, TCU and Oklahoma all announce individual third-tier media deals with Fox. More could be coming. Can you explain to fans what's going to change for their school and what they can expect from these endeavors?
It varies from place to place and from contract to contract. But, generally speaking, the amount of exposure, the ease of access and the frequency of being able to get access to non-football, men's and women's basketball programming is going to be greatly enhanced. Institutions will have up to eight basketball games, including exhibition games, that could be available.
As a general statement, the exposure of each of those programs will be significantly enhanced.