Big 12 unanimously votes to bring back conference title game in 2017

IRVING, Texas -- The Big 12 Conference unanimously voted Friday to bring back a conference championship game.

The conference will implement a championship game for 2017.

Since contracting to 10 members in 2011, the Big 12 has staged a round-robin format and has been the only Power 5 league without a championship game. As a result, the Big 12 has also been the only Power 5 league that hasn't given its champion the opportunity to play a 13th game.

Data consultants hired by the league have argued that the Big 12's current format has diminished its opportunity of putting a team in the College Football Playoff.

The league failed to make the playoff in 2014, although Oklahoma did make the CFP last year despite not playing on the final weekend of the regular season.

Oklahoma president and Big 12 board chair David Boren said the data showing that a championship game would help the Big 12 get into the playoff "was very convincing."

"We were unified about it, based on what it would do for our competitive position and what it would do to our financial position," said Boren, who has been the biggest advocate in the league for a championship game.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said a championship game could net the league an additional $27-28 million in revenue a year.

The league distributed $304 million to its members last year, or $30.4 million to each member, roughly a 20 percent hike from last year.

Boren said the Big 12 will continue to examine the merits of expansion and that the league's presidents could meet again later in the summer to discuss in person further.

"We will continue to seriously look at that possibility," Boren said.