On Tuesday, Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby told the Des Moines Register that a decision on expansion could be forthcoming within the next two weeks.
On Wednesday, University of Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione told CBS Sports that there is no timeline for Big 12 expansion and the topic was essentially dead.
Both Bowlsby and Castiglione are good people and great men and tremendous leaders and certainly captains of their industry.
But these two reports, less than 24 hours apart, illustrate precisely the kind of divergence that exists at the highest levels in the Big 12, and are a perfect example of why this league simply may not be fixable.
It’s not that Bowlsby and Castiglione are in disagreement.
But clearly, they both are speaking concisely on the one prevalent topic among league circles — expansion — and somehow are doing it from completely opposing perspectives. In other words, two of the Big 12’s most influential figures have no idea what the other one is saying.
Bowlsby told Des Moines Register columnist Randy Peterson that a league Board of Directors meeting on July 19 could (or could not) be the date that league CEOs decide to add (or decide not to add) two (or four) schools and expand its membership from 10 (or not).
“That’s up to our presidents and chancellors,” Bowlsby said, “but I think we have provided a lot of information, and the intention of that was to get the athletics directors and presidents to spend some time talking about the issues that are in hand, and to formulate some institutional positions. I think they’ve had an opportunity, and everybody’s been engaged on it.”
Bowlsby said “it’s possible” a decision could be reached this month (July 19 also happens to be Day 2 of the two-day Big 12 Media Days in Dallas), but added “It’s more likely that there will be some continued discussion.
“I have indicated that I think it’s about time we made some decisions one way or the other; whether that’ll be on the 19th is yet to be determined.
“We’ll not be served well by an ongoing, extended, protracted discussion of this. We’ve got the data we need. I think we need to establish institutional decisions and make some decisions.”
The very next day, in an interview with CBS Sports national college football writer Dennis Dodd, Castiglione’s sentiments on expansion ran completely counter to Bowlsby’s.
“There aren’t any signs that we’ll talk any more about expansion for a little while,” Castiglione said. “We don’t have a timeline on it.”
Castiglione said nothing was out of the question, but indicated that expansion was nearly there.
“I stop short of speaking in absolutes about anything regarding conference realignment outside the contracts that exist,” Castiglione said. “We’ve seen things happen that one could never imagine … (but) I don’t see any conversation in the near future.”
Bowlsby on Wednesday offered CBS Sports more on the Big 12’s potential for expansion.
“I don’t know where we’re at,” Bowlsby said. “I know we haven’t brought it to a conclusion. That conclusion may very well be status quo. Until we get together and the chancellors and presidents make it a decision, I consider it a pending issue.”
Maybe. Maybe not.
It may be just too much to ask the Big 12 to come to a consensus on something as important as expansion.