When a round of conference realignment begins, politics will almost certainly follow. Following in the footsteps of Texas governor Greg Abbott, who publicly supports Houston's bid for Big 12 membership, Ohio governor and former Republican presidential candidate John Kasich wants to see Cincinnati in the league.
According to Cincinnati Enquirer, John Kasich penned a letter to each Big 12 president to pitch the addition of the Bearcats to the conference.
Kasich last month told Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and each of the league's member presidents that UC would be an "outstanding choice to expand the conference's reach and nationwide appeal," according to a letter exclusively obtained by The Enquirer.
"I am convinced that the University of Cincinnati will be a strong, competitive addition to the Big 12 Conference and I fully support such a move," Kasich wrote in a July 12 letter.
In his letter, Kasich said UC would be an "excellent fit" academically and competitively. The former Republican presidential candidate also said UC has an "eager, sports-enthusiastic audience." Additionally, Kasich touted the city of Cincinnati as being a strong media market and having a "top-flight corporate community."
"Cincinnati ... will stand as a powerhouse city among the current Big 12 landscape," said Kasich, an Ohio State alumnus and Buckeyes football fan.
Cincinnati and Houston may have their respective governors on their side, but they're far from the only schools receiving support from notable figures. Justin Timberlake took to Twitter to stump for his hometown Memphis Tigers. UCF received support from comedian Larry The Cable Guy, which must count for something.
Earlier today, however, reports emerged that some of the most important players in conference expansion do not support the Big 12's potential moves. According to Sports Business Daily writers John Ourand and Michael Smith, ESPN and FOX oppose expansion, which could force them to increase rights fees paid out to the league.