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Cincinnati To The Big 12 *Might* Have Just Been Scooped

A decision on Big 12 expansion is expected to be made today.

Will Cincinnati be added to the Big 12?


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The Big 12's decision on expansion is expected to be made official in a couple of hours.

Big 12 presidents are meeting in Dallas today to discuss expansion and an official announcement will likely be made at about 6:30 p.m. E.T.'s most-likely prediction for the Big 12's expansion is this: TV partners don't want the league to expand, so they won't.


We can't stress this enough, fans: This whole thing is – and always will be – about TV money. Therefore, TV executives call the shots. Sports Illustrated reported last week that Big 12 TV partners ESPN and FOX have been in talks to pay the conference to nix the pro-rata clause and not expand.

It makes sense. Networks do not want to pay, say, nearly $50 million more a year for two new schools that might not grow viewership all that much. Besides, ESPN already has UC and Houston as part of its American Athletic Conference contract, and those schools produce good ratings already at a way lower cost to the network.

Plus, the networks probably don't want the Big 12's pro-rata clause to kick in because that's a lot of money to pay at a time when cable subscriptions are declining. By not expanding, the networks and the Big 12 could both walk away satisfied. The Big 12 still gets more money, and perhaps most important, it keeps the networks happy for future contract negotiations.

What's your prediction?