So now it seems the Big 12 will probably ask the NCAA to allow the conference to play a championship game with just 10 teams, two shy of the number the governing body mandates for such an event.
“At a time when lots of deregulation is taking place, it seems a little bit odd that the NCAA would be describing how we determine our champions,” Bowlsby said Wednesday night, when he watched the Iowa State-Oklahoma State men’s basketball game.
“I think it’s reasonable to say if you’re going to have a champion that you’re going to have to designate it in one fashion or another. But to say it has to be between 12 schools or that there has to be divisional play or there has to be a round-robin, we’re deregulating lots of things and that certainly is a candidate.”
Two ways to look at this:
1) “Oh! This is the precursor to expanding and adding at least two teams! The Big 12 is acquiescing”
I hear you. I just don’t think this is that.
2) “Oh! The Big 12 is really serious about this 10-team league. Oh?”
I hear you here, too. And I think this is that.
Bowlsby, as figurehead and the mouthpiece of the league’s presidents, chancellors and athletic directors, has been static on the topic of expansion. There’s no certainty bigger is better … which, true, is not a flat denial.
This is another clever maneuver, though.
The conference is all but saying the NCAA can’t order its conferences to determine a champion a set way. That is, it can’t make the conferences play a title game and have 12 teams — and the Big 12, by all indications, wants neither.
A waiver would circumvent some issues.
If the forthcoming playoff, with all the undecided variables, asks its conferences to play a championship game, or if the Big 12 comes to believes in a greater ease of access to a top-four playoff finish for a member school with a championship game, then the Big 12 will play one.
The waiver would allow the school to keep 10 teams and not have to add simply for the sake of adding.
In short, think of this as an entirely proactive step by Bowlsby and his constituency.