A viral image since deleted by the original poster appears to show the Big 12 Conference logo accompanying the official marks of the Cincinnati Bearcats at a print shop:
Here’s the screenshot of the original tweet:
It’s unlikely that Cincinnati is aware of any pending decision in favor of the school’s addition, but it does seem like the school is prepared for a best-case scenario.
The impetus behind expansion slowed down in recent weeks with apparent opposition from the television networks, including some discussions about ESPN and FOX paying the conference to remove the pro rata clause from the contract between the league and networks that would result in large, automatic payouts if the Big 12 does add schools.
However, given the conference’s unpredictability throughout the process, it wouldn’t be a complete shock if commissioner Bob Bowlsby announces the addition of two schools on Monday afternoon at a press conference scheduled for 5:30 p.m. CT.
The league’s presidents and chancellors have been meeting in Dallas over the last two days discussing a range of issues, but expansion is foremost on the list.
Cincinnati remains the top candidate, but with BYU’s candidacy taking a hit in recent weeks and some apparent opposition to the addition of Houston, it’s questionable whether there’s a second school that could command the necessary eight votes to expand.
The only guarantees are that the Big 12 will hold a conference title game in 2017 and that Bowlsby will say something in remarks televised by big12sports.org.
Stay tuned for some potential fireworks.