The Big 12 could leave 25 possible candidates for expansion waiting for a phone call that won't ever come, as a source connected to the Texas Longhorns told the Austin American-Statesman that there's only a "15 percent" chance that the league moves beyond 10 teams.
Publicly, Texas leaders haven't said much, with UT system chancellor Bill McRaven recently ceding all conference decision-making to Texas president Greg Fenves and athletic director Mike Perrin offering little of his own behind-the-scenes thinking. Still, there was a report out of Cincinnati holding that Texas is pressuring TCU and Texas Tech to withhold critical votes that could swing the conference to the super majority of eight votes needed for expansion.
But just because the Longhorns don't want to expand, that doesn't mean Texas isn't considering leaving a conference that the school held together during the realignment saga of 2011 by spurning the Pac-12.
“Hell, yes,” said the source about the possibility of leaving the Big 12. “Broadcast rights are pledged through 2024. That is eight years of forced marriage. I see another realignment at that time, if not sooner. The Texas-OU football game would survive regardless of a league change.”
Despite recent comments from Oklahoma president David Boren criticizing the Longhorn Network, the information from the source suggests that Texas and Oklahoma are still tied together, as the two schools were when considering whether to join Larry Scott's expanding conference of West Coast schools.
In that scenario, the pair could be highly intriguing to other conferences, especially expansion-minded Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney. Even the SEC might be willing to drop the conference's insistence on only having one member institution in each state.
But with so few appealing options available and possible opposition from Texas and two other Texas-influenced schools, the chances that the Big 12 does up end expanding in the near future look increasingly slim.