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Iowa State President Steven Leath discusses ‘likely’ Big 12 expansion, BYU

What was once expected to be an expansion decision before the season could now drag on until after the season

NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas Tech Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

During a Facebook Live feed on Thursday, Iowa State president Steven Leath answered questions from staffers at the Iowa State Daily, the universities’ student-run newspaper, in which he provided an update and the Big 12 expansion’s timetable and the potential addition of BYU.

"I think we’ll get there and I think you’ll see a probably different Big 12 in the somewhat near future," Leath said.

By the near future, Leath mentioned a timetable of between now and Christmas, in which "most of that should be hammered out. Leath called the possibility of an expansion "likely" and said it’s still up for evaluation as to whether the Big 12 will add two or four schools, if any at all. Academics, athletics, television markets were noted as areas of evaluation, as well as, "How they behave. What is their history of playing by the rules?"

The pool of potential Big 12 newcomers is now reportedly up to 20 hopefuls from around the nation, including the most often discussed BYU possibility.

Considering BYU’s Honor Code, which says students can be suspended and even expelled for engaging in a same-sex relationship, the possibility of adding BYU to the Big 12 has brought on a number of arguments against BYU. In an August 8 letter to Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, 25 LGBT advocacy groups urged the conference to drop BYU from consideration.

Leath noted that he and the conference are well aware of the situation at hand and touched on what he sees from BYU.

"I’m getting considerable input on both sides of the issue," said Leath, in reference to the emails he’s received. "It’s a school of integrity, they play by the rules, quality program, and people that have been there had great experiences and we should consider BYU. I’m getting an equal number that send me their Honor Code, their [discomfort] with a number of their social issues. And then there’s a smaller group that says from a logistical standpoint, the fact they can’t compete on Sundays, the complexity especially of schools as far as away as West Virginia makes it unworkable."

"If we get to considering BYU seriously, that will be a topic that comes up," Leath said.