Prominent Oklahoma sportswriter Dave Sittler has gone public with the rumor that the Big 12 is looking to expand and the University of Houston is #1 on the list of relocation candidates. I’ve mentioned the rumors swirling once back in February and once two days ago and now this is the first time I’ve seen the rumors going public.
Who Is Dave Sittler?
Dave Sittler is a retired sportswriter who used to work with the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman and is considered the most respected sports journalist in the region. Word on the street is Sittler is close friends with Oklahoma President David Boren and if Sittler is reporting something it’s likely coming straight from the mouth of OU and OSU.
More from Mr. Sittler’s Twitter account:
More potential smoke
If Dave Sittler is, in fact, discussing on his Twitter feed the wishes of David Boren and OU, here’s what other respective journalists have to say. Jake Trotter, who covers the Big 12 for ESPN writes this:
Mr. Trotter also writes earlier today that Big 12 expansion is an inevitability. Some interesting quotes from the article:
The issue at hand is whether the Big 12 can survive in the long-term with 10. The tea leaves suggest it can’t (more on why later). But that doesn’t mean the conference needs to act rashly, either.
Ultimately, though, the Big 12’s chances of long-term survival are slim sans expansion
Ten years ago, TCU didn’t have the look of a viable Big 12 expansion candidate. It ranked 74th in attendance, well behind the likes of Memphis, Fresno State and East Carolina. But behind a visionary leadership from its chancellors, athletic directors and coach Gary Patterson, the Horned Frogs forced Big 12 inclusion.
That above is an excellent quote. So many delusional fans don’t understand how rapidly the college football landscape changes: Ten years ago TCU and Baylor were barely on anyone’s radar and now they dominate the state of Texas. Just because a team is down today doesn’t mean they’ll stay down. Houston has been doing some excellent recruiting under Coach Herman and we’ve got excellent leadership under Dr. Khator and AD Hunter Yurachek. There’s no reason we can’t be the next TCU, we just have to back it up on the field.
Boren rightfully is frustrated with the trajectory of the league. But he holds the trump card to force the expansion issue. The Oklahoma brand will always have a home in another conference. Not everyone else in the league can claim the same.
Several Big 12 leaders have pushed back on expansion in the past. But the dissenters will come to realize what Boren already does: the Big 12’s survival eventually will hinge on expansion. A 10-team conference isn’t just psychologically disadvantaged or competitively disadvantaged, it’s sustainably disadvantaged, too.
As Boren pointed out, Big 12 expansion should no longer be considered a matter of if but when.
Last, Chuck Carlton covers the Big 12 for the Dallas Morning News is guessing the reason for Boren’s recent public expansion talk:
I’m cautiously optimistic of Houston receiving a Big 12 invitation. Certainly the public statements by Mr. Sittler seem to carry a lot of weight. We’ll just have to wait and see if it can actually happen or if this is all just pure speculation. As I hear more info, I’ll keep everyone updated.