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Oklahoma AD: Big 12 'in a good spot right now'

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer
Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione says the Big 12 is no hurry to expand, but that the Sooners are "open-minded" about adding new members.

"We're not in a position where we have to do anything right now," Castiglione told The Dallas Morning News. "We're in a good spot right now. We have a model that works. And it may be a model that works exceptionally well going into the future."

The Big 12 spring meetings open Wednesday in Kansas City, where the coaches and administrators from each school will discuss the current state of the league. With a new media rights deal, new playoff format and the recent bowl partnership with the SEC, there should be no shortage of conversation topics for the group.

Oh yeah, and that whole expansion issue.

The decision whether or not to expand the league's membership is one of the first big tasks for incoming commissioner Bob Bowlsby. Bowlsby officially begins his new role on June 15, just five days before the conference commissioners meet in Chicago to continue discussions regarding the future of the postseason.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick each told CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy they believe a final decision on the playoff will be made in that June 20 meeting.

Television industry sources told CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd and Brett McMurphy that the Big 12's new media rights deal with ABC/ESPN and Fox would be worth at least $2.6 billion or $20 million annually per school. The Dallas Morning News, citing a source within the conference, reports that finalizing that deal "has to be the No. 1 priority."

Once that new media rights deal is finalized, Castiglione's comments will be true. The Big 12 will have a guaranteed commitment from its 10 member schools, and a media deal that ensures healthy compensation for every member.

At that point, the conference will be able to sit back and entertain offers. No longer fearing for the future of the conference, the Big 12 is definitely "in a good spot."

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