Big 12 in talks with NCAA about 12-team conference rule

The Big 12 plans to ask the NCAA to revisit a rule preventing a 10-team league from playing a conference championship game, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby tells 

The league has had preliminary talks with the NCAA and "I expect that we will make that request" formally, Bowlsby said.

The 10-team Big 12 plays a round-robin schedule, and though the league doesn’t currently have plans to add a title game, it’s making this request based on principle and future flexibility.

“We don’t have any immediate desire to have a postseason playoff, but we are of the mind that it’s probably best for a conference to have those perogatives on their own rather than have it stipulated,” Bowlsby said. “(Without the rule) you can have whatever sort of competitive format you want, and however many teams you want.”

NCAA rule (c) states “a conference championship game between division champions of a member conference of 12 or more institutions that is divided into two divisions (of six or more institutions each), each of which conducts round-robin, regular-season competition among the members of that division.”

Bowlsby acknowledges NCAA deregulation can be a lengthy process as proposals get channeled through committees or director boards, but an eventual change would “give us opportunities we don’t already have.”

There are coaches within the Big 12 that would prefer a conference championship game. Kansas State's Bill Snyder is one.

“I like our path to the semifinal without a playoff,” Bowlsby said. “If we ever did do (a championship game), it would require a rematch. We’re not driving the agenda. There are other conferences that could be helped by this.”

The Mountain West played this season with 10 teams, and future conference realignment could push other conferences below the 12-team mark.

Bowlsby, who’s on record as a supporter of the 10-team model, said the request has no membership or realignment implications for the Big 12.

One Big 12 official points out that dropping the NCAA’s 12-team rule would allow flexibility of an extra game if it enhances the chance at a college football playoff spot.

“It could give legitimate playoff contenders the ability to bolster their resume,” the official said.

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