If the Big-12 collapses, what’s next for Baylor athletics?

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 7:03 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - It hasn’t been confirmed, but the writing is on the wall: Texas and Oklahoma are looking for a new home in the SEC.

Though Baylor’s athletic department has deferred communication to the Big-12 Conference - who has yet to address the rumors - Baylor president Dr. Linda Livingstone and Athletic Director Mack Rhoades did release a statement that says in part: “Rest assured, we…are actively engaged in conversations with our Big 12 colleagues & others to ensure our University is in the strongest position possible now & into the future.”

So, what does the seemingly imminent departure of two of the conferences blue-blood programs mean for Baylor?

First, let’s look at who is left.

Despite the name, the Big-12 Conference was left with just 10 teams after realignment in 2012.

Without Texas and OU, that number would be down to eight - and it is hard to imagine a power five conference with just 8 schools while the next smallest has 12, and the SEC would be up to 16.

One option is for the Big-12 to add some schools. Baylor could even be back in a conference with some old Southwest Conference rivals like Houston and SMU. Those teams wouldn’t really help strengthen the conference that is saying bye to two juggernaut athletics programs.

The next and probably most likely option is for Baylor to join another conference.

Geographically, there isn’t really an obvious conference for Baylor to move to.

One option would be to go west, to the Pac-12 conference.

There have been reports that Baylor has already reached out to the conference, but the Pac-12 officials I spoke to couldn’t confirm that. Instead, they left me with a statement from Conference Commissioner George Kliavkoff.

Texas and Oklahoma will likely make the move away from the Big-12 on Monday, so watch for Baylor Athletic Director Mack Rhoades to make some big moves next week to try to keep Baylor among the top athletic programs in the country.

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