UofM AD selling Memphis as Big 12 candidate

UofM AD selling Memphis as Big 12 candidate

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Big 12 expansion is alive and possible, with talks still on the table. That means the University of Memphis is staying relentless in its efforts to be included.

Tuesday, the idea of expanding the conference to either 12 or 14 teams was kept open, but remains unofficial.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the conference will continue to reach out to interested schools and evaluate possible suitors.

Wednesday, University of Memphis Athletic Director Tom Bowen issued a statement praising his school's efforts in athletics and academics. While he did not mention the Big 12 directly, it was clear that joining a Power 5 conference is on his mind. The statement reads:

"We work each day to build a championship-caliber athletic department where our student-athletes succeed in the classroom, on the field of play and in the community. The University is prepared to take action when opportunities to increase the level of positive attention and exposure for our city, campus and Athletic Department are presented. The University of Memphis continues to gain national recognition for its advancements in research, teaching and student accomplishments, and the Athletic Department is one part of that winning combination."

So, it appears Memphis will expectedly continue its efforts to convince the Big 12 Conference that the Tigers are the best fit to be included in a possible expansion.

UofM does have a big financial backer on its side with FedEx, but it faces stiff competition with Houston, Cincinnati, and BYU just several of the schools lobbying for inclusion.

In a poll done by ESPN, Big 12 coaches anonymously gave their top two teams that are not in a Power 5 conference. Memphis came in third place with four votes, tied with Cincinnati and behind Houston and BYU (five votes each).

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