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No Big 12 expansion for USF, or anyone else

Athletic director Mark Harlan and USF System President Judy Genshaft talk with fans on the sideline at USF's season opener against Towson. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/JACOB HOAG

Big 12 presidents decided not to add any new members to its conference after meeting for over five hours in Dallas on Monday afternoon according to various reports by ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

After voting unanimously to explore for expansion candidates in July, Big 12 officials couldn’t generate the needed supermajority, or 8 of 10 votes, to approve any of the 11 schools interviewed for admission into the Power-5 conference.

USF made it into the final list of 11 schools in consideration out of an original 19 programs, but will remain in the AAC for the time being.  

Late Monday, the school released an official statement on the Big 12’s decision to stand pat with 10 teams.

USF President Dr. Judy Genshaft

“On behalf of the entire USF System and Tampa Bay community, I would like to extend our thanks to Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and the leadership of the Big 12 Conference for their thoughtful interest in our university and the Tampa Bay region. We also deeply appreciate all the support of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, fans, supporters and local leaders. This process has been extremely positive, giving us the opportunity to showcase our excellence on a national scale: We are a top 25 public research university; our nearly 50,000 students have never been more accomplished. Our athletic program is on a strong trajectory, not only have we led our conference in Learfield Cup standings, but also posting a student-athlete graduation success rate of 86 percent. We have a great story to tell, and this is only the beginning.”


USF director of athletics Mark Harlan

"We are on a path toward greatness at USF, reminding everyone in the Bulls Family why we are proud of who we are, how far we have come and what lies ahead.  Our student-athletes, coaches, staff, donors, alumni, fans and community members have propelled our program to profound success in recent years in the American Athletic Conference and I am confident that they will continue to do so in the future.  The USF family came together with many in the Tampa community to tell our remarkable story to the world, and we will continue to share it."