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Report: Big 12 to interview 18 expansion candidates, including BYU



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PROVO — The Big 12 has determined its expansion candidates, and, as projected, the list includes BYU.

Along with about 20 other schools.

The conference and commissioner Bob Bowlsby will conduct video interviews with 18 teams, including BYU, Boise State, Air Force, Colorado State, San Diego State and Cincinnati, as first reported by espn.com’s Brett McMurphy.

That BYU is among the candidates — and a strong possibility — is not a surprise. But the conference previously was thought to conduct in-person and on-campus site visits with each of its candidates. It is unclear if the decision to interview via video conference is good news for BYU, which has made news recently for nonfootball reasons that include a federal Title IX investigation and a strongly worded condemnation by several LGBTQ rights organizations for its handling of homosexuality in the school’s honor code.

The other candidates that will present their schools to the Big 12 by video are Houston, South Florida, Central Florida, Connecticut, Memphis, Tulane, Temple, East Carolina, SMU, New Mexico, Northern Illinois and Arkansas State, according to the report.

Board of directors spokesman David Boren, who is also the president of the University of Oklahoma and has publicly spoken about BYU's favorable standing among league presidents, said the conference hopes to announce its final two to four expansion members before its next board of directors meeting in October. ESPN's report indicates the conference is leaning toward expanding by two or fewer schools, but all possibilities are on the table.

Multiple reports state the possibility the conference was trying to expand before the season began, but with so many candidates, that seems less likely.

BYU’s record of football play, overall athletic department success, academic standing and national fan base has placed it squarely in the sights of the Big 12. But other factors could play a substantial role in the process, as well.

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Sean Walker

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