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Bowlsby softens tone on possible Big 12 merger

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby holds news conference on decision to cancel Big 12 Tournament
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby holds news conference on decision to cancel Big 12 Tournament
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 7:49 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The conference realignment conflagration created by Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 for the SEC is giving teams in the American Athletic Conference hope.

Not to be taken in by another league, but to be the ones to do the taking.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby met with the Texas State Legislature to complain about the Longhorns’ move.

Last week, he accused ESPN of colluding with the AAC to sweep up what’s left of the Big 12. His tune is a little different Monday after threatening to sue the TV network, Bowlsby says he has agreed to not further discuss the ESPN situation publicly.

It’s a mutual agreement for “both parties’ best interests.” 

And, while saying he believes it’s in the best interest of the remaining eight schools to stay together, he also mentioned a potential merger with another conference as one of the possibilities the Big 12 will consider. 

At Memphis, Tigers Head Coach Ryan Silverfield says the Tigers are just trying to be in the best position possible, and the AAC is a good fit.

Bowlsby says the Big 12 could lose from 50 to 75% of its TV revenue with Texas and Oklahoma now gone. A merger with the AAC could put each school in the $15 million to $20 million range. 

The AAC currently pays between $7 million to $8 Million per school.

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