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OU Wants to Vote on Expansion, Conference Championship Game This Summer

OU President David Boren towed the Big 12 line about the league acting as one in public for all of two weeks. He wants expansion now.

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

About that whole "From Now On The Big 12 Speaks With One Voice," thing.

That idea lasted about as long as a Lindsay Lohan stay in rehab.

Less than two weeks ago Big 12 presidents agreed that while working through the possibility of a creating a football championship game, expansion and a league-wide television network, they would defer to Commissioner Bob Bowlsby for all public comments.

That didn't stop OU President David Boren from telling the Daily Oklahoman that he expects all three items to be on the agenda at the Big 12 meetings in May.

"It's a good time to act," Boren told the paper. "Let's don't wait until we have a crisis or we're about to lose a member or two. We're stable right now, we like each other. Most people in the Big 12 want to stay in the Big 12. It's the right time to make progress."

Boren has been beating the drum for Big 12 expansion for some time. He has also called for the assimilation of the Longhorn Network into a Big 12 Network.

As for expansion, Boren has already set his sights on the University of Cincinnati as one of the two new members to make an even dozen in the league.

According to documents acquired by the Cincinnati Enquirer, Boren and UC President Santa Ono are leading the efforts to get the Bearkats into the Big 12.

Boren and Ono talked in Washington, D.C., while they were in town for a social function early last year. Boren followed up with a brief email to Ono on Feb. 13, 2015, saying it was a "real pleasure" to see him.

"You are truly an outstanding leader and knowing that you are at the helm in Cincinnati makes me even more inclined to support your cause," said Boren, a former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator.

Boren and West Virginia President Gordon Gee have been the most vocal proponents for expansion. They are joined by Baylor President Ken Starr on a Big 12 subcommittee looking into expansion.

Other schools wanting to find a safe haven in a Power 5 conference by joining the Big 12 include: Brigham Young, Central Florida , Houston, Memphis and Connecticut.

There is no real consensus right now among the 10 members for expansion. There is the question about money and how it will be divided. It is assumed that any new members would not be full partners from the start and would have to wait several years for an equal cut of the conference revenue (as TCU and West Virginia have had to do).

Last year the Big 12 passed out over $268 million to its members for 2015. If there was expansion, the belief is that the TV partners will be willing to increase the pay to full value - if the conference adds a championship game. More teams would probably also mean more bowl ties.

Would adding Cincinnati and BYU keep OU happy - and in the conference?  Yes.

Would Texas (and ESPN) be willing to sacrifice the LHN for a Big 12 Network . Doubtful.

Would that network replace the $11-$15 million a year ESPN is paying Texas for the LHN?   No.

Will the league be in a stronger position to survive the next wave of realignment - which will be coming sometime in the next decade.

I seriously doubt it.