Big 12 Conference mulling playing in Mexico


Big 12 conference planning games in Mexico Image: Big 12 Conference

The news broke recently that the Big 12 Conference has been actively exploring playing basketball and football games in Mexico starting for the 2024-2025 seasons for hoops and the 2025 season for football.

‘HEARTLAND COLLEGE SPORTS’ stated that at first glance, the above move didn’t make much sense. College atmosphere is fun and what the on-campus experience brings that makes college football, in particular, the most unique and exciting sport in the country. However, the above development makes an enormous amount of sense for this Conference and its future if one does a deep think.

Irving (US)-based the Big 12 Conference is a Conference of 14 universities which participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision football. The Conference formed in 1994 and began Conference play in the Fall of 1996.

Indianapolis (US)-based the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that regulates student-athletics among about 1,100 schools in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Short-term Loss, Long-term Gain

‘HEARTLAND COLLEGE SPORTS’ further stated that college football games are best for the fans, the small businesses that rely on these handfuls of Saturdays each Fall to meet revenue goals and the entire community. However, if we look at this from a bigger picture perspective, it’s not about hurting the fans or businesses in the Big 12 communities, it’s about maintaining what is long past a Saturday in September of 2023, October of 2024 or November of 2025. This is about maintaining the Big 12 Conference as a powerhouse, Top 3 Conference, behind the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and Big Ten, for years to come.

Birmingham (US)-based the Southeastern Conference (SEC) is an American college athletic Conference whose member institutions are located primarily in the South Central and Southeastern United States.

The Big Ten Conference is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States. Founded as the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives in 1896, it predates the founding of its regulating organization, the NCAA. It is based in the Chicago area in Rosemont, Illinois, US.

And if that means playing a Big 12 football game (or more?) per season in Mexico, then so be it. While there are no details on how frequent games would be played, it seems unlikely a team would lose more than one home game every few years, if that.

Is that worth the chance for the Big 12 to solidify itself, its brand, its future and the big check the ESPN and FOX are cutting for this league? It seems like a no-brainer. New eyeballs, made-for-TV events will help the Big 12 create the buzz it needs to make to cut through the noise of the busy sports landscape and maintain its value to the TV networks.

The NFL Model

Professional sports has done this with huge success, most notably the National Football League (NFL), who is now playing at least one regular season games in different parts of the world every season.

New York (US)-based the National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league that consists of 32 teams, divided equally between the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference.

The NFL doesn’t do much wrong. They are the most popular sport in the United States, by a mile, and continue to expand their international presence. Brett Yormark, the Commissioner of Big 12 Conference, sees that and must think, “Why not the Big 12 on the college level?”

Baylor football (member of the Big 12 Conference) is not the NFL team the Dallas Cowboys, but it doesn’t need to be, and won’t be, on the same scale of the NFL. It just needs to work, and make sense, for the Big 12 and its own growth into the international market. Plus, with Texas sharing the biggest border with Mexico, the Mexican culture being prevalent across parts of Texas, and the Big 12 being the Conference with the most Power 5 schools from Texas in the league, it’s a natural fit.

In Yormark We Trust

Even if one vehemently disagrees with the move, if one is a Big 12 fan, Brett Yormark deserves the benefit of the doubt, until proven otherwise. He’s undoubtedly done an incredible job in less than one year on the job as Commissioner of the Conference. From cutting in line to land a TV deal ahead of the Pac-12 to getting Summer camps at Rucker Park, Yormark has pushed nearly all the right buttons so far.

This doesn’t mean he walks on water and every move he makes is going to strike gold, but his resume thus far, and how it’s benefited this Conference and solidified its future, means we need to let this one play out, and, ‘Trust in Yormark’ or ‘Believe in Brett’.

Whichever phrase one wants to use, that’s up to him or her.

San Francisco (US)-based the Pac-12 Conference is a collegiate athletic Conference that operates in the Western United States, participating in 24 sports at the NCAA Division I level. Its football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS, formerly Division I-A), the highest level of college football in the nation.

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