The Big 12 has reportedly been considering the University of Central Florida center-stage as a potential member to the conference.
West Virginia president Gordon Gee is one of the Big 12 committee presidents in charge of exploring potential candidates. Documents obtained by ESPN show that he’s been doing just that – remaining in contact with UCF, the University of Houston, University of Memphis and Colorado State University.
ESPN discovered that UCF sent Gee a brochure promoting the school. In October of 2015, Gee communicated to Hitt that UCF has been reviewed explicitly as part of an expansion to save a conference that has been labeled as ‘doomed’ by sports broadcasting outlets.
“I appreciate very much our [phone] conversation, and I appreciate the information you sent me,” Gee wrote UCF president John Hitt on Oct. 6, as obtained by ESPN. “Be assured that the University of Central Florida is very much on our radar screen. The future of expansion is very much uncertain, but I also know that we are looking at these issues very carefully given the tumultuous nature of college athletics.”
In a FaceBook Live Q&A by UCF Athletics, Athletic Director Danny White addressed questions on the UCF – Big 12 expansion. On Tuesday, the admin stated “[A]s a community, as an alumni, base, as a university, we need to be mostly focused on the things that we can control. That’s building a fan base, building our season ticket base up, getting our donations up to a Power 5 level and making sure we’re maximizing all of those things,” White said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“If we do that and support our coaches at that level, because of all the other competitive advantages, we’re going to be really successful here. I think we’re going to win an awful lot and then I think we’ll be in a position where we have a lot of options but for right now, we’re really excited to be in the American Athletic Conference.”
The Big 12 presidents and athletic directors are meeting May 31 in Texas where ESPN says the possible expansion will be discussed.
Photo courtesy of UCF Athletics Communications