Big 12 says ‘No’ to UNLV, E. Carolina

Published 1:33 am Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Associated Press


East Carolina and UNLV are out of the Big 12’s expansion derby.

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Officials at both schools said Wednesday that they were notified by the Big 12 that they are no longer being considered for membership to the 10-team conference.

East Carolina spokesman Tom McClellan says Commissioner Bob Bowlsby notified Chancellor Cecil Staton of the league’s decision Tuesday by phone.

Athletic director Jeff Compher says it’s “obviously not the decision we were hoping for,” but expressed satisfaction that “we were able to tell our story to not only the Big 12, but the entire nation.”

East Carolina is beginning its third season in the American Athletic Conference after winning two Conference USA championships in football in the 2000s.

UNLV President Len Jessup and athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy issued a statement later in the day to acknowledge the Rebels were no longer being considered. UNLV has been a member of the Mountain West Conference since 1990.

“As the landscape of intercollegiate athletics continues to change, ensuring UNLV is properly positioned and is a member of a conference that is the best fit for our university and community remains part of our long-term vision,” the statement said.

“We remain committed to fulfilling our responsibility to be a strong and successful member of the Mountain West.”

It’s not yet clear if any other schools have received similar notification from the league, which announced July 19 that its presidents had authorized Bowlsby to begin evaluating schools for possible expansion of the 10-team conference by two or four members.

The conference has not commented publicly on its plans nor has it committed to adding schools.

Bowlsby has put no timetable on the Big 12’s decision, though he has said the conference would like to move quickly and not interfere with the football season. The presidents meet again in early October.