Big 12 Chooses Scheduling Model for 2020

John. E. Hoover

Big 12 Conference presidents and chancellors met via conference call on Monday and decided the immediate future of the league: Nine conference games, plus one non-conference home game.

That’s the model the league is moving forward with for 2020.

"The start of Conference play will be solidified in the coming weeks, with an anticipated start sometime between mid- to late-September, with the expectation that non-conference games are contested prior to beginning league games," said a Monday night press release from the Big 12.

The press release stated that conference play would begin in mid-to-late September. It also indicated that the Big 12 championship game could be moved to Dec. 12 or Dec. 19, depending on the circumstances at that time.

“I would like to salute the work of our university presidents and chancellors, athletics directors, coaches, medical advisors and administrators who have worked tirelessly and collaboratively during these extraordinary times,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby in the release. “We believe this change provides the best opportunity going forward. However, we will undoubtedly need to be flexible as we progress through the season in order to combat the challenges that lie ahead.”

A university source told SI Sooners that Oklahoma won't know its nonconference opponent until the Big 12 settles on a start date. The source said that Missouri State is the likely opponent, but if the conference start date is pushed back into September, the Sooners may have to drop the game with the Bears and pursue other options.

The news all but ensures that Oklahoma's long-anticipated trip to West Point on Sept. 26 will not happen. Though there is currently no word of an official cancellation of the game with Army, the plan as reported has effectively closed the door on the matchup between the Black Knights and Sooners.

The league went into Monday’s meeting considering two primary models: a full 12-game schedule and a truncated schedule that featured nine conference games and one non-league opponent.

The problem with keeping one non-conference game is that the Big 12’s current contracts are all over the board and will ultimately result in uneven scheduling.

Oklahoma State has home games with Tulsa and FCS Western Illinois. Texas has home games with South Florida and UTEP. Iowa State has home games with FCS South Dakota and UNLV. Baylor has home games with FCS Incarnate Word and Louisiana Tech. TCU has a home game with FCS Prairie View A&M and a road game at SMU. West Virginia has one home game with FCS Eastern Kentucky. Texas Tech has a road game at UTEP and a home game with FCS Alabama State. Kansas State has home games with Buffalo and FCS North Dakota. And Kansas has a home game with FCS New Hampshire and a road game at Coastal Carolina.

Other Power 5 conferences already made their scheduling decisions, canceling all Power 5 non-conference games — 11 games in all — and leaving the Big 12 as the last holdout.

The Big Ten said on July 9 that it was going to conference games only, and it has been reported that the league will announce its full schedule Tuesday morning.

The Pac-12 revealed its conference-only plan two days later, and unveiled its full 2020 schedule on July 31.

The ACC and the SEC revealed their scheduling preferences on July 30. The ACC admitted Notre Dame as a full member for 2020 and announced a 10-game conference schedule with one non-conference game, while the SEC said it would play a 10-game conference-only schedule.

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