The Big 12 Board of Directors announced a unanimous decision for the Conference to remain with its current membership of 10 institutions.
"We had a very thoughtful and candid meeting which showed a great deal of strength in the Conference," said Dr. David L. Boren, President of the University of Oklahoma and Chair of the Big 12 Board of Directors. "We have a strong commitment from every single member of the board to the cohesiveness and stability of the Conference."
The Big 12 will continue to look at ways to advance the league with the exploration of new technologies, resources and distribution. It was previously announced that the Conference's football championship game would be reinstated at the conclusion of the 2017 regular season.
"Ten presidents came together in unity and came to the same conclusion," commented Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. "We like the competition model we have with the full round robin. We do a very good job in competing at the highest level and this decision in part was a celebration. It was an endorsement and reinvestment in the strength of the 10 we have."
The Big 12 remains as the only autonomy conference to determine its champions in all sports directly on the field of play with a full round-robin schedule. The Conference had a banner year on the national stage in 2015-16. Two teams competed in 2015 College Football Playoff New Year's Bowls for the second consecutive season. Oklahoma made the Conference's first appearance in the CFP semifinals in 2015, the second year of the structure, while OU men's basketball advanced to the Final Four. Other highlights included national championships by Texas men's swimming and diving and Oklahoma women's gymnastics and softball. National runner-up finishes were recorded by Texas volleyball, Oklahoma State wrestling, TCU equestrian, Texas men's golf, Oklahoma men's tennis and Oklahoma State women's tennis. Three Big 12 squads were among the eight teams that advanced to baseball's College World Series.
Through its first 20 years, the Big 12 can boast of 54 NCAA team titles and 625 individual national championships with a team national title in 17 of the sports it sponsors. During the last 12 years a total of 36 NCAA trophies have been hoisted by Big 12 institutions, with at least one national crown won in all but one year for the Conference, including 19 consecutive seasons.
The Big 12 also takes pride in its academic success with over 600 Academic All-America recipients. Big 12 student-athletes have shown commitment to their studies by earning numerous individual academic recognitions. Twelve times in the past 12 years a league athlete has garnered the top academic honor for their respective sport.
The Conference continues to be at the forefront in college athletics reform, specifically with student-athlete welfare issues to include cost of attendance, student-athlete time demands and strengthening its policy for concussion diagnosis and management. In 2014-15, the Big 12 introduced and hosted three "State of Collegiate Athletics" forums to examine the issues facing college athletics. Two were conducted in Washington, D.C and one in New York City. The third forum featured a special session comprised of Big 12 student-athletes. The forums have continued over the past two seasons with two events held in Dallas.