Big 12 Unanimously Approves Conference Championship Game: Details, Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2016

Commissioner of the Big 12 Bob Bowlsby speaks to reporters after the first day of the Big 12 sports conference meeting in Irving, Texas, Wednesday, June 1, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
LM Otero/Associated Press

The Big 12 will soon no longer be the only major football conference without a championship game, as its board unanimously voted in favor of implementing one. 

Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman was among the first to report the news. He also provided a comment from Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby regarding the timeline for the title game:

Brian Davis @BDavisAAS

Bob Bowlsby on a Big 12 title game approval: "We have a a lot of details to work out, but we have a year to go henceforth."

The Big 12 has not staged a conference championship game since 2010 because of the departures of Nebraska and Colorado, which left the league with fewer teams than required to hold such an event.

That rule is gone, as the Division I council voted in January to let conferences with fewer than 12 teams have a championship game as long as every team plays one another during the regular season, per Max Olson of ESPN.com.

Per George Schroeder of USA Today, the Big 12 is in line to generate a considerable amount of revenue via a conference title game:

George Schroeder @GeorgeSchroeder

Big 12 championship game would bring almost $30 million annually, Bob Bowlsby said. “High 20s,” he said.

Schroeder also reported it is unclear where the initial championship game will take place in 2017 assuming plans move forward as expected:

George Schroeder @GeorgeSchroeder

Way too early to figure out where the conference title game in 2017 (or beyond) would be held. (Arlington/Houston/KC, start your bids.)

ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg provided television viewing information and potential venue plans as well:

Adam Rittenberg @ESPNRittenberg

Big 12 championship will be aired by Fox (in odd years) and ESPN (in even years). Bowlsby envisions neutral site but not ruling anything out

The lack of a conference championship game may have prevented the Big 12 from putting a team in the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2014. Although Oklahoma qualified in 2015, both Baylor and TCU missed out during the first season despite each losing only one game.

Had the Bears and Horned Frogs met in a conference title game, there is a strong chance the winner would have made it over the eventual national champion Ohio State Buckeyes.

The Big 12 has been at a disadvantage despite being stacked with talented teams, but that promises to change in 2017 since a championship game will put every major conference on a level playing field once again.

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