Big 12 commissioner Bowlsby says expansion candidates 'disappointed'

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. -- Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said expansion candidates were disappointed by the league's decision to remain at 10 members but didn't question the integrity of the process.

Bowlsby called the presidents and chancellors of the 11 schools being considered by the Big 12 on Monday afternoon after the league's board meeting adjourned in Grapevine, Texas.

"I didn't have anybody tell me that they thought it had been a waste of time," Bowlsby told ESPN.com Saturday before the TCU-West Virginia game. "They thought they were treated respectfully, and that was certainly my aspiration. I wanted to keep them informed. I wanted to feel like they had the opportunity to put their best foot forward."

"I guess you wouldn't call them joyous conversations, but everyone was complimentary in the manner in which they were treated."

Bowlsby and Oklahoma president David Boren, chairman of the Big 12's board, announced Monday afternoon that the decision not to expand was unanimous. But sources told ESPN's Brett McMurphy that several Big 12 schools that favored expansion agreed to form a united front after it became clear that no candidate would receive eight of 10 votes necessary to enter the conference.

After the Big 12 announced in July it would be considering candidates for expansion, 19 schools expressed interest before the list was trimmed to 11, which made presentations to Bowlsby in Texas. Bowlsby said the process had to be "public and transparent" because the Big 12 wasn't actively seeking candidates but instead accepting interest from the outside.

"If anything, there was a feeling among candidate institutions that, 'If that institution is going to get involved, then why not us?'" Bowlsby said. "So we might have ended up with a few more options than I might have originally expected."

The Big 12 presidents didn't vote on individual expansion candidates Monday. The meeting adjourned earlier than many expected, but Bowlsby said he had briefed the presidents enough before and that six hours of discussion was enough to reach a decision.

"There were a number of presidents and chancellors who wanted to hear the discussion in the room," Bowlsby said. "I thought that there was some possibility that we would add [members], but I'm not shocked that it came out the way that it did, either."

Despite the 15-month process, which featured several contradictory statements from Boren, Bowlsby said the league's presidents are more committed to the league's long-term future than ever. The Big 12 in June announced record revenue distributions, but Bowlsby said the league's long-term viability hinges on winning.

"We're going to do everything we can to keep pace," Bowlsby said, "but I'm not sure anybody's drawn a direct correlation between how much you spend and how much success you have. We're going to try to use our resources as thoughtfully as we can, and we have a lot of good coaches and a lot of good athletes. We just need to play at the highest levels. And we have."