JONESBORO, Ark – Arkansas State athletic department today unveiled plans to join the Big 12 athletic conference for all sports starting with the 2015 football season.
The conference invitation comes on the heels of the Red Wolves winning 3 consecutive conference championships with the Sunbelt conference and two straight bowl victories. ASU has gained a national reputation for starting the head coaching careers for a number of high profile college football coaches.
“I believe ASU provides us a school with a winning tradition along with excellent insight into other schools we can’t seem to beat,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced. “(former ASU coach) Harsin was there when Oklahoma lost in the Fiesta bowl, Freeze at Ole Miss put the final nail in Mac Brown’s career this season. We are just going to assume how next year’s Kansas State game against Auburn will go.”
The Big 12 has sought to become a 12-member conference again following the departure of Nebraska and Colorado in 2011, and Texas A&M and Missouri in 2012. The conference added TCU and West Virginia for the 2012 football season and has been actively seeking two additional members.
Still, the addition of Arkansas State came as a surprise to many in the college sports world upon hearing the announcement. The deal was initially reported by
“It is certainly not the first team I would expect the Big 12 to add, but when you analyze the move it does make a lot of sense,” CBS Sports analyst Bruce Feldman tells us. “They are a program that has began recruiting strongly in SEC regions, it establishes a footprint in the Little Rock, Memphis, and Northern Mississippi markets. It can’t be any worse than adding West Virginia for sure.”
The Big 12 says that they are still seeking one additional school to join in time for the 2015 season. The conference initially offered BYU, however the invitation was revoked after beating Texas, leading to the demise of Mac Brown, this past season.
Arkansas State additionally announced the start of the RedWolf Network in partnership with ESPN. The RedWolf Network will broadcast up to 3 RedWolf football games and 12 basketball games each season. The network will also have exclusive rights to all Arkansas high school football and basketball games. The network should be available to approximately 1.5% of the Arkansas State viewing market and costs $199/year for access.
(special thanks to @RedWolf_Marine for the story idea)