The Big 12 are losing Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC. However, they are gaining teams now as well, but not the Memphis Tigers. To the surprise and disappointment of fans, the Big 12 is not taking Memphis into the fold. Instead, the school will remain in the American Athletic Conference. That has the administration scrambling to make the best of the situation.
Of course, the best thing to do is say that there is more to come in the future. While that might be true for Memphis, the move to the Big 12 just made so much sense. Now, there is an argument for a couple of other conferences, but the Big 12 was the one that should have been done from the Tigers’ perspective. However, the conference didn’t seem to believe so. Read the University of Memphis President, Dr. M. David Rudd’s statement.
Now, the statement is filled with a lot of administration talk. “Stay proud” is the refrain throughout. There are some good points brought up by Dr. Rudd, yet fans are not really buying it. The best section here is when he talks about the landscape of college athletics.
“Intercollegiate athletics and conference realignment will continue to evolve at a rapid pace. With that will come more change and more opportunity.”
While that is true, fans seemed to be all in on the Big 12 as the next step up. Really, it is surprising to see the four teams chosen over Memphis. BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF are all coming to the conference. Cincy has been a longtime rival for the Tigers and it is unfortunate they will not be in the same conference anymore. With a history that Memphis has had, remaining in a non-Power 5 conference is a letdown for fans.
Memphis Tigers Conference History
Over the years, there have been a number of conference changes for Memphis. They have gone from conference members to independent affiliation multiple times. The very first conference that the Tigers were ever a part of was the Mississippi Valley Conference. That was short-lived as was their membership to the SIAA and Missouri Valley Conferences, respectively.
After the MVC, the Tigers remained independent from 1973-1995. That is when they made their transition to Conference USA. Louisville used to be a member of that Conference as well. That is where the two teams forged their rivalry. Now listen to the list of teams that used to be in the conference and think about where those teams are now compared to Memphis.
UCF, Cincinnati, Louisville, Houston, Marquette, TCU, and others. How about that? It is no wonder that fans have found themselves frustrated with this news. If a deal cannot be made with the Big 10 or the ACC, then things are looking dark for the Tigers. Things are moving fast in the NCAA, and Memphis could find themselves moving soon. However, the administration has to make it happen.