The Future of Iowa State in Conference Realignment

Last Updated on June 5, 2014

There are a lot of questions regarding conference realignment, and for many schools it means their future is uncertain. Chris Williams (@ChrisMWilliams) over at asked me to address some questions for Iowa State.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I just completed a 10-day trip with stops at Ole Miss, Texas A&M and University of Tulsa. Being cooped up in the car for almost 3,000 miles gave me and my boyfriend, Chadd Scott of SEC/ACC/C-USA website, plenty of time to discuss conference realignment. We worked through the questions about Iowa State together, and today you can find our answers on!

Here’s a taste of what we covered over there:

Iowa State has been a player in a major conference for over a century. At this point, the future is unknown and every scenario that a person can think of is hypothetical. But if indeed the future of college athletics is going to four 16-team conferences, do you feel like the Cyclones will be a part of one? If yes, which one and why?


A lot of Iowa State fans want the school to be proactive in these times. With the amount of leverage that a school like Iowa State has, is that even possible? If so, how? Or, do the Iowa State‘s of the world have to wait for the dominoes to fall?


Let’s say that the Pac-12 does indeed jump to 16 but other conferences do not follow immediately. Reports have linked teams like Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri (or some combination three of them) landing in the Big East. Would something like that make sense to you in the present day?

The future of the Big East’s television package is currently unknown. In a scenario that the Big East expands to let’s say, 12 (or more) football teams. Any estimation as to what each school could make in a future television deal?


Is there a chance that Oklahoma and Texas’ talk about going to the Pac-12 is a power play to force Notre Dame’s hand? At the end of the day, I assume that Texas nor Notre Dame want super conferences right?


  • Kristi Dosh

    Kristi A. Dosh is the founder of and has served as a sports business analyst and contributor for outlets such as Forbes, ESPN, SportsBusiness Journal, Bleacher Report, SB Nation and more. She is also the author of a book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires. Kristi is a sought-after consultant and speaker on topics related to the business of college sports and a former practicing attorney. Click to learn more

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  • superdestroyer
    September 12, 2011

    For the Big EAst to add teams from the midwest, the non-football schools would have to be dropped.

    That creates a basketball conference of Georgetown, St Johns, Seton Hall, Providence, Depaul, Villanoa, Notre Dame, and Marquette. That would probably be a better arrangement for those schools than being in a 20 team Big EAst basketball conference.

    • Nick Espi
      September 21, 2011

      Why would they have to be dropped? It’d be a 16 team conference Which seems like it could be the popular thing and only 10 teams for football.
      Big 12 might be around for a little while longer though.

  • vp19
    September 12, 2011

    Trouble is, I believe the basketball schools own the right to the Big East name.

    I personally think it would make more sense for the Big East football members to go to a new version of the Big 12 under that conference’s banner if the BCS, recognizing the Big 12’s situation, agrees to let it remain a BCS league. Moreover, I would add a stipulation that any Big East member that did not emigrate to the Big 12 would automatically lose its BCS standing. (Wouldn’t you love to see the hissy fit from Jim Boeheim over that?)

    • Tia_C
      September 15, 2011

      So how wild would this scenario be, to assume Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and OK State leave, and just merge remaining Big 12 teams into one division and add Big East to the other? TCU would be in the West division, it would round out a 16-team conference. Travel-wise, this might make good sense. Granted there are probably a lot of issues with this scenario, but worth a thought.

      West East
      ——————– —————–
      Kansas……………..South Florida
      Kansas State…….Syracuse
      Texas……………….West Virginia
      Texas Tech……….Cincinnati
      Iowa State………..Louisville

  • Hilton Magik
    September 13, 2011

    When you count Iowa State’s TV value, you addressed only the Des Moines market. However, Iowa State would very likely carry all of the TV markets in the state of Iowa (population 3 million) and have a significant presence in bordering state TV markets such as Omaha and Sioux Falls, which include a significant number of Iowa residents. Although the Ames/Des Moines DMA is only 432,820 TV sets by itself, I count a total of 1,542,090 TV sets that Iowa State would bring to any conference aside from the Big 10, which already has those markets (see below). That doesn’t necessarily make it a top tier $$ catch, but it seems like it would make them a TV money winner over teams like Texas Tech, West Virginia, Kansas State, Utah, and others. Do the smaller markets count for nothing in your opinion? Would be interested to hear your thoughts.

    Des Moines 432,820
    Cedar Rapids 346,010
    Davenport 309,800
    Sioux City 155,490
    Mason City 144,590
    Keokuk 102,010
    Ottumwa 51,370
    TOTAL: 1,542,090

    Omaha 418,290
    Sioux Falls 263,790

  • Mark Miller
    September 16, 2011

    I would not worry about Texas or Texas Tech. I think for the AD’s and Conference Leaders that you try to retain the 4 Big 12 schools, MU, KU, ISU, KSU and look at adding Houston and AFA to a division. It keeps an extra foot in the door in the Houston football hotbed and AFA has both a national audience and keeps you in the Denver market. The Big 12 schools moving into this entity would have name familiarty and that is good.

  • Nick Espi
    September 21, 2011

    1. The PAC 12 is not expanding
    2. Missouri will not go to the big east
    3. Missouri will most likely go to the Big 10 if they do leave because the SEC decided against having them
    4. Texas could now go independent with their own network but most likely won’t
    5. I’ve heard that Kansas, Baylor, and Iowa State might join the Big East and Villanova might join for football (most likely not)
    6. I’ve heard more negatives about KSU’s situation than any other school.