Big 12 delays Mexico initiative

photo by: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark addresses the media during the NCAA college Big 12 women's basketball media day Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo.

The Big 12 Conference announced Tuesday morning that its Big 12 Mexico project, which would have brought the Kansas men’s and women’s basketball teams to Mexico City for games against Houston on Dec. 14, has been delayed “with a new target date of 2025.”

“Since Big 12 Mexico was announced (last June), a variety of major initiatives have been added to the Conference’s agenda — headlined by the onboarding of four new member institutions,” read a statement by the league on X. “The Big 12 will continue to build its brand in Mexico through its broadcast partners and remains enthusiastic about bringing the Big 12 to Mexico.”

The initiative was also expected to feature the creation of a bowl game for football in Monterrey beginning in 2026, as well as future exhibitions for baseball and women’s soccer teams.

At the time it was announced, KU athletic director Travis Goff said that Big 12 Mexico would provide value for the school.

“We think there’s a student recruitment opportunity,” he said. “We think in particular the sport of basketball resonates at a really high level. There are millions upon millions of basketball fans in that country and in Mexico City proper.”

The games between Kansas and Houston would not have counted toward conference standings, despite being contested between a pair of league foes.

Now there is some question as to whether KU and UH will be the teams selected to play in Mexico City if the Big 12 can get the game going in 2025. Yormark had suggested at the time the plan was announced that the matchup would function as a “second game” between teams that did not play each other twice during the regular conference schedule (which no longer guarantees home-and-home pairings). Indeed, the Houston Chronicle reported shortly after Tuesday’s announcement, citing a Big 12 source, that “there’s no guarantee” those same two schools would be selected for a prospective 2025 matchup.

Regardless, the postponement of those December games leaves open spots on the KU basketball schedules. The KU men are expected to host North Carolina on Nov. 8 and play Michigan State in the Champions Classic in Atlanta on Nov. 12, and have been reportedly courted as a prospective participant for a Las Vegas-based tournament called the Players Era. The women’s team will play Iowa in a neutral-site matchup at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Nov. 20.


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