Report: Memphis willing to spend $500 million on upgrades to join Big 12
Of all the candidates jockeying to join the Big 12 if the conference does indeed decide to expand, it’s hard to imagine any school putting forth a better proposal than Memphis has reportedly done.
According to documents obtained by Jake Trotter of ESPN, Memphis president David Rudd has pledged to spend $500 million on academic and facility upgrades over a five-year span if his university was chosen as a partner in an expanded Big 12 conference. In addition to that massive number, FedEx chairman Fred Smith is prepared to have his Memphis-based company sponsor the Big 12 Football Championship Game – in the event of its creation – as well as the basketball championship.
In a letter Smith wrote to help Memphis’ bid, it’s clear FedEx is offering strong support to help push Memphis into a Power 5 conference:
“We strongly support the university’s efforts to become a member of an expanded Big 12 athletic conference.
“We believe the University of Memphis and the Big 12 are a great fit and hope our support will contribute to the University of Memphis becoming a member of this storied athletic conference in the near future.”
Aside from Memphis, the article states that Houston, Colorado State and Central Florida are all stating their case for entrance into the Big 12 Conference, as well. The presidents and athletic directors from the Big 12 are scheduled to meet May 31 in Texas to further discuss the league’s options in regards to expansion moving forward.
One thing is for sure, if Memphis gets into the Big 12, the school will certainly have FedEx to thank.