Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy was part of South Florida's pitch to the Big 12 and former major league first baseman Tino Martinez also went to bat for the Bulls.
The Big 12 on Friday concluded a week of meetings in North Texas with the 11 schools vying to join the conference. USF, Cincinnati and Rice made the final presentations, according to three people with knowledge of the meetings who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the conference was keeping its meetings confidential.
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According to a person familiar with USF's pitch, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeffrey Vinik was part of the team sent to Texas and the presentation included a video with Dungy and Martinez endorsing the Bulls.