TulaneFootballPractice_18.jpg

Tulane Green Wave defensive end Robert Kennedy (90) warms up during practice at Yulman Stadium Thursday, August 25, 2016.

Advocate photo by A.J. SISCO

The competition isn’t over, but it appears Tulane has made the first cut.

The university will present to Big 12 officials next week in Dallas, as one of 12 schools still alive for a coveted invitation into the Power 5 league, ESPN's Brett McMurphy reported on Wednesday night. The website stated Tulane is competing for either two or four spots in league, alongside Air Force, BYU, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Central Florida, Colorado State, Houston, Rice, South Florida, SMU and Temple.

Sources close to The Advocate could neither confirm nor deny the news and Tulane athletic director Troy Dannen stated publicly that he’s signed a confidentiality agreement, barring him from discussing the league’s decision making.

“I can't say a thing,” Dannen told the New Orleans Quarterback Club on Tuesday. “I honest to goodness cannot say a thing because, as everyone knows, there are confidentiality agreements that everyone signed that have interest in Big 12 membership. And we signed it.”

The league has said it hopes to make an announcement on Oct. 17, when it holds its regularly-scheduled meeting with its board of directors.

Tulane was one of many schools to make a video conference pitch to the Big 12 and has reportedly survived longer in the process than Arkansas State, Boise State, East Carolina, New Mexico, Northern Illinois, San Diego State and UNLV, ESPN said.

The website could not confirm or deny the status of expectant contender Memphis from the Big 12’s list.

The pitch in Dallas is the next phase of a process that began in July during the Big 12’s meetings. At that time, the 10-team league announced it would seek to expand by either two or four institutions.

At that time, Dannen publicly expressed interest and said it’s his responsibility to capitalize on any opportunity that presents itself. He positioned Tulane’s candidacy around its highly-rated academic profile, recent investment in athletic facilities and its prominent location in New Orleans.

Tulane and Rice are among just three FBS schools (including Buffalo) in the prestigious Association of American Universities who play football outside of a power five power five conference. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby recommended Dannen to Tulane initially and the two have longstanding friendship.

“Tulane’s greatest assets in this regard include our academic reputation, our standing among the nation’s top research institutions as a member of the AAU and our location in the one of the premier cities in the country, New Orleans,” Dannen said in July. “We have made over $120 million in capital investments to our athletics facilities over the last several years and we have a veteran group of coaches on staff who have experienced competitive success at all levels.

“We are prepared to compete with and against the top institutions in the nation.”