What is the future of the Pac-12 Conference?
As the university conference realignment and expansion speculation and rumors continue to circulate, take a look at some burning questions facing the Pac-12 Conference and possible answers to those questions from faculty and conference members.
Keep coming back as we update this story with more questions about the future of Pac-12.
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Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News responded to a question about the chances of the Pac-12 collapsing if Stanford, Cal, Washington and Oregon left for the Big Ten.
He wrote, “100 percent. In that scenario, a total of six schools would go to the Big Ten, and the Four Corners (Arizona, ASU, Colorado, and Utah) would undoubtedly go to the Big 12. Of course, the conference could reform with Oregon State, Washington State and a number of Mountain West schools, but it would be Pac-12 in name only.”
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Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports wrote: Separated from any Big Ten discussion, ESPN now has a chance to become something of a “creator” in relation to these leagues. Each conference has an eye on each other’s schools in what could become the next big realignment story. Without a Big Ten deal, ESPN has theoretically freed up money to spend, as both conferences are currently in flux. The Pac-12 is desirable because ESPN would not have any games in the valuable “fourth window” – after 10pm ET. The “Pac-12 After Dark” tag was derided by some, but it would be valuable to ESPN. Taken to the extreme, it’s worth asking: Would ESPN now have leverage over which league would survive this round of realignment? Word is already circulating that Pac-12 – in the midst of its own media rights negotiations – may have to agree to a media rights deal that allows Cal, Oregon Stanford and Washington a “way out” if approached. by another conference. “
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Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News wrote, “But the Pac-12 and ACC are vulnerable to future poaching, the former more so than the latter: with a rights-granting agreement extending into the middle of In the 2030s, the ACC is better defended against attacks by the Big Ten and the SEC; the Pac-12 rights-granting agreement expires in two years. (That said, we believe North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia Tech may be on Big Ten radar in the future based on combination of academic influence, media value, and recruitment channels.) The current situation is unprecedented. Every Big Ten statement about further expansion, whether a statement from Commissioner Kevin Warren or an anonymous source , is considered an immediate threat to the survival of Pac-12.”
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Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News wrote: “Most likely, a decision on expansion and the act of signing a new media rights agreement will occur simultaneously. In our estimation, the course of events will go one of two ways: — Pac-12 signs an exclusive agreement with ESPN, as a conference of 10 schools, over the next two to three weeks.—Pac-12 negotiates with multiple bidders on the open market and looks at expansion in a process that consumes six – a eight weeks, if not more.”
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Kevin Borba of Sports Illustrated included San Diego State SMU, UNLV, Fresno State, Boise State and Houston on his list.
He wrote: “Thus making it vital that the Pac-12 add at least two more teams, but the ideal number would be six. Going back to 12 is a must, but the conference needs to be on the offensive side of things at least once. and stay ahead of the Big 12 and ACC when it comes to forming larger megaconferences. The Big Ten and SEC are already destined and in a position to form their megaconference, everyone else is trying to catch up. there are no teams out there that will bring the value and the prestige the conference lost with USC and UCLA, but more teams equals more markets, which equals more money.”
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Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren recently told Action Network’s Brett McMurphy that there are a “handful of schools” beyond Notre Dame that the conference could add to in expansion. Sources indicated that Pac-12 Oregon, Washington, Stanford and Cal schools were among the schools considered by the Big Ten.
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Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports writes, “CBS Sports reported last month that the Big Ten was evaluating California, Oregon, Stanford, and Washington as potential future league members. Equal value to the league as USC and UCLA did upon being added. CBS Sports later reported that interest had cooled in these four schools; however, adding these four schools would create additional inventory for the Big Ten, which could result in ESPN getting a piece of the action.”
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Ryan Ford of the Detroit Free Press wrote, “Just hours after the Big Ten closed a mega deal on Thursday for their TV rights on CBS, Fox and NBC starting in 2023 (plus or minus a season), the UCLA regents realized they might have some say in which conference UCLA competes in, or at least some say in how many kickoffs at 9 am PDT they can handle.”
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Baylor coach Dave Aranda recently made some headlines when he told Waco Rotary, “I know there are still opportunities in our league (for expansion) and potential suitors,” Aranda said. “I think this is very real and it’s happening right now. There are conversations that are happening right now.”
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Timm Hamm of Sports Illustrated wrote, “If the Big Ten becomes aggressive to initiate the escalator clause in their new deal, it could target teams like Oregon and Washington. And if they jump ship, it would be the equivalent of shutting down a PAC -12 that is already on life support. That would open the door for the Big 12 to come visit schools looking for a new home. Schools like Utah, Arizona, Arizona State, and Colorado. That would be a big win for a Big 12 that is struggling to stay relevant following the departure of Texas and Oklahoma in 2025.”
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Please contact Jeremy Cluff at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.
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This article originally appeared in Arizona Republic: Pac-12 Realignment, Live Expansion Updates, Rumors, Burning Questions