After a wild two weeks that has seen Oklahoma and Texas announce they’re leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, and public fights between the Big 12 and ESPN, the Big 12 Conference is looking for a way forward.
A new report from The Athletic says, “Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is meeting with Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff today to discuss the possibility of a scheduling alliance, merger or other options for their conferences to strategically work together.”
Both men declined comment to The Athletic, but their report states that, “One option would be a scheduling alliance between Big 12 and Pac-12 members. Bowlsby acknowledged this possibility on Monday during his appearance at a Texas Senate committee meeting on the future of college sports in Texas. Pursuing a merger with another conference is another possibility.”
Another source said it would be more of an “information download” for the Pac-12 to see if they find value in the remaining eight Big 12 schools.
There has been much discussion about the Big 12 and Pac-12 possibly discussing a future together. Initially after the move was announce that Texas and Oklahoma were planning to leave for the SEC, new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff said that he would “listen” to any calls from the Big 12.
But Kliavkoff added he’s in no hurry to extend the TV deals, saying, “There is no rush to renegotiate the media rights deals. The macro trends are all in our favor, and I think they will continue to be in our favor for years to come. Waiting doesn’t hurt us.”
On the TV side, the Pac-12’s contracts with ESPN and Fox expire in the spring of 2024, which is one year after the Big Ten’s current contracts conclude and one year before the Big 12’s come to an end.
However at Pac-12 Media Days, Kliavkoff threw some cold water on the idea of Pac-12 expansion when he said, “We believe the move by Texas and Oklahoma strengthens our unique position as the only Power 5 conference with teams in the Mountain and Pacific time zones.”
And we all know the TV networks play a role in this as ESPN and FOX rejecting the Big 12’s request to discuss a new deal this spring may have been a catalyst for Texas and Oklahoma to decide to move on.