Any speculation that the Big 12 Conference and Pac-12 Conference might end up merging as part of a massive super conference can officially be put to rest, according to a new report from ESPN’s Pete Thamel.
Thamel reported that the two sides had “discussed extensively” the possibility of a merger the last two weeks. He adds, “Officials from the Big 12 told Pac-12 officials on Monday that they’re no longer interested in exploring the partnership, sources said.”
Big 12 sources added that the revenue was the major hang up, as any merger with the remaining 10 Pac-12 teams would not bring addition revenue to the table. The two sides had reportedly held multiple Zoom calls to discuss a merger, prior to the recent break down.
The Pac-12 was reportedly interested in pooling rights, a scheduling concept (which has also reportedly been discussed with the ACC), or a full merger, with the last option being the only one that could have driven value for the Big 12, due to the scope and size of the league, which would have theoretically have ballooned to 22 teams.
Ultimately, after meetings over the weekend, the Big 12 decided that pursuing the merger was not of value to the league.
This news comes days after Big 12 media days, where new commissioner Brett Yormark said the Big 12 Conference is, “open for business”.
He added, “We will leave no stone unturned to grow the conference.”
Yormark would add at the time, “There is not a definitive plan right now. We are exploring all options. I can assure you that, given the time I’ve spent with our presidents, chancellors, and athletic directors, we are a very unified group. It was one of the things that drew me to the job. As we vet out the possibilities, everything will be additive, nothing will be dilutive and I feel very confident that our conference is in the best position it has ever been before. Bob (Bowlsy) is leaving us in a great place.”
And now the Big 12 is in a position to turn down the Pac-12 in its attempt to merge the two leagues.
Also of note, a report from CBS Sports suggested many Big 12 athletic directors were hesitant to move forward with expansion as it could cost their programs money.
So now the Big 12 finds itself in a waiting game with the rest of college football to determine what the next move, if any, will be. There still may be value in looking at specific Pac-12 programs, but the idea of a 22-team super conference appears to be dead.