‘Renewed Optimism’ That Four Corner Schools Could Join Big 12: Report
We’ve reached March and the Pac-12 is still without a media rights deal, and the conference’s member schools are anxious about the future.
George Kliavkoff is expected to approach the school with an offer by the end of this month, but with the Pac-12’s media rights being on the open market for nearly five months, and there’s not a “home run” deal coming down the pike.
With every passing day, the pressure hikes up and the anxiety with it. Will the Pac-12 get something done, and if they don’t what will happen? Well, according to a report from The Athletic, the Big 12 remains vigilant in its efforts to expand west and has set itself up nicely to do so.
“Kliavkoff is facing pressure to deliver a new media rights deal to his members by the end of the month,” The Athletic says. “If the dollar figures or the details are underwhelming, March may be the moment when the Big 12 finally strikes. Sources briefed on the discussions say the conference has been in recent contact with the so-called Four Corners schools — Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah — which has renewed optimism that convincing them to join is possible.”
We’ve known for months that Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark has the desire to take his conference westward, and he’s not exactly been quiet about that. However, the fact that he is still in contact with Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah means that there could be real traction there if the Pac-12’s deal isn’t satisfactory.
Perhaps the most interesting part about the report is that The Athletic seems to think that the Big 12 isn’t waiting for the Pac-12 to crumble, but could be a contributing factor is why it does so. Plus, it appears that the schools are on a different page than their commissioner, on numerous topics. There have been reports that Kliavkoff is looking to add San Diego State and SMU to its membership to boost media rights value, but the Pac-12 presidents can’t even agree that those additions are good for the conference.
“Motivating those presidents to expand the Pac-12 has also been a challenge. They have not yet reached a consensus about inviting San Diego State, SMU or other expansion candidates, sources briefed on the discussions said. Two summers ago, in the wake of the SEC adding Oklahoma and Texas, the Pac-12 board had a chance to welcome any number of current Big 12 schools — and passed on all of them.
“But circumstances have changed. Those sources believe if Yormark can convince the leadership at two Pac-12 schools to join the Big 12, that might be all it takes to land all four and pull the conference apart.”
While the Big 12 isn’t attempting to dismantle the Pac-12, it has set itself up to capitalize if things fall apart, and it certainly looks like that’s a possibility at this point.
“I don’t think any of us are trying to dismantle the Pac-12,” Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades told SicEm365 on Tuesday. “If there’s opportunity, and whenever their TV media deal comes to fruition and if those institutions decide that it’s not good for them, then the Big 12 will be ready. And that probably is as simple as I can say it.”