Postscripts: San Diego State Wants Out, While Pac-12 Remains Delusional

NCAA Football: Rice at Southern California

What’s going on in the Big 12 and beyond? I expand and explain every Sunday in Postscripts at Heartland College Sports, your home for independent Big 12 coverage.

This week, San Diego State is that ex that doesn’t want to be your ex just yet, ‘Big Game Bob’ has Pac-12 analysis and check out our latest Q&A with a Big 12 voice you’re going to want to hear from.

San Diego State Has Entered the Chat

San Diego State has made no secret that it wants to join a Power 5 conference. The school’s athletic director, J.D. Wicker, said recently that they’re either joining the Pac-12 or the Big 12.

So, on Friday, the Aztecs served notice to the Mountain West Conference, its current home.

Well, not exactly.


Here’s what the Aztecs did. They sent a withdrawal letter to the MWC. In the letter SDSU indicated its intention to resign. However, they asked for a one-month extension due to “unforeseen delays involving other collegiate athletic conferences beyond our control.”

Why, you ask? Because the Aztecs know they’ll be on the hook for an exit fee one way or the other if they leave the MWC. That’s standard boiler-plate contract language in these situations. SDSU is hoping to get the deferral so they’re not on the hook for the escalator. SDSU has to provide a year’s notice. Do that and the buyout is $16.5 million. Do it after July 1 — which would be one year’s notice to join any conference in 2024-25 — and it goes up to nearly $34 million.

Basically, San Diego State is that person you dated in college that broke up with you but asked you to keep dating them so they wouldn’t have to go to parties alone during the holidays. Get it now?

I can’t imagine the MWC saying yes to this. But, in this absurd cycle of college realignment, this all kinda fits.

It also exposes the biggest mistake the Pac-12 has made the last year — it hasn’t expanded. It’s pretty clear the league wants to do so but it won’t do it without a TV deal. It ignores the fact that schools like SDSU and SMU would give the league some value with the networks and at least get them closer to a deal that would match the Big 12’s.


Or did they miss how the Big 12 did that when Texas and Oklahoma decided to leave? Expanded by four schools and got $3 million more per team per year in the new TV deal. It’s not SEC or Big Ten money, for sure. But it was an improvement over what anyone thought the Big 12 could get without OU/Texas.

This Week in “As The Pac-12 Turns”

Speaking of entering the chat, what has former Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby been up to lately?

If this is an odd place to put a reference to Bowlsby, well this week it isn’t. Bowlsby hopped on Big 12 Radio earlier this week and had some things to say when comparing the Big 12 to the Pac-12.

“We have some advantages that the Pac-12 doesn’t have,” he said. “They have no audience to their West.”

Before you go “Well, that’s uninformed,” remember that Bowlsby’s previous job before the Big 12 was the athletic director at … Stanford.

Here’s the context around that quote:

“I think the fact that we’re going to be in four time zones, have a central location, we have some advantages that the Pac-12 doesn’t have. They have no audience to their west and, so, we had some advantages and going pre-emtively was probably the right decision, especially going short. It’s only a six-year extension, so we’ll be back at the negotiating table before long. The fact that we have both our partners, FOX and ESPN, with us, and those continue to be the best platforms for the proliferation of our contest, so I look at it not having all the details of the negotiations or the final outcome, but I think it’s a solid deal.”


He also acknowledged that catching either the Big Ten or the SEC in revenue is “unattainable.”

What did you expect Bowlsby to say? He’s always been a realist when it comes to this stuff.

In case you’re wondering, Bowlsby has been a consultant for the Big 12 for the past year since retirement. So he’s not out of the loop on these things.

Meanwhile, it was Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson’s turn to sing from the Pac-12 togetherness hymnal. He told the Phoenix Sun Devils podcast:

“We’re solidly in the Pac-12,” Anderson said. “And that’s where we really believe we belong, and where we want to be with a lot of like-minded schools, with very good competition, and really elite academics. That’s important to us. We don’t talk or think about other conferences, very frankly.”

Don’t worry, Ray. The rest of the world is doing the thinking for you.

Plus, our buddy John Canzano had another report this week that the Pac-12 is looking at every possible alternative for expansion as it relates to their television contract, including a downright delusional one:

I am told by sources that the Pac-12 had the potential media-rights partners model deals that included both San Diego State and SMU. No surprise there. I am told the conference “looked at every scenario” by a source in the room. The Pac-12 even asked potential partners for media models that involved UCLA.

In case you’re unaware, UCLA will be joining the Big Ten next season. It’s part of the reason the Pac-12 is struggling with a TV deal and with expansion. The idea that the members of the conference asked potential TV partners for that piece of information tells me they still haven’t let go of USC, UCLA and Big Ten screwing them over.

The Big 12 members let that go when it comes to Texas and OU a long time ago.


Catch Up With Travis Goff

Earlier this week our Pete Mundo did an interview with Kansas athletic director Travis Goff on a range of issues, including athletics at Kansas and the trajectory of the Big 12 Conference. He had high praise for Brett Yormark, the league’s commissioner, and a lot more to say about where the Jayhawks are headed. Of course, expansion came up.

If you haven’t watched the interview, you can do so below. It’s worth your time.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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