The Pac-12 is still reeling from USC and UCLA deciding to leave the conference for the Big Ten. Since then, there have been constant rumors, reports, and speculation about other members leaving the conference for another conference, like the Big 12. Well, Arizona State Athletic Director Ray Anderson shot down any ideas of more programs leaving any time soon.
Every day, a “new” source has a “report” about combination of Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington applying to join the Big 12 imminently.
According to Anderson, “everything out there has been overblown and exaggerated and lacking any credibility.”
In an interview with The Arizona Republic, Anderson said that ASU (or any other Pac-12 school) moving to the Big 12 was “not seriously discussed” and he only had “one discussion with one Big 12 athletic director,” whom he did not name. Plus, he said it was the Big 12 “floating the possibility of the Pac-12 schools defecting to their side.”
It certainly sounds like the Big 12 is publicly pressuring the remaining Pac-12 schools into joining its conference. That’s an interesting ploy. They want to project themselves as the stronger conference over the Pac-12. However, some CFB writers don’t think that’s the case.
If one takes away the recency bias of USC and UCLA leaving, it would notice a ten-member Pac-12 is on the same platform as the Big 12. In fact, the Pac-12 might be in a better spot financially.
Does anyone know what the Big 12’s value is without Oklahoma and Texas? With those schools, it distributed more money to it members than the Pac-12 in 2020 ($38 million to $33 million). However in 2021, then conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby told the Texas Senate “could see the value of [the Big 12’s] television deal cut in half” with those two schools leaving. What school wants to join a conference with that fearful evaluation?
Individually, the remaining Pac-12 members need to remain patience. It is their best option. They can see what George Kliavkoff comes up with in his current media rights negotiations to keep the conference together. Also, the Big Ten or the SEC could still come calling for a selective few. There’s no reason any of these schools should immediately give into the Big 12’s public pressure. For now, it sounds like Anderson and other Pac-12 officials are doing just that.