The Pac-12 conference has decided not to expand according to a press release from conference officials. With rumors swirling about Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech joining the conference, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott released the following statement:
In light of the widespread speculation about potential scenarios for Conference re-alignment, the Pac-12 Presidents and Chancellors have affirmed their decision to remain a 12-team conference. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said, "after careful review we have determined that it is in the best interests of our member institutions, student-athletes and fans to remain a 12-team conference. While we have great respect for all of the institutions that have contacted us, and certain expansion proposals were financially attractive, we have a strong conference structure and culture of equality that we are committed to preserve. With new landmark TV agreements and plans to launch our innovative television networks, we are going to focus solely on these great assets, our strong heritage and the bright future in front of us."
First and foremost, on the surface, this a big win for the University of Colorado. Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech potentially joining the conference could negate the benefits of moving from the Big 12 to the Pac 12. A major reason the Buffs switched conferences was to have a presence in California which has fertile recruiting grounds as well as a huge Colorado alumni base. If the Buffs were in an eight team conference with Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Texas Tech, Arizona, Arizona State and Oklahoma State it would eliminate that California presence as well as put us in a division that has power and financially dominate athletic departments in Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas. Rumors have been swirling that the Buffs could be in a four team pod or the conference would do a zipper format but nothing would be as beneficial as the current format.
Second, after reading the release a few times now, their is no mention of staying at 12 teams for the next five years or ten years so this distraction/rumor mill/discussions may come back every summer which I hate. This expansion talk has turned the attention away from the results on the field to off the field lawsuits, power plays, Texas and the Longhorn Network, Oklahoma demanding resignations, Baylor commissioning "third party polls" and other non athletic noise.
Source: Larry Scott walked away from weekend meeting with Texas knowing that LHN and Pac-12 revenue model could not work. Added revenue that would have come from OU joining league would not offset scheduling and travel issues associated with 14 schools.
Jim Vertuno of the Associated Press is hearing Texas and Oklahoma will negotiate with the Big 12 to stay in the conference for five years:
Big 12 source tells AP
#Texas and OU officials to meet in next few days to negotiate deal that keeps both in league 5 years.