Big 12 Commissioner Meeting With Pac-12 To Discuss Potential Conference Merge

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby will meet with Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff on Tuesday to discuss a possible merging of the two conferences, according to multiple reports.

The meeting is expected to be the first step in seeing if the two conferences would benefit strategically from working together in the future as college sports goes through a new phase of realignment, with the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma officially set to leave the Big 12 for the SEC in July 2025.

According to The Athletic‘s Max Olson, the options include a scheduling alliance between the schools, a merger, or even the Big 12 working with the Pac-12 to aggregate their negotiating rights for their next TV deal.

Bowlsby has recently said that the value of the Big 12’s current TV deal will be cut in half once Texas and Oklahoma leave.

When the news of the two powerhouse schools leaving for the SEC became official, Bowlsby began looking for options, with the Longhorns and Sooners representing the conference’s two biggest revenue-generating schools.

From a swimming perspective, a possible Pac-12/Big 12 merge would make logical sense, bringing together the two least-populated conferences. From a competitive standpoint, the majority of Pac-12 schools would out-class the few remaining teams in the Big 12 in the pool.

At the 2021 NCAA Championships, the two teams that finished second at Big 12s behind Texas—the Kansas women and West Virginia men—qualified a combined two swimmers and scored five total points (though WVU did qualify multiple non-scoring divers).

The Pac-12 could benefit from a merge in terms of getting more eyes on its games if some are now contested in the Central Time Zone. As it currently stands, having competitions solely in the Pacific Time Zone means the Pac-12 is missing out on a huge section of the non-hardcore-fan population due to the late start times.

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Austinpoolboy
1 month ago

West Virginia travel to west coast for conference meets? I don’t see it. They will try to hook up with Big Ten or ACC

Yup
Reply to  Austinpoolboy
1 month ago

the ACC already took a look at WVU and shook their heads ‘No’

Brian
Reply to  Austinpoolboy
1 month ago

I believe WVU had interest in the ACC the last conference realignment cycle. The ACC was trying to keep schools with a similar academic profile and didn’t have interest. I think the B10 is only wanting large research schools that fall within its academic certification. It was years ago and maybe conferences will need to consider these options but a conference affiliation is more than just geography.

SwimFan49
Reply to  Brian
1 month ago

I have no doubt that what you say is true regarding the last B1G additions, but I always understood the primary factor in taking Rutgers and Maryland especially was the TV markets in which they sit.

Admin
Reply to  SwimFan49
1 month ago

I do believe the television markets were the primary driver for it, but the Big Ten is a conference with very strong intra-university academic ties as well. It seems silly to base football alignments on academics and research, but consider this – Michigan football budget is $125 million, Michigan’s research budget is $1.62 billion.

West Virginia is definitely growing as a research institution, but that’s more to the tune of a record-breaking $195 million last year.

In essentially the same market, Pitt probably makes more sense (though in both cases, there’s an overlap with Penn State there). Notre Dame, while currently aligned with the ACC, might wind up in the Big Ten if they are forced to move football into… Read more »

thezwimmer
1 month ago

West Virginia to ACC could rekindle old Big East/C-USA rivalries with Pitt, Syracuse, Louisville, and Notre Dame

1650butterfly
1 month ago

Iowa State, TCU, and Kansas makes sense going to Pac 12. But there’s no way West Virginia is going to travel all the way to the west coast for conference meets. Would be a better fit for them in ACC or even Big 10. Or you never know, SMU and Cincinnati could move to Big 12 to no longer have a dual-meet as conference?

Last edited 1 month ago by 1650butterfly

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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