Reports indicate that the Big 12 is looking to respond to the recent shakeup in the NCAA.
The conference is said to be involved in deep discussions to add multiple Pac-12 programs to solidify its membership in the wake of USC and UCLA leaving for the Big Ten last week.
According to sources of CBS Sports‘ Dennis Dodd, at least four teams have specifically been mentioned as specific targets for the Big 12, with the potential for more to be added as the ongoing realignment in college sports continues.
The four schools specifically named as Big 12 targets were Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado. Oregon and Washington are also said to be in consideration, according to Dodd, which would make the conference an 18-team league and the biggest in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision).
In aiming to remain competitive with the Big Ten, one source told CBS Sports that “everything is on the table” for the Big 12, and another added there is “no question” that the conference needs to be aggressive in realignment.
A merger of the Big 12 and Pac-12 is also said to be a possibility.
With USC and UCLA set to depart the Pac-12 in 2024, the conference has 10 remaining members, five of which sponsor men’s and women’s swimming and diving and one with only a women’s program (Washington State).
Last year, the Big 12 had the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma accept invitations to join the SEC in July 2025, though four other schools (BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, Central Florida) will be joining the conference in the future, bringing its total up to 12 when the dust settles.
Could this be the future of the Big 12? pic.twitter.com/wW0IevqUbN
— Mason Horodyski (@MasonHorodyski) July 5, 2022
As it stands now, after Texas leaves, the Big 12 would have four schools that sponsor both men’s and women’s swimming & diving, along with three more with solely a women’s team.
The Pac-12 released a statement Monday saying that it would immediately begin negotiations on its next TV deal, setting its intention to move forward with its 10 remaining members.
The conference’s current TV contract expires in 2024.
It is set to enter an exclusive 30-day negotiation window with ESPN and Fox.
Pac-12 play seems to be leveraging teams in expansion with certainty of media rights now instead of waiting for Big 12. That’s not to say Big 12 could do the same thing tomorrow and go to market. I’m told the difference in media rights btw Big 12 and Pac-12 would be “negligible”
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) July 5, 2022
However, the Pac-12 also released a statement last week saying that its Board of Directors “authorized the conference to explore all expansion options.”
Last year, the Pac-12 said it was not interested in adding new members.
The conference’s projected average annual value (AAV) dropped from $500 million to $300 million when USC and UCLA departed, according to the San Jose Mercury News.