Big 12 Reportedly In Talks To Add Up To Six Pac-12 Teams

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.

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.

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.

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thezwimmer
1 month ago

What are the chances of any these schools changing conferences adding swimming? Obviously money isn’t the only factor, but one might think that the significant bump that Oklahoma is getting by joining the SEC could be enough for them to restart their programs. They would obviously need to renovate their current pool, but they do also have an outdoor 50-meter pool with a diving tower.

And the payoff might not be the biggest in the world from American to new Big 12, but you don’t think the largest school by enrollment in the entire country (UCF) can find the money to sponsor swimming, especially in the state of Florida?

Houston too?

BostonLouie
Reply to  thezwimmer
1 month ago

Houston has a team. Agree with the rest. UCF is confounding.

Liam
1 month ago

PAC 12 consider inviting Nebraska, Northwestern, San Diego State, Gonzaga and Fresno State to their party?

Meathead
1 month ago

The NCAA is a dying entity. I hope non revenue sports survive the carnage that is coming

Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Has anyone written the “Abolish Conferences” take yet?

I’m not sure if it’d make sense but I like abolishing things, so. I’m for it.

SCCOACH
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

How about this. Everyone leave the NCAA

Steve Nolan
Reply to  SCCOACH
1 month ago

True, I guess the major conferences are more likely to ditch the NCAA at this point.

Greg
1 month ago

I still do not understand why SMU is not a target for the Big 12 or the PAC-12. I get that the state of Texas is owned by UT and A&M, and everyone else fights for fan loyalty and media time, but SMU has to bring as much to the table as TCU, Baylor, Houston. Anyone?

PAC-12 merger with ACC. East / West divisions. This conference would become the Basketball powerhouse and pretty good in football. Academically aligned. This is the best available play.

Now think of it in Swimming & Diving terms 🙂

Admin
Reply to  Greg
1 month ago

SMU football attendance is pretty low – about 23k/game. I know, bigger games would probably bring in more fans, but in the year before TCU joined the Big 12, they averaged 33k/game and SMU only averaged 20k/game. SMU’s football stadium currently only has a capacity of 32k, though it can allegedly be expanded to 45k if the situation warrants. Even with a few good seasons in a row, SMU doesn’t put that many butts in seats, which is probably worrying.

32k seats is probably not enough to get in unless/until the “Power 5” or whatever that looks like long term decides that it’s going to become a bigger group. I assume that SMU would land above the fold on another… Read more »

Coach A
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

it’s about how many additional tv sets will be turned on in the Dallas area to watch SMU

NM Coach
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

SMU needs Eric Dickerson and Craig James to come back and play so the stadiums will get full again! Truly one of the best “30 for 30” episodes on ESPN!!!!

Admin
Reply to  NM Coach
1 month ago

Sure. And now they could, essentially, pay those guys to come there and not get in trouble. Unlike in the 1970s, when they paid those guys to go there, and it was against the rules, and it ended their football program for a hot minute.

JoelM
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

You also have to imagine that TCU does not want SMU in the Big 12. It gives them a recruiting advantage being the only power 5 school in the Metroplex.

Admin
Reply to  JoelM
1 month ago

That is probably true, and has been true up until this point. Good point.

But I wonder if priorities shift in this new panic of realignment?

TCU is probably not going to the SEC or the Big Ten. Maybe the ACC. But if they’re stuck in the Big 12, and the Big 12 decides that SMU is the next-best option…maybe they’d drop that opposition?

thezwimmer
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

This was always the belief I held when “rumors” of Texas wanting to go to the SEC began swirling around. I was under the impression that A&M would never want another major state school in the same conference, as it draws away from recruiting players who want to play in the best college football conference. It is the same reason why I believe that South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida wouldn’t want their respective in-state rivals to come over from the ACC if it were to ever come to that.

But times have changed and money is the big driving force behind these moves. I guess A&M is willing to accept losing out on a few recruits to UT and having… Read more »

Wahooswimfan
Reply to  Greg
1 month ago

PAC12 (or 4-5 teams from that conference if some more bolt for Big12) ought to at least form a TV rights marketing alliance with the ACC and thus present a 20 team alliance for all sports but football, and 19 team alliance (plus Notre Dame for 6 games a year). Would offer lots of content for ESPN (and combine the ACC and PAC networks to form a coastal network). Media market size wise that would dwarf the SEC, yet allow the teamsnof all sports to retain the majority of contest as geographically proximate for the student athletes. Over time media rights income should match if not exceed the SEC and equal BIG once existing contracts and current poor deals expire.

NB1
1 month ago

with climate change and rising co2 levels and a desperate need to reduce traffic related emissions, this is outrageous. We are going in the WRONG direction!!!!

NB1
Reply to  NB1
1 month ago

of course the trolls will downvote this, with their cotton-candy filled brain

Barbossa Andrew 🐍
Reply to  NB1
1 month ago

That’s an insult to cotton candy

#AthleteLivesMatter
Reply to  NB1
1 month ago

I will write a concurring opinion.

You are correct that the conferences should not be changed; however, your opinion is correct for the wrong reason. The reason is not because of climate change. The reason is that we should cherish our sport’s history and sport’s traditions. The potential dangers of climate change will not be increased by a significant amount due to college sports conference realignment. The danger is the destruction of sports tradition and fan loyalty. Conferences were established a long time ago and have led to conference rivalry and tradition. They are all being destroyed now. Make no mistake, this is an attempted genocide of regional sports identity. Soon athletes and fans alike will have no more… Read more »

Also MD also swim dad
Reply to  #AthleteLivesMatter
1 month ago

“genocide of regional sports identity” is such a gross and flippant turn of phrase. But based upon this and previous comments, you are clearly a troll, so whatever, par for the course. Nice try.

#AthleteLivesMatter
Reply to  Also MD also swim dad
1 month ago

What previous comment identifies me as a “troll”?

Why is it that being passionate about a subject leads to one being labeled a troll? Am I not allowed to vividly describe something that I believe to be abhorrent to call attention to the need to stop this to save a sport that I love?

Maybe you do not care about regional sports identity. But I for one, do. This is a shock to me that the conferences are destroying themselves out of greed. Millions of Americans are rapidly losing the last bit of respect that they had for the NCAA. Soon, Americans will begin to call for the abolishment of the NCAA. Americans will seek to institute new… Read more »

#AthleteLivesMatter
Reply to  Also MD also swim dad
1 month ago

What previous comment identifies me as a “troll”?

Why is it that being passionate about a subject leads to one being labeled a troll? Am I not allowed to vividly describe something that I believe to be abhorrent to call attention to the need to stop this to save a sport that I love?
Maybe you do not care about regional sports identity. But I for one, do. This is a shock to me that the conferences are destroying themselves out of greed. Millions of Americans are rapidly losing the last bit of respect that they had for the NCAA. Soon, Americans will begin to call for the abolishment of the NCAA. Americans will seek to institute new sports… Read more »

NB1
Reply to  #AthleteLivesMatter
1 month ago

it sends a terrible message, period

WahooSwimFan
Reply to  #AthleteLivesMatter
1 month ago

It’s been happening for many years – When I swam the ACC was only 7 teams (USC had just left) and Wake, Maryland and Clemson were regular swim competitors. Thus with Maryland gone, there are only 5 teams in the ACC that I relate to competing against. Not much legacy and tradition. Same for other conferences – remember the Southwest Conference? the Big East (Syracuse-Georgetown-Pitt battles), AAC is new? The original ACC itself was a breakaway group of teams from the old Southern Conference.

#AthleteLivesMatter
Reply to  WahooSwimFan
1 month ago

WahooSwimFan, thank you for sharing. I feel so sorry for you and your fellow ACC fans who have had to suffer through a first round of regional sports identity genocide. This is exactly why I do not want it to spread to more conferences.

I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but it seems like you do agree with me that regional identity is important. Maybe @Also MD also swim dad will take note that other people agree with me. I can forgive him because I care about this sport and I care about the athletes.

#AthleteLivesMatter

#AthleteLivesMatter
Reply to  NB1
1 month ago

Sorry for the double post.

Last edited 1 month ago by #AthleteLivesMatter
Noah
1 month ago

There goes the student in student-athlete

#AthleteLivesMatter
Reply to  Noah
1 month ago

It has been gone from football and basketball for decades. Swimming is one of sports where that saying was supposed to still ring true.

#AthleteLivesMatter

#AthleteLivesMatter
Reply to  Noah
1 month ago

It has been gone from football and basketball for decades. Swimming is one of the sports where that saying was supposed to still ring true.

#AthleteLivesMatter

Justanopinion
1 month ago

Who would have thought 10 months ago the Pac12 would end up being the sinking ship and the Big12 as the vacation getaway spot!!
Anyway you slice it, the Pac12 schools in N Calif and the Pac northwest have some hefty travel budgets ahead of them wherever they land after this.

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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