Conference Realignment Notebook: Report of Big 12 Meeting on Tuesday

Good morning. Happy 4th to everyone. I wanted to get this out there and published because the news happens so quickly it can become stale if you don’t post it relatively soon after you find the link. Hence a post on the 4th of July of a possible meeting tomorrow. Think about these links chronologically, which is that as I found news I wrote about it and added to it as I went.

Mercury News’ Jon Wilner with a good Q&A and he expects the Arizona schools, Colorado, and Utah to explore a move to the Big 12:

How united are the 10 remaining schools? Are Washington and Oregon most likely to take the first good invite? — @LAWomensHoops

The Pac-12 issued a statement on Thursday in which it declared an “unwavering … commitment” to continuing as the Conference of Champions and looked forward “to partnering with current and potential members.”

Ignore it.

The schools are completely united until they aren’t.

The unfortunate reality is that each university has entered survival mode, with no allegiance except to itself.

The only thing bonding them together is the absence of escape hatches.

With the Big Ten’s door closed, at least for the time being, the Huskies and Ducks are stuck.

We expect the Arizona schools and perhaps Colorado and Utah to explore a move into the Big 12.

But again, interest means little without an invitation.

Also from Mercury News’ Wilner, that for now, Oregon and Washington are not part of the Big Ten expansion. If you are weighing your options, including Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah is a pretty good haul if that’s where the Big 12 goes and it almost seems like too much.

CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd writes about what will happen next:

In the Big 12, it’s up to Yormark to strategize whether his league stands pat with its 12-team lineup in 2025 or engages in — what one industry source called — a realignment stare down with the Pac-12.

As of Saturday afternoon, two days after the massive Big Ten announcement, those issues are still hanging in the breeze. The Big 12 presidents have not met formally to address expansion. Of course, that could change in a heartbeat.

The Pac-12 is already on record as saying it will aggressively pursue “all expansion options.”

The Big 12 should know more than any other league the importance of being proactive in expansion. It was less than a year ago this month that Texas and Oklahoma shocked the world by scampering off to the SEC.

A thought here would be that this is saying that the presidents haven’t “formally met” which doesn’t mean that they aren’t communicating (and you can bet $1 that they are) and the fact that the Pac-12 is on “record” as having a comment means nothing to me at this point. I’d just think that no writer had Brett Yormark as the new Big 12 point man so it appears that the presidents are working quietly. Am I still concerned about how everything will shake out? Sure, but not based off of this.

John Canzano writes that it was the money that led USC and UCLA to leave and that the Big Ten could have Oregon and Washington tag along, but it would be less money for the other B10 universities:

The Big Ten appears focused on trying to lure Notre Dame into the fold right now. After that, Oregon and Washington may be of interest to the Big Ten. However, Thompson estimated that those two Pac-12 universities, along with the Eugene and Seattle television markets, would only generate an additional $60 million in combined additional revenues.

It’s good money, but well shy of the $143 million breakeven for the Big Ten.

It doesn’t kill the possibility of Oregon and Washington following USC and UCLA into the conference. It just means that the Big Ten members have two options if they’re going to do it: A) Be OK with about $6 million less annually to have UO and UW in the house; or B) Welcome Oregon and Washington, but inform the newcomers that they won’t get full distributions for a while.

Perhaps this is where Nike founder and long-time Oregon mega-booster Phil Knight might factor. He has ties to ESPN. I wonder if Knight might convince that network to make an investment in the Pac-12 and position the conference to raid the Big 12. Under that scenario the Pac-12 would survive and become the country’s No. 3 conference. Or maybe Knight would simply subsidize the Oregon-Washington entry into the Big Ten.

This 24/7 Sports article by Jason Scheer is a behind a paywall (which is fine) and there are two things that are free in addition to the idea that Scheer writes for the Arizona site for 24/7 Sports (not the Big 12 Wildcats).

1. “Arizona to have meeting with Big 12 this week.”

2. “A meeting is scheduled between members of the Pac-12 and Big 12 on Tuesday.”

His tweet is also enough to get an idea as to what’s happening.

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