Well, this certainly throws a wrench in, um, everything.
Thought to be a foregone conclusion that Larry Scott and the Pac-12 would expand to at least the state of Oklahoma, it appears that the Pac-12 will not expand any further, multiple news sources are reporting.
The reasons behind the move (or, lack thereof) are still being divulged, but it’s entirely possible that Texas and Oklahoma “overplayed their hand”. Over the weekend, we noted that Texas could end up in what would be the Pac-16, but that the Longhorn Network would be a hurdle over which the two parties would have to compromise.
Meanwhile, a source told the Daily Oklahoman earlier today that the Sooners would contemplate staying in the Big 12 provided two conditions were met: that commissioner Dan Beebe was relieved of his duties, and that Texas cool its jets on some of the Longhorn Network programming.
Setting demands probably didn’t tickle the Pac-12’s fancy a whole bunch.
Scott offered this statement following the decision:
“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.”
While details of the whole scenario are very scarce at this time, it still has some immediate implications, mainly for the Big 12:
— Just because the Pac-12 is not expanding does not mean the Big 12 is automatically safe. Oklahoma and Texas still control the destiny of the Big 12, and how they decide to go could still dictate the future of the conference. To put the Big 12’s dysfunction in context, Texas still has power and the LHN, and Oklahoma wants a new commissioner.
— Speaking of awkward, what about Missouri? The SEC has denied that there was any informal invite of the Tigers to the SEC, but word of an equally informal agreement has been reported in the event that the Big 12 implodes. Although Mizzou has options, they’re in a tough spot right now.
— If the Big 12 does stay put, this should allow Texas A&M to move to the SEC with little problem now that the Baylors and Iowa States of the world have a home.
— Unless, of course, SEC commissioner Mike Slive has something up his sleeve.
There’s going to be a lot more on all of this, so stay tuned. In the meantime, we hope you’ll join us next summer when all of this happens again.
[/breaks down and cries]
UPDATED 12:31 a.m. ET: Oklahoma president David Boren has issued this response to the Pac-12’s decision not to expand:
“We were not surprised by the Pac 12’s decision to not expand at this time. Even though we had decided not to apply for membership this year, we have developed a positive relationship with the leadership of the conference and we have kept them informed of the progress we’ve been making to gain agreement from the Big 12 for changes which will make the conference more stable in the future. Conference stability has been our first goal and we look forward to achieving that goal through continued membership in the Big 12 Conference.”