Hoops super conferences and the Pac-12

September, 21, 2011
9/21/11
1:29
PM ET
Last month as Texas A&M was on the verge of bolting from the Big 12, I asked Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott given his previous prediction of an eventual world with super conferences how he thought that might affect college basketball.

Scott declined comment.

But Colorado coach Tad Boyle, whose program had left the Big 12 for the Pac-12 and stood to benefit greatly from the new arrangement, had misgivings at the time about hypothetical super conferences and how they would affect college basketball.

"What makes our sport so great is not just the BCS-type schools," Boyle said then. "It's the 300-plus D-I programs, and everyone feels they've got a shot at making the NCAA tournament. That's what makes our sport unique, what makes March Madness appealing. If you just went with a super power conference structure, I just don't think it's good for our sport."

Boyle, who not long ago coached at Northern Colorado out of the Big Sky, touched on how parity is one of college basketball's signature traits. It's the time-honored tradition that on any given night, five students in sneakers can beat another group of kids no matter the disadvantages in rankings, resources and pedigree.

The formation of super conferences could strike a blow if you believe in such things, with television contracts and pooled revenues making the gaps between the power conferences and the mid-majors even wider.

So when the Pac-12 last night announced that it had decided not to expand for the time being, it was a victory for status-quo seekers. Expansion might still be inevitable in some parts of the country, but for one night, the headline was stability.

It was something echoed in a statement from UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, who happens to be a former NCAA Division I men's basketball committee chair.

"After weighing all of the factors regarding potential expansion, our presidents and chancellors have decided to maintain the status quo and ensure that our conference remains a 12-school league. At UCLA, we feel this is the correct decision for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which are the stability of a 12-team conference format, the overall welfare of our student-athletes and the ability to maintain the traditional rivalries that have existed from our conference’s inception."

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