Pac-12 says no (mostly) to expansion

September, 21, 2011
9/21/11
12:30
AM ET

And after all of the chatter about super-conferences and the Pac-Whatever, the Pac-12 has decided to... stay the Pac-12.

From the conference home office:
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said, “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.”

You should note the bolded "culture of equality." The Pac-16 deal didn't get done because the Pac-12 didn't feel that could be maintained with expansion.

Bottom line: There were a lot of discussions -- and proposals -- traded between Texas, Oklahoma and the Pac-12, but the parties were unable to reach an agreement that worked for everyone.

So, does this augur long-term stability for the Pac-12? Maybe. But anyone asserting certainty is just being hopeful. It appears that the ACC, SEC, Big East and Big 12 are still engaged in reckless eyeballing, so there are still dominoes to fall that could again change the landscape.

What the Pac-12 is really saying is that it is confident in its present position, but if things change, it will be able to react in a way that maintains its position in the conference pecking order -- see the recently signed, $3 billion, 12-year deal with ESPN and Fox that is the richest in college sport.

Is this the endgame? Does it feel like we'll be celebrating "20 years of the Pac-12" in 2031?

Probably not.

But on Sept. 20, 2011 -- a Tuesday night of the college football season's fourth week -- the conference announced it would remain the Pac-12. It seems certain it will remain so through the weekend.

But if Texas comes back to the table willing to make a concession for equal revenue sharing, expansion talk will perk up again. And fast.

Ted Miller | email

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