Larry Scott against expanding Pac-12
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has said the conference is not actively seeking new members, despite all the talk of schools wanting to move.
In fact, if it were up to him, Scott would keep the conference just the way it is.
Speaking to reporters before Friday night's game between Arizona State and No. 21 Missouri, Scott said he would prefer to make the 12-team model work instead of trying to expand it to 16.
"Our hope is that there is no expansions and all conferences that are at 12 stay at 12. That would be our vote," he said. "We're very happy where we're at and we've got a lot to do over the next year."
The Pac-10, as it was known, was in the thick of the race to expand last year, trying to lure what seemed like half the Big 12 away. The conference ended up getting Colorado from the Big 12 and Utah from the Mountain West, then changed its name to the Pac-12.
The conference has remained watchfully idle in the newest round of expansion shuffling, listening to prospective schools, but not actively pursuing them this time.
Several schools in the Big 12 have indicated a desire to leave the conference, including Texas A&M, which had its plans to join the SEC blocked by a potential lawsuit by Baylor.
While intrigued by the latest round of expansion rumors, Scott and his conference have decided to sit back and watch, concentrating instead on what they need to do to make their new venture become successful.
"We haven't spent one minute thinking about going further, that's not our desire," Scott said. "It's when all this discussion started happening in the Big 12 and it seems like the SEC is going to go beyond 12 and teams started approaching, let's take a step back and look at the future -- if the landscape is going to change."
The Pac-12 signed a TV deal worth about $3 billion with Fox and ESPN, and plans to launch its own network next year. Scott said the conference did look at various models while trying to expand last year, including the possibility of a 16-team megaconference, and has provisions in the TV deals if expansion occurs.
That part will be taken care of, but Scott said there would be a great deal of work involved if the conference does expand, from scheduling to creating divisions.
But, until then, he's just going to sit back and wait and see what happens.
"We think 12 is a good number and when we look at our peer conferences, they're at 12, too, so we think it's an evenly balanced, competitive landscape," he said. "And with the new TV deal that we've got done, the new network we've got, we're thrilled with our position. We've pretty completely repositioned where the Pac-12 fits in the overall landscape and we've got some real work to do to make 12 work."
An administrator at a Big 12 school told ESPN's Joe Schad Saturday morning that despite Scott's comments, the possibility of at least two Big 12 schools joining the Pac-12 is still "fluid."
A Big 12 source confirmed to Schad that different television revenue-sharing concepts were being discussed as a way to create longer-term stability for the Big 12, if the conference were to continue.
Before last spring, the Big 12 split 50 percent of revenue based on television appearances, which was then reduced to 25 percent. Assigning television rights to the conference for a predetermined period of time could be a more feasible way to actually bind a school to a conference, rather than increasing exit fees.
Information from ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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