Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Updated: September 21, 2:50 PM ET
Source: Pac-12 lacked Texas assurance
By Andy Katz
The Pac-12 decided it won't expand further late Tuesday because commissioner Larry Scott failed to get assurance that Texas would back an equal revenue sharing plan if the league added the Longhorns, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, a source with direct knowledge told ESPN.com.
Scott didn't endorse expansion to the league's presidents and chancellors, the source said.
The presidents never took a vote on the four Big 12 schools and the four schools didn't formally apply for inclusion either, the source said. The Pac-12 member presidents were on a conference call Tuesday night and reaffirmed the decision to stay at 12 members.
"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," Scott said in a statement. "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."
Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech were considering
a potential move from the Big 12 to the Pac-12. After expanding
from the Pac-10 with new members Utah and Colorado last year,
members of the new Pac-12 decided not to stretch the league farther
"We were not surprised by the Pac 12's decision to not expand
at this time," Oklahoma President David Boren said. "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."
The board of regents at Texas and Oklahoma voted on Monday to
give their presidents the right to choose a new conference.
Oklahoma State's regents have scheduled a special meeting Wednesday
about conference realignment.
Scott labored to get USC and UCLA to agree to revenue sharing, the source said, when the Pac-12 expanded by two last season with the addition of Utah and Colorado after the two L.A. schools had held a revenue edge in the league. The Pac-12 signed a 12-year television deal with Fox and ESPN worth an estimated $3 billion last year that will take effect in 2012.
Scott was open to pushing for the inclusion of the four Big 12 schools because of getting into the states of Texas and Oklahoma and the possibility that it would produce even more revenue for the league, according to the source. But the source said the Pac-12 presidents were against any "special deals."
The Pac-12 wasn't going to dismiss a possible pod-system of four four-team subdivisions for scheduling purposes, but wouldn't agree to giving Texas favored treatment. Texas has its own network, the Longhorn Network, which is operated by ESPN. If Texas supported equal revenue sharing, then that would have meant more regional networks for the Pac-12 and even more money. But Texas wasn't willing to do that, according to the source.
The Pac-12 presidents felt the efforts of NCAA president Mark Emmert to reach out and warn against the possible negative ramifications of super-conferences was effective, a source told ESPN's Joe Schad. The Pac-12 considers expansion a dormant issue "for the foreseeable future." Bringing Oklahoma and Oklahoma State aboard without Texas would have been an even harder sell for Pac-12 presidents who simply weren't eager to expand.
"We have a very good situation and a bright future," Stanford
athletic director Bob Bowlsby said.
The decision by the Pac-12 means Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are still in a group of nine staying put in the Big 12. Texas A&M has already declared it is leaving for the SEC and has been accepted as the 13th member. But the SEC wants the other nine schools to waive any legal rights to sue the league or the Aggies. Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas have refused to do so until they know if the Big 12 would stay together. The Pac-12's decision may expedite the Aggies' move to the SEC.
According to multiple sources, the Big 12 may now try to get long-term commitments of membership from its remaining nine teams.
Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.