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Pac-12 expansion, realignment live updates: Rumors, speculation, reports for conference

Arizona Republic logo Arizona Republic 8/18/2022 Jeremy Cluff, Arizona Republic
Check out the latest updates, speculation, rumors, chatter and reports surrounding the future of the Pac-12 Conference. © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Check out the latest updates, speculation, rumors, chatter and reports surrounding the future of the Pac-12 Conference.

What's next for the Pac-12 Conference and its teams?

Check out the latest updates, speculation, rumors, chatter and reports surround the future of the conference.

Click here for previous updates on the state of the Pac-12.

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More: ASU, Arizona conference realignment odds: Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12 for Sun Devils, Wildcats?

Futures of Pac-12, Big 12 hang in the balance

CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd writes: "Separate from any Big Ten discussion, ESPN now has a chance to become somewhat of a "kingmaker" regarding these leagues. Each conference is eying the other's schools in what could become the next big realignment story. Without a Big Ten deal, ESPN has theoretically freed up money to spend as both conferences are currently in flux. The Pac-12 is desirable because ESPN would not otherwise have any games in the valuable "fourth window" -- after 10 p.m. ET. The "Pac-12 After Dark" tag has been ridiculed by some, but it would be valuable to ESPN."

Could Big Ten reach out to more Pac-12 teams in expansion?

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports writes: "CBS Sports reported last month the Big Ten was evaluating California, Oregon, Stanford and Washington as potential future league members. Rightsholders pushed back on the notion as they did not believe those current Pac-12 schools would bring equal value to the league as USC and UCLA did upon being added. CBS Sports subsequently reported interest had cooled on those four schools; however, adding those four schools would create additional inventory for the Big Ten, which could result in ESPN getting a piece of the action."

USC joining Big Ten will cost Pac-12 a lot of money

David Hookstead of Outkick wrote: "During a University of California Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, it was revealed the PAC-12 will lose $150 million in annual media revenue with the Trojans leaving, according to Stewart Mandel. The financial impact of USC leaving the PAC-12 is also a huge win for the Big Ten. The Trojans and Bruins joining the B1G in a couple years is why the Big Ten’s new media deal is unbelievably big."

UC leaders say ‘all options are on the table’ as they weigh fighting UCLA’s Big Ten move

Ben Bolch and Teresa Watabe of the Los Angeles Times write: "Is UCLA nearing the goal line on a move to the Big Ten, or might its plans be foiled by an all-out blitz? Concerned about the Bruins’ hasty exit from the Pac-12, the University of California system leadership on Wednesday proposed new rules that could limit campuses from making major decisions involving athletics contracts on their own."

USC, UCLA exits could cost remaining Pac-12 schools $13M in media rights

The Associated Press writes: "The departures of USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 Conference could mean an estimated loss of around $13 million per year in media rights for each of the remaining schools, according to an interim report issued by University of California Office of the President. The report was released Wednesday during a Board of Regents meeting held at UCLA to address its move to the Big Ten Conference in 2024."

What Pac-12 needs to do to keep some schools in conference

Pac-12 Insider John Canzano wrote: "I think the Pac-12 is exploring an incentivized payout structure for the programs that qualify for the NCAA Tournament and College Football Playoff. Won’t be surprised if the conference stops the practice of splitting those postseason windfalls evenly among members and gives the bulk of the payout to the programs that earn it."

More: Ranking Big 12 expansion candidates: Best fits to join conference amid college realignment

Six schools the Pac-12 should consider adding in conference expansion

Sports Illustrated's Kevin Borba included San Diego State SMU, UNLV, Fresno State, Boise State and Houston on his list.

He wrote: "Thus making it vital that the Pac-12 adds at least two more teams, but the optimal number would be six. Getting back to 12 is a must, but the conference needs to be on the offensive side of things for once and get ahead of the Big 12 and ACC when it comes to forming larger mega-conferences. The Big Ten and the SEC are already destined and in position to form their mega-conference, everyone else is playing catch-up. Now granted, there aren't any teams out there that will bring the value and prestige that the conference lost with USC and UCLA, but more teams equates to more markets, which equals more money."

More: Arizona State football, Herm Edwards slammed in college football coach hot seat ranking

Larry Scott didn’t understand the importance of football to the Pac-12

Matt Zemek of Trojans Wire wrote: "Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen ruled the conference for over a quarter of a century. Hansen was known for valuing the Olympic sports but not understanding — or putting enough effort into — building the Pac’s football brand. Larry Scott was supposed to be different, but it’s striking how similar to Hansen he became."

More: ASU, Arizona not among Pac-12 schools being evaluated for Big Ten expansion, report says

Why Pac-12 expansion is more likely outcome than staying at 10

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News wrote: "We view survival as a 4.5-point favorite over extinction. That’s anything but an overwhelming favorite. If the conference holds together, there’s a reasonable chance it expands to 12 teams. Why? Because of inventory demands. As noted above, one of the Pac-12’s chief selling points is the ability to provide inventory for the late TV broadcast windows on both Friday and Saturday. To meet the inventory demands, it very well could need the additional games that the 11th and 12th teams would provide. And if expansion is the decision, San Diego State stands as the obvious call. Houston would be a first-rate addition, depending on availability. We aren’t privy to the documents signed by the university — and whether it would be subject to Big 12 exit fees."

More: ASU football investigation: Michael Crow says NCAA hasn't finished interviewing coaches

Utah would make a great addition to the Big 12

The Deseret News' Dick Harmon writes: "Utah’s loyalty to the Pac-12 could end up being companions to San Diego State, Colorado State and Boise State, a team the Utes have avoided playing since losing to it in the 2010 Las Vegas Bowl. There are many in Uteville who may be holding out to be invited to the Big Ten when that day comes, but all experts you can review during this summer of expansion talk since June 30 do not have a trending Utah in the conversation. Just saying, Utah would make a tremendous member of the Big 12 and elevate that league in the absence of Oklahoma and Texas."

More: Pac-12 conference realignment: ASU's Michael Crow, Arizona's Robert C. Robbins could be key

Pac-12 Networks: The rise, fall and future of a conference TV dream

The Athletic published a story about the Pac-12 Networks.

It included: "When the network hit television airwaves 10 years ago today, it was supposed to put the Pac-12 ahead of its peers in the media landscape and usher in a new era of revenue and exposure for the league. The ensuing decade has instead been defined by a string of public embarrassments: questionable strategy and spending by former commissioner Larry Scott, whiffed coaching hires by multiple football programs, apathetic fan bases and USC and UCLA’s stunning decampment for the Big Ten. But there’s been no greater poster for the conference’s issues than the network that started as a bold vision and endures as a cautionary tale. While the remaining Pac-12 members ponder their next broadcast rights deal, the network presses on with more questions than ever. Ten years later, DirecTV still doesn’t carry the networks — though it turns out the league’s own presidents once turned down that opportunity."

More: ASU's Michael Crow slammed for 2019 Pac-12 comments amid college conference realignment

One reason Pac-12 can be optimistic about future football revenue

Trojans Wire's Matt Zemek wrote: "Simply by moving inventory off Pac-12 Networks and getting a much more competitive price on the market through ESPN or a streaming service such as Apple, the Pac-12 is poised to make millions more dollars per football game for the life of the new media rights deal it will eventually negotiate. Let’s be clear: The Pac-12 isn’t adding value. USC being out of the Pac-12 obviously hurts the Pac-12’s ability to grow value. However, this is a reduction in lost value and lost revenue. The Pac-12 can claw back millions of dollars it was losing due to Pac-12 Network. It does mean more money in the coffers, but in a context of reduced losses, not outright gains."

More: Ranking Pac-12 expansion candidates: Best fits to join conference amid college realignment

The Pac-12 logo is shown during the second half of an NCAA college football game between Arizona State and Kent State, in Tempe, Ariz. on Aug. 29, 2019. © AP Photo/Ralph Freso The Pac-12 logo is shown during the second half of an NCAA college football game between Arizona State and Kent State, in Tempe, Ariz. on Aug. 29, 2019.

Why Pac-12 administrators want to be part of Big Ten

Matt Zemek of Trojans Wire wrote: "A lot of Pac-12 administrators have Midwestern ties to begin with, but beyond that, the Big Ten has a lot of elite research institutions. Networking, mentoring, talent-sharing — these and other non-football factors were immensely attractive to Carol Folt, the president of USC. When we realize that she immediately shot down talk of Pac-12 expansion last summer, it becomes easier to see that she had her eyes on the Big Ten for quite some time. This thought didn’t just pop out of nowhere. It was in the background, and when Texas and Oklahoma moved to the SEC, that obviously opened the door for the Trojans to think about a big change."

More: Ranking Big Ten expansion candidates: Best fits to join conference in college realignment

Where Pac-12 TV deal stands

SB Nation's Daniel Plocher wrote: "On brand with the Big 12, USC and UCLA will depart for the Big Ten as soon as the TV deal ends in 2024. A 12-year, $3 billion contract with FOX and ESPN is set to expire, and many people are questioning where they will be headed without two of their historic programs."

More: Are Pac-12 schools ASU, Arizona a package deal in college conference realignment?

Odds for Arizona, Arizona State to stay in Pac-12

Bet Arizona recently released hypothetical odds for where it sees the two Pac-12 Arizona schools ending up in the years ahead and they have some differences.

It has both favored to remain in the Pac-12, but puts different odds for each team's chances to do so.

Arizona is at -400 to stay in the conference, while Arizona State is at -550.

More: Pac-12 has been 'fractured' by Big Ten, Big 12 conference realignment, expansion chatter

Arizona, Arizona State 'kingpins' for what happens with Pac-12, Big 12

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post said: "Will there be more teams and universities that change conferences? I look at Arizona and Arizona State. I think they are kind of the kingpins right now. Do they go to the Big 12 or do they stay in the Pac-12? I think that will shift things."

More: Pac-12 Conference, leadership slammed amid USC, UCLA Big Ten negotiations news

Pac-12 has package of undervalued inventory

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News wrote: "By placing 400-something football games on the Pac-12 Networks over 12 years, instead of on ESPN and Fox, the conference has lost more than half a billion dollars over the contract cycle. In other words: As the Pac-12 negotiates its new media contracts, it will include a huge package of undervalued football inventory. The $250 million in average annual value from the ESPN and Fox contract isn’t an entirely accurate baseline from which to project the Pac-12’s next media rights contract because of all the games stashed on the Pac-12 Networks that generated very little in real dollars for the schools.

Late games valuable to Pac-12 going forward

The San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner wrote: "The night games are perhaps the most valuable piece of the Pac-12’s media rights package. In theory, it could offer weekly kickoffs at 7:30 p.m. Pacific on Friday and Saturday night for 13 weeks. That’s 26 games, with little or no competition, in primetime windows for the West Coast and Mountain Time Zone audiences. We don’t know details, but it’s safe to assume the night broadcast slots are a central piece of the bidding process."

San Diego State a coveted school in conference realignment

Trojan Wire's Matt Zemek wrote: "San Diego State has become such a hot and central topic in the midst of the Pac-12-Big 12 firefight because it represents an available way for both the Pac-12 and Big 12 to plant a flag in Los Angeles with USC and UCLA heading to the Big Ten. San Diego State has become the hill a military unit must capture in order to gain higher ground and a more favorable battlefield position. This has been one of the more unexpected but genuine plot twists in the larger theater of college sports realignment. It invites the question: What are the hills other conferences need to take in other regions of the country to fortify themselves in a long-term context?"

Long-haul stability of Pac-12 must be considered

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News wrote: "Were the calculation entirely about annual revenue, survival would be a substantial favorite. We believe Arizona, ASU, Colorado and Utah would prefer to remain in the Pac-12, and there’s no indication that either league has a significant advantage in future revenue. But the long-haul stability issue certainly must be considered. The Hotline does not believe the Big Ten will expand again this decade. In our estimation, Notre Dame will sign a new deal with NBC and remain Independent, limiting the Big Ten’s options. But admittedly, that’s a precarious assumption for the Four Corners schools. At this point, the challenge for commissioner George Kliavkoff is crafting a contract that provides flexibility for Washington, Oregon and Stanford and security for the others."

If Arizona left the Pac-12 Conference, where would it go?

Matt Wadleigh of Trojans Wire wrote: If Arizona leaves, it will almost certainly be for the Big 12. Such a move would create an even better basketball conference for the Big 12, which already has national champion Kansas, 2021 champion Baylor and 2019 runner-up Texas Tech. 2021 Final Four team Houston joins the conference next year, and TCU is a preseason top-15 team. Adding Arizona makes the Big 12 better in hoops, which is a scary thought.

If Arizona State left the Pac-12 Conference, what would happen?

Matt Wadleigh of Trojans Wire wrote: "If the Sun Devils leave, it’s hard to see Arizona not joining ASU. Much as USC and UCLA were connected, so are the Arizona schools. If one leaves, we can safely predict the other one will."

Where does Pac-12 rank among Power 5 conferences?

Sports Illustrated recently ranked the Pac-12 as the fifth-best conference among the Power 5. It had the SEC first, Big Ten second, ACC third and Big 12 fourth.

It wrote of the Pac-12: "Early indications are the conference can keep its current 10 members from splintering, although that solidarity might be only as strong as the Big Ten’s appetite for further expansion. The Pac-12 still has several major media markets and the late-night programming niche, which are good. But it doesn’t have much in the way of attractive expansion targets, and any further raiding of its membership could prove fatal."

Does Big Ten TV deal make further realignment more or less likely?

Ben Koo of Awful Announcing wrote: "Oh man. I hate opening up this can of worms. The Big Ten and the SEC can pretty much gobble up anyone they want whenever they want minus Notre Dame (for now?). This means if your name is Stanford, Washington, Oregon, Miami, Clemson, and Florida State, it’s very possible it might be more of a question of when than if.  Other schools like North Carolina, Virginia, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Cal, Arizona State, and Colorado are also other possible dominoes that could fall should this SEC vs. Big Ten landgrab continue to snowball. So, has any of this changed with yesterday’s news? I’d say yes."

Where does Big Ten TV deal leave the Pac-12?

Awful Announcing's Ben Koo wrote: "Both conferences are pretty much stuck just hoping the poaching from the big two stops. At some point when the bleeding is actually over,  they too will have to figure out their television futures.  Most of the reporting and speculation has cooled, given the Big Ten’s expansion and now television rights extensions taking center stage. The Pac-12 just now emerged from their exclusive negotiating window with ESPN with no new deal. Both the Pac-12 and the Big 12 are for now mostly focused on trying from an optics standpoint to seem like the more stable conference capable of absorbing the remains of the other conference. I’d give a small advantage to the Pac-12 for now, given they have a conference-owned network that can be absorbed and also the ability to have late-night games. However, that advantage would crumble should they suffer any other defections (so really a very tenuous advantage given how precarious things are)."

Big Ten's TV deal not entirely optimal for Pac-12 Conference

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News wrote: "But the result falls short of an optimal situation for the Pac-12 for one reason: The remaining competition, or lack thereof. ... Ideally, the Big Ten negotiations would have left behind a second interested party. With Fox, CBS and NBC sharing inventory that includes the New York, Chicago and Los Angeles media markets, the networks will have little, if any motivation to bid against ESPN for the Pac-12 rights."

What the Pac-12 should do to maximize TV value

Matt Zemek of Trojans Wire wrote: "The Pac-12, Big 12, and ACC have to find ways of being relevant within that structure when it becomes a regular part of the college football media landscape. What should the Pac-12 offer? Untraditional time slots."

ESPN faces 'strategic calculation' with Pac-12, Big 12

The San Jose Mercury News' Jon Wilner wrote: "The Big 12 is expected to begin media rights negotiations in the summer of 2024, for a contract cycle starting in the fall of 2025. We mention the Big 12 piece because of the strategic calculation facing ESPN. Even without serious competition from other linear networks, ESPN could be incentivized to offer a contract that helps keep the Pac-12 intact. If the network comes with a lowball offer and the conference fractures, the most valuable remaining football programs likely would jump to the Big 12. That leaves open the potential for Fox to go all-in with the Big 12 when negotiations begin in two years and effectively lock ESPN out of college football in the western half of the country."

ESPN out of Big Ten TV rights could be very good news for Pac-12

The Associated Press and Salt Lake Tribune wrote:  "The Big Ten’s next round of media rights contracts will not include a deal with ESPN. Two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the Big Ten was looking for a seven-year deal worth $380 million per year from ESPN, and the network declined. The agreement would not have given ESPN the ability to have first choice of Big Ten games in a given week at any point. The fallout could be good news for the Pac-12, which remains in negotiations with the network giant, as well as its other media partners on new media rights agreements. Without the Big Ten contract, ESPN theoretically has money to spend elsewhere and programming slots to fill.  For its part, the Pac-12 can provide evening kickoff slots, as late as 10:30 p.m. ET — inventory with little, if any competition at that hour."

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Pac-12 expansion, realignment live updates: Rumors, speculation, reports for conference


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