Big 12 Reengaged In Talks With Utah, Other Pac-12 Schools Per Reports
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah to the Big 12? Talks between Utah, Arizona, Arizona State, and Colorado have occurred with the Big 12 Conference, according to Max Olsen and Stewart Mandel from The Athletic.
The report of talks between the “four corner schools” and the Big 12 was confirmed by CBS Sports.
Big 12 talking with “Four Corner Schools”
Since USC and UCLA dropped a bombshell on June 30 that they were leaving for the Big Ten Conference, the Big 12 has aggressively pursued expansion.
CBS & The Athletic are reporting that talks have resumed between the Big 12 & the Four Corners schools. Colorado, Utah, Arizona, & Arizona State are rumored to bolt to the Big 12 should Pac 12 media value underperfom. Would you like to the see the Big 12 raid the Pac 12? pic.twitter.com/TBEPhsMfDe
— Sidelines Sports Network™ (@Sidelines_SN) March 3, 2023
There were initial reports last July that the four Pac-12 schools were in talks with the Big 12. But those discussions cooled off. So now the intensity is ratcheting up as the Pac-12 continues to piece together a new media rights package.
The Big XII secured its future through 2031 by locking in an extension with ESPN and FOX.
Reported suitors for the Pac-12 media rights are believed to be Amazon, ESPN, and Apple TV. There has also been a report from the Action Network’s Brett McMurphy that ION was looking to get into the picture for the Pac-12 media rights.
Pac-12 uncertainty continues with no media rights deal
The Pac-12’s current media rights expire in 2024. As a result, pressure is building for the Pac-12 to piece together a new deal.
The Big XII will distribute $31.5 million per team yearly with its new media rights package. Plus, they will be partnered with the top college football television networks, ESPN and FOX.
The Pac-12 could be relying on streaming services to distribute games while potentially making less than the $31.5 million Big XII teams will make.
“We’ve just been forced like everyone else, unfortunately, to let this thing play out because we’re not directly in the driver’s seat,” Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson told Arizona Sports on February 23. “That being said, we have confidence our commissioners and our presidents and chancellors are going to get to a place where a media rights deal and a grant of rights is done. It may not be the projections originally contemplated but will be a solid enough financial situation to keep this conference together and then (we will) really work hard to move forward positively.”
Brett Yormark continues to be “open for business”
Brett Yormark has garnered high praise from media insiders for his work with the Power Five league. From the moment he took over Bob Bowlsby’s chair on August 1, Yormark has made it clear that they are “open for business.”
Whether that’s realignment, media rights, finding an early exit resolution for Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC, or adding a “foodie” menu at the Big 12 basketball tournament, Yormark wants to bring in more money to his member institutions.
Adding Pac-12 schools could potentially add more elusive television money to the Big XII’s pie going forward.
After USC and UCLA leave for the Big Ten in 2024, the PAC will be down to 10 members. Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff has held visits at potential expansion targets SMU and San Diego State to potentially get back to 12 members.
League membership going forward
The Big XII will be at 14 members in 2023, adding BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston. Then in 2024, they return to their namesake with 12 institutions after Texas and Oklahoma leave for the SEC.
If Utah found its way to the Big XII Conference, it would reunite in-state rivals BYU and Utah as league foes for the first time since 2010 when they were together in the Mountain West Conference.
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Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
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