Pac-12 passes on expansion, stays at 12 schools (for now)

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The ACC now has 14 teams. The SEC has 13. The Big 12 still has nine, but maybe not for much longer. The Big East is in flux, both for basketball and football.

The Pac-12? It’s just fine, thanks.

The league’s presidents and chancellors voted late Tuesday to stay at 12 despite recent consideration to add some combination of Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. (Or maybe even all of ‘em.) Instead, it’ll sit on 12 and enjoy that 12-year, $3 billion TV contract. (Not that anyone saw it coming …)

Here’s the official release from the conference:

“In light of the widespread speculation about potential scenarios for Conference re-alignment, the Pac-12 Presidents and Chancellors have affirmed their decision to remain a 12-team conference,” 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.”

This jibes with a story that Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News wrote a few weeks ago, noting that the powers that be wanted to enjoy its newfound 12-school kingdom. (They also wanted to give themselves a pat on the back.)

Perhaps conference commissioner Larry Scott felt differently – he’s said before that “megaconferences” were likely – but it doesn’t matter now. Texas isn’t going West. Neither is Oklahoma. That doesn’t rule out either taking off for other conferences (Big Ten? SEC? ACC?) but it puts it all on hold.

Normally I’d say we’ll do it all again next summer, but I’m doubtful the moving pieces will stay still that long. History’s shown us as much.

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