The Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences held several formal discussions over potentially joining forces in an effort to generate more revenue for its member institutions before the Big 12 reportedly ended those conversations on Monday night, according to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd.
Each conference is in a precarious position after the SEC poached the top revenue earners from the Big 12, while the Big Ten followed suit a year later and swiped the Los Angeles schools from the Pac-12.
Combining the two conferences would have put the new conference in all four U.S. time zones and established itself as the clear third conference behind the SEC and Big Ten. Ultimately, the revenue decrease per member institution may not have been worth the potential stability provided by a merger.
The Big 12 is reportedly still considering adding as many as six schools from the Pac-12, while the west coasts’ power five conferences has begun negotiating its next media rights deal in an attempt to convince its remaining member institutions to stay in the conference.
Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Colorado, Oregon and Washington are among the schools the Big 12 is hoping to add, although Oregon and Washington are still hoping the Big Ten decides to add the schools in a further expansion.
The Big Ten has asserted it won’t add to the conference unless schools can bring in enough revenue to raise the payout to each school. Notre Dame seems to be the only school outside the ACC with the potential to bring that type of cash, and the Fighting Irish are reportedly seeking $75 million from NBC to remain independent. NBC could be a player in the Big 12’s next media rights deal if it seeks to add more college football around Notre Dame in order to make sure a large media rights deal is worth it.
The Big 12 won’t likely add schools until new conference commissioner Brett Yormark starts his new job on August 1. Yormark can’t start negotiating the Big 12’s next media rights agreement until 2024. A Pac-12 source told ESPN the Pac-12 will be staying together as a result.
No matter what direction Yormark decides to take the conference, and no matter what options Yormark has available to him, he said last week at Big 12 media days that whatever decisions are made will be made with the next media rights deal in mind.