The Big 12 is in a very precarious position as Oklahoma and Texas are set to leave for the SEC by the 2025 season. As the remaining eight teams try and figure out how they fit in to the new college football picture, commissioner Bob Bowlsby is reportedly exploring one of the boldest options.
In wake of the Sooners/Longhorns news, Big 12 leadership discussed reaching out to the Pac-12, another Power Five conference that has struggled to gain a foothold on the national stage in recent years, about potential arrangements. It appears that those discussions will happen today.
According to The Athletic, Bowlsby is set to meet with new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff. The report lays out the various options, from full-on merger to form a true “megaconference,” to a less formal “scheduling alliance,” in hopes to set up big-time games.
“I think there are options for us to partner with other conferences,” Bowlsby said during an appearance with a Texas Senate committee, in what now seems like a hint at today’s news. “There may be opportunity for mergers. There may be opportunities to add members. There may be other opportunities that are currently unforeseen.”
Sources: Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is meeting with Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff today to discuss the possibility of a scheduling alliance, merger or other options for their conferences to strategically work together.⁰ https://t.co/i3MFeMj9Ua
— Max Olson (@max_olson) August 3, 2021
The Big 12 and Pac-12 both happen to be coming up on the end of their current rights deals. The Pac-12’s ends in 2024, one year before the Big 12. The big question: will some sort of merger or agreement headlined by the likes of Oregon, USC, Oklahoma State football and Kansas basketball be attractive enough to draw offers that will keep those leagues competitive with the SEC and Big Ten?
“It’s going to come down to how do our TV partners look at that from a financial perspective, and who knows?” a source told The Athletic.
Kansas, Iowa State, and Oklahoma State have all reportedly reached out to the Big Ten, while West Virginia is said to be very interested in the ACC. We’ll see if Bowlsby can hold things together long enough for something with the Pac-12 to materialize. Everything is extremely up in the air at the moment.