Sports

Pac-12 commish to rule on expansion this week

The Pac-12 is expected to announce in the next few days if it’s interested in adding new members to the 12-team conference, commissioner George Kliavkoff told ESPN on Tuesday.

“We’ll announce a decision on whether or not we’re going to be looking at expansion before the end of this week,” Kliavkoff said. “That decision has been run on a parallel path to the conversations with [Big Ten commissioner] Kevin [Warren] and [ACC commissioner] Jim [Phillips] and the Big Ten and the ACC.”

While the recent agreement between the Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC was done in large part to stabilize a volatile collegiate landscape still reeling from the decision of Big 12 co-founders Texas and Oklahoma to join the SEC, it doesn’t contractually prevent those conferences from trying to add schools — namely, any of the eight schools who would be left in the Big 12.

The alliance essentially eliminates any notion of the Pac-12 trying to lure any schools from the Big Ten or ACC.

One question is whether the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors would want to expand the league’s footprint into the state of Texas and/or the Central time zone for more exposure. If they did, Texas Tech, Baylor and TCU would more than likely entertain an offer.

Kliavkoff told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week that his conference is “really, really happy with the 12 that we have in the league.”

“The opportunity to revisit that following Texas and Oklahoma has certainly presented itself,” Kliavkoff told the paper. “I am not actively poaching any school or convincing anyone to leave their existing conference, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t listening to schools that wanted to go in the Pac-12, and we’ve had a lot of them reach out. Probably all of the ones you would expect and several you’d be surprised by.”

Multiple sources in the Big 12 told ESPN that the remaining eight schools aren’t in a rush to make a move, but they are considering eventually adding teams to make the Big 12 relevant enough to negotiate a lucrative television contract. If the Pac-12 doesn’t come through as a landing spot for some of them, adding valuable programs becomes a pressure-packed priority, and it’s highly unlikely the Big 12 would be able to lure any teams from the other four Power 5 conferences, especially considering the recent alliance.

One source at a Big 12 school told ESPN: “We better all be committed to making this Big 12 — whatever it looks like — the best dang conference that we could possibly be.”

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