Multiple reports indicate that the Big 12 is meeting with representatives of four Pac-12 schools — Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah — to discuss bringing them aboard.
Last year, the Big 12's top two brands Texas and Oklahoma announced they were bolting for the SEC, effective in 2025. Just last week the Pac-12's marquee draws, USC and UCLA, jumped the conference for the Big Ten, effective in 2024.
So what's next in college football roulette?
If the reports are true, the Big 12 might add to its members by taking from the Pac-12.
At the same time, ASU seems to prefer remaining in the Pac-12.
Athletic Director Ray Anderson just issued a statement on the latest happenings:
“ASU remains fully committed to the Pac-12 Conference. ASU continues to work closely with the other remaining conference members to advance the best interests of its student-athletes as well as to support the continued success of the conference itself.”
One of the biggest issues the Pac 12 has had is its poor media rights deal negotiated by previous commissioner Larry Scott, who left the conference a year ago with George Kliavkoff coming in as his successor. The Pac-12 reportedly distributed $344 million among its members in the 2021 fiscal year, while the Big Ten generated $680 million.
Perhaps in an attempt to calm the angst in the conference right now, the Pac-12 released a statement Tuesday saying it would immediately begin negotiations on its next TV contract, intending to go forward with at least its 10 remaining members, assuming those don't leave as well. The Pac-12's current deal with Fox and ESPN expires in 2024. Losing the lucrative Los Angeles market will, no doubt, have a major impact into what new deal the Pac-12 is able to negotiate.
Arizona and Arizona State have both been members of the Pac-12 since 1978. Colorado and Utah were the newest additions, coming over the last time the Pac-12 expanded from 10 to 12 teams in 2011.
Colorado, which fields teams in 17 sports, was part of the Big 12 from 1994 until it came over to the Pac-12.
The Buffaloes echoed the sentiment of their ASU counterparts.
A joint statement from CU Boulder Chancellor Dr. Philip DiStefano and Athletic Director Rick George read:
"CU Boulder supports the decision of the Pac-12 Board of Directors this morning to begin conference media rights negotiations. We are committed to the Pac-12 Conference and look forward to being an active participant in those conversations. "
Utah, which has teams in 19 sports, was part of the Western Athletic Conference and later the Mountain West. The addition of Utah makes sense since it would give that conference a natural travel partner in BYU, which moves from independent status to a Big 12 member in 2023.
The other option, which the Pac-12 had also announced it is pursuing, would be bringing in teams to replace those that have departed. San Diego State, which currently competes in the Mountain West, is the name that comes up most often. Not only would it give the Pac-12 a presence in Southern California again but that school traditionally fields strong teams in football and men's basketball, the money sports that are driving the college athletic realignment train.
Others that have come up include Boise State and UNLV and possibly SMU if the Pac-12 were to poach teams from the American Athletic Conference.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: ASU, Arizona among Pac-12 schools talking with Big 12 about move