Talks of a partnership between the Pac-12 and Big 12 have broken down, ending immediate expectations of the two college football conferences’ potential merger. Pac-12 and Big 12 sources, in talks with ESPN baseball analyst Pete Thamel, deflected their interests as the negotiations came to an end.
“Officials from the Big 12 told Pac-12 officials on Monday that they’re no longer interested in exploring the partnership,” reported ESPN.
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According to the Big 12’s source, the conference sought a full merger with the Pac-12, “the only scenario that could have potentially driven value because of the sheer numbers of schools and populations.”
The source cited “a multitude of reasons” as to why the talks fell through. “It just didn’t work,” the spokesperson added.
Both sides have talked via Zoom meeting on three separate occasions.
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“The Pac-12 source said that the Pac-12 was skeptical of the full merger because the leagues’ media rights expire at different times. A Big 12 source countered that the Pac-12 had expressed ways they could work around that,” noted Thamel. The conference’s outlook continues to look grim after losing powerhouse programs USC and UCLA to the Big Ten.
Without a partnership available to boost the Pac-12’s value, fellow Power Five programs will continue to close in on the remaining Pac-12 teams.
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“[T[he Big 12 has monitored through backchannels the potential of adding Pac-12 schools Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado, which is a former Big 12 member,” adds the report.