Talks break down in potential Pac-12, Big 12 merger: report

Talks break down in potential Pac-12, Big 12 merger: report

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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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A general view of the PAC-12 logo at midfield before the PAC-12 Football Championship football game between the Oregon Ducks and the Utah Utes at Allegiant Stadium on December 03, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

A general view of the PAC-12 logo at midfield before the PAC-12 Football Championship football game between the Oregon Ducks and the Utah Utes at Allegiant Stadium on December 03, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

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.

The Big 12 logo on the field prior to the college football game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the West Virginia Mountaineers on October 2, 2021, at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV. 

The Big 12 logo on the field prior to the college football game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the West Virginia Mountaineers on October 2, 2021, at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV.  (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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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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A high angle view of the Pac-12 logo on the field at Stanford Stadium during an NCAA Pac-12 college football game between the Stanford Cardinal and the UCLA Bruins on September 26, 2021 in Palo Alto, California. 

A high angle view of the Pac-12 logo on the field at Stanford Stadium during an NCAA Pac-12 college football game between the Stanford Cardinal and the UCLA Bruins on September 26, 2021 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)

“[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.

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