The Big 12 is facing an uncertain future now that Texas and Oklahoma are set to leave for the SEC, and there has been talk of a potential merger with the Pac-12 to soften the blow. That idea is one that is apparently receiving real consideration.
Max Olson of The Athletic reported that Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff were scheduled to meet on Tuesday to discuss the futures of their conferences. Bowlsby said Monday that there are “options for us to partner with other conferences,” and that is what he and Kliavkoff are expected to explore.
While a conference merger is one possibility, Bowlsby said another would be the Big 12 partnering with another conference to aggregate negotiating rights for the next TV deal. Sources stressed to Olson that Big 12 officials are not panicking but want to start the flow of ideas.
“Time is our friend right now, so it’s not like something has to happen by Sept. 1,” one source told The Athletic. “It’s a matter of starting to work through this and see what it looks like. We’ve got a runway.”
The Big 12 estimates that losing Texas and Oklahoma could result in a 50 percent reduction in the value of its TV rights, according to Olson. The Pac-12’s current TV deal expires in 2024, while the Big 12’s expires in 2025.
Kliavkoff recently left the door open for expansion but said he does not think the Pac-12 needs to do anything in order to ensure national relevance. The same probably cannot be said for the Big 12.