By Jeff Goodman
The Pac-12 may have just saved the Big 12.
League commissioner Larry Scott announced late last night that the Pac-12 would remain a 12-team conference.
"While we have great respect for all of the institutions that have contacted us, and certain expansion proposals were financially attractive, we have a strong conference structure and culture of equality that we are committed to preserve," Scott said in a statement. "With new landmark TV agreements and plans to launch our innovative television networks, we are going to focus solely on these great assets, our strong heritage and the bright future in front of us."
There was a possibility that Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech were headed from the Big 12 to the Pac-12, which would have triggered wholesale changes on the conference landscape. That would have left the Big 12 extremely vulnerable with just Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Baylor and Iowa State.
Certainly, Texas and its new Longhorn Network had something to do with the fact that the Pac-12 opted against expansion. The league was adamant that the revenue would be split equally.
However, this decision by the Pac-12 doesn't mean this game of league musical chairs is over. They'll be more maneuvering, whether it be the ACC and Big East adding a couple more teams, the SEC grabbing one or even the Pac-12 - down the road - opting to expand.
But it's no longer complete mayhem.
The Pac-12 is still a league on solid footing without the four schools under consideration. Obviously, Texas would have heightened its profile - but the financial risk didn't outweigh the reward.
The Big 12 has nine members after Nebraska and Colorado already left and Texas A&M is headed to the SEC. It will likely try and pluck another school in order to get to 10.
The Big East would then likely stay together as a football-basketball league despite the impending losses of Pittsburgh and Syracuse. The conference sits at 15 schools with the addition of TCU, but there's still a possibility that a couple of its members - UConn and Rutgers being the prime candidates - go elsewhere.
So, while there's still movement on the horizon, the Pac-12's decision brought a little clarity to an arena in which it's clearly needed.