Conference realignment: Live news updates as the Big Ten considers four more Pac-12 programs for expansion

The second wave of realignment continues to play itself out after USC and UCLA suddenly announced that they would join the Big Ten in time for the 2024 college football season. While no other moves have been made yet, conference realignment continues to be a fluid -- and oftentimes unexpected -- situation. 

The upcoming move comes as the Pac-12's media rights deal is set to expire in 2024, while the Big Ten is negotiating a new media rights deal that could exceed $1 billion annually. As for the Pac-12, the shift puts the league and commissioner, George Kliavkoff, in a precarious position after Kliavkoff just celebrated one year on the job. 

The last major power move involving blue blood powers -- Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC in time for the 2025 season -- set off a massive realignment that reached from the Big 12 down to the Division II levels. After all the changes last season, it appears that the stakeholders are being patient and waiting to see what unfolds. Oregon, Notre Dame and the ACC remain some of the biggest dominoes left on the board. 

As this latest realignment saga plays out, CBS Sports will continue covering this developing story with live updates below.

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Big Ten media deal expected soon

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren acknowledged Tuesday that an announcement on a new media rights deal should be coming soon, and new details emerged Wednesday via new reporting from The Athletic. The new deal is expected to be finalized "in the next few weeks," FOX Sports president Mark Silverman told the outlet. Remember, UCLA and USC will enter as full members and receive the same share as the other 14 members.

July 27, 2022, 5:23 PM

Big Ten exploring more expansion

The Big Ten is evaluating the worthiness of adding Cal, Oregon, Stanford and Washington from the Pac-12 to expand its conference to at least 20 teams, according to Dennis Dodd. Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren didn't rule out expansion in his remarks at Big Ten Media Day on Tuesday, and Dodd's reporting puts a face on what that could look like. The league is reportedly consideration building "a Western bulkhead that would be academically appealing enough for Big Ten presidents to approve further expansion."

July 27, 2022, 3:38 PM

UCLA facing political headwind

California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants answers from UCLA on its move to the Big Ten. Here's his statement from Wednesday, as reported by the Los Angeles Times: "The first duty of every public university is to the people, especially students. UCLA must clearly explain to the public how this deal will improve the experience for all its student-athletes, will honor its century-old partnership with UC Berkeley, and will preserve the histories, rivalries, and traditions that enrich our communities."

July 21, 2022, 4:13 PM

Politicians getting involved

California governor Gavin Newsom is displeased with public school UCLA for its "lack of transparency" in its move to the Big Ten, according to reporting from the Mercury News and FOX 11. Newsom said that neither he nor the board of regents were consulted before the Bruins opted to make the move, and claims that the board could act in response. USC is a private institution, and is therefore not beholden to the state, but politics could affect UCLA's situation more tangibly as it leaves a conference that also includes fellow UC school Berkeley. 


SMU is optimistic

SMU is entrenched in the AAC for now, but it appears to be looking around for bigger and better options. The Dallas Morning News tracked down sources that told the paper that SMU has had conversations with the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 in the wake of the news that UCLA and USC are leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten. As is the case for many schools, though, is that Notre Dame's decision (or indecision) could drastically change the landscape of the current round of realignment. Despite that, the decision-makers at SMU seem optimistic about their future either in the AAC or elsewhere.


Saban comments on realignment

Alabama coach Nick Saban will undoubtedly address realignment next week at SEC Media Days, but he got a jump start on the festivities on Tuesday on the "Always College Football" podcast.

"I think we're going to deal with it in a greater capacity than ever before because I think mega-conferences are probably here to stay," he said. "Market share ... market ... there's a lot of that involved in why we're doing what we're doing."

The biggest problem with all that is going on is how it's going to divide the haves from the have-nots, according to Saban.

"My biggest concern is competitive balance," he said. "The NFL -- which I was involved in for eight years -- every rule that they have is to create competitive balance. If they could have every team go 8-8, so that at the end of every season, every team was playing their last game to get into the playoffs, they would be ecstatic. How much fan interest does that create? How much TV ratings and all of the things that go into all of these things, does that create?"


SEC hopes to stay at 16 teams

The realignment carousel could be coming to an end soon as sources tell Saturday Down South's Matt Hayes that the "preference" from SEC presidents is for the conference stay at 16 teams instead of entertaining expansion moves. Hayes reports that presidents would lean towards staying at 16 teams even if Notre Dame were to join the Big Ten. "The need just isn't there," an SEC athletic director told Hayes. If the SEC plans to stand pat, it could close the door on programs like Oregon, Clemson and Florida State getting into the high-money conferences -- and could be a lifeline for conferences like the Pac-12 and ACC to prevent major attrition. 


Swarbrick comments on Notre Dame's options

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick spoke to ESPN about the position his school is in right now, and it included several interesting tidbits. He said that there is no urgency for Notre Dame to make a decision one way other other, which certainly puts Oregon and Washington in a bind. The two Pac-12 schools -- along with several others -- have been told that the Big Ten is waiting on Notre Dame. Swarbrick also pointed out three items that will dictate its future: status of a television partner, access to the meaningful postseason and adverse financial consequences.


ACC, Pac-12 also looking into TV partnership

With the ACC and Pac-12 exploring the possibility of a loose partnership, expect TV rights to take center stage as details are parsed through. It's possible the ACC Network -- or a newly created network involving the two conferences -- will have exclusive rights to broadcast Pac-12 games to West Coast households through ESPN cable providers, according to Sports Illustrated. While marquee nonconference games would be the selling point, the idea would be to replace the Pac-12 Networks with a more reliable provider. 


ACC, Pac-12 discuss 'loose partnership' 

The ACC and Pac-12 have talked about the possibility of teaming up for a partnership of sorts centered around a TV deal with ESPN, CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd reported. The idea, believed to be proposed by the ACC, centers around a "championship game" in Las Vegas between the two conferences as a way to increase the value of their current media rights contracts. However, ESPN has cost certainty with the ACC in a contract that lasts through 2036. 


Colorado is committed to the Pac-12

CBS Sports senior writer Dennis Dodd reported Tuesday that the Big 12 is targeting up to six current Pac-12 members to join the conference, one of which is Colorado. The news comes on the same day that the Pac-12 announced that it is beginning negotiations for a new media rights deal immediately. CU-Boulder chancellor Dr. Philip DiStefano and athletic director Rick George released the following statement pledging loyalty to the Pac-12. 

"CU Boulder supports the decision of the Pac-12 Board of Directors this morning to begin conference media rights negotiations," the statement read. "We are committed to the Pac-12 Conference and look forward to being an active participant in those conversations."

Colorado left the Big 12 in favor of the Pac-12 before the 2011 academic year.


Big 12 targeting Pac-12 schools

The Big 12 is in "deep discussions" to add up to six Pac-12 schools after USC and UCLA departed the conference, according to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. The focus from the beginning has been on the Arizona schools, Utah and Colorado. However, the Big 12 is also keeping a close eye on Oregon and Washington, which stand as the most valuable remaining brands in the conference. Read all of Dodd's reporting


Pac-12 to begin negotiations

The Board of Directors in the Pac-12 has opted to start television negotiations immediately to try and secure a long-term deal for the conference. Ultimately, the negotiations are likely a desire for schools to understand their standing before making any long-term decisions. Negotiations with television networks could also be an opportunity to gauge interest from decision-makers in the Pac-12 adding new brands from other conferences. 


Pac-12 and Big 12 options

A college athletics industry source likened the pillaged Big 12 and Pac-12 to "Mountain West or AAC-plus" to our Dennis Dodd. Yikes. So what are the options for those leagues? Dodd breaks it down in "The stare down" subhead of his latest reporting on conference realignment. Among them is what Dodd details as "the mutual destruction option." Needless to say, it's a stressful holiday weekend for the folks in those league offices. Read all of Dodd's reporting here.

July 3, 2022, 6:00 PM

SEC up next?

Is this SEC done with the addition of Oklahoma and Texas? Maybe not. In Dennis Dodd's latest story for CBS Sports, he details a "growing sentiment" that some of the ACC's top brands could make their way into the league where "It Just Means More."  Of course, there is the complication of the ACC's grant of rights, but Dodd gives context to that issue in his piece.

July 3, 2022, 5:20 PM

Nothing happens until Notre Dame decides

That is among the notes from our Dennis Dodd's latest reporting on the shakeup following the Big Ten's addition of USC and UCLA. Pac-12 presidents and athletic directors met Friday, but it's really the Fighting Irish who have the next move. Could Stanford be a partner with Notre Dame in joining the Big Ten? More from Dodd on that potential scenario in the piece.

July 3, 2022, 4:36 PM

State lawmakers get involved

Lawmakers in Oregon and Washington are going to push to keep their big public schools together as the realignment wheel begins to churn again, according to John Canzano. It's an understandable and often-used move when state politics and college athletics mix; however, if UCLA -- part of the University of California system -- is ready to split from Cal, this might be a daunting task.


Pac-12 to explore expansion options

Pac-12 just released the following statement suggesting expansion is on the table as the league regroups from the loss of UCLA and USC: "The Pac-12 Board of Directors met this morning and authorized the Conference to explore all expansion options. The 10 university presidents and chancellors remain committed to a shared mission of academic and athletic excellence on behalf of our student-athletes."

July 1, 2022, 6:34 PM

Oregon and Washington in holding pattern

Our Dennis Dodd reports that Oregon and Washington have been told by the Big Ten that it is standing pat for now. The Big Ten is waiting on a decision by Notre Dame ... from there you've got to wonder if having 17 or 19 teams would make sense. An even 18 or 20 is probably simpler. Uncomfortable moment of limbo for the Ducks and Huskies. Notre Dame, meanwhile, continues to wield great leverage as an Independent.

July 1, 2022, 6:14 PM

Washington releases statement

One of the immediate reaction to the news that USC and UCLA are going to the Big Ten was, "who's next?" Washington became one of the likely targets due to its football prowess and location in a major market. The school released a joint statement from president Ana Mari Cauce and athletic director Jen Cohen on Friday. 

"We are disappointed by the news that UCLA and USC are leaving the PAc-12, a conference with such rich tradition and history. We have been in close contact with our leadership and peers in the Pac-12 and are working together to examine options and opportunities. The University of Washington has a distinguished record of success at the highest levels, in and out of competition, and is in a strong position as we process this development. We are confident that we will continue to increase the trength of our athletic programs and the success and well-being of our student-athletes."


Let the recruitment begin

Thursday was as wild of a day as we've seen in a long time, and it looks like Friday is going to be about recruiting. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, a Notre Dame alum, told The Athletic that he's fully on board with Notre Dame potentially joining the Big Ten as well.

"I love my alma mater, and I've always thought they should be in a conference," he said. "I hope they consider it, and I hope it's the Big Ten."

This is interesting on multiple levels. First, Notre Dame is locked in to the ACC as of now. If it were to join a conference in football, it has to be the ACC per the affiliation contract. That, obviously, can change depending on finances since money talks. But it'll take some wheeling and dealing to make it happen. Second, public courting of Notre Dame might be the next step in this madness. It isn't *really* tampering if a school isn't a full member of a conference. Wild times indeed.


Pac-12 standing firm?

At this time, it appears no other Pac-12 members are presently planning to leave for the Big Ten. The LA Times reports that Oregon, Washington, Stanford and others will be staying put for now. Whether another league like the Big 12 may have interest -- or vice versa -- remains to be seen.


UCLA and USC accepted

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports confirms that USC and UCLA have been notified of their acceptance into the Big Ten, effective in 2024. This means the vote among Big Ten presidents went as expected. Historic day in college sports with untold fallout yet to come. Adding two enormous West Coast brands should only help the Big Ten as it negotiates its next media rights deal — one that was already rumored to be in excess of $1 billion per year even prior to the addition of the LA schools.

June 30, 2022, 11:36 PM

Next steps are coming

The remaining Pac-12 ADs and presidents will meet later today via phone to discuss next steps, according to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. Meanwhile, Big Ten presidents are scheduled to vote on, and accept, the membership applications from UCLA and USC this evening around 6 p.m, according to multiple reports. In the fast-moving world of realignment, this thing really could get announced by tonight. 


What about Notre Dame?

Any time conference realignment comes up, so does Notre Dame. If the Fighting Irish were to withdraw from the ACC, it could play football wherever it wants, according to ESPN's Heather Dinich. Notre Dame would have to pay exit fee and grant of rights fees for its other sports, however. Just something to chew on if expansion isn't over. 


Serious coin

How much money could USC and UCLA make through media rights payouts in the Big Ten? Both schools could reach -- or even top -- $100 million annually, according to the San Jose Mercury-News' Jon Wilner. The Big Ten has been in negotiations for its next media rights deal, which was reportedly getting into the billion-dollar range. The amount of money on the table is mind-boggling. 


More on timing

Today, June 30, would be the last day USC and UCLA could inform the Pac-12 they intend on leaving the conference if they want to avoid potential additional financial penalties, three sources tell CBS Sports' Matt Norlander. The active Pac-12 grant of rights expires on June 30, if you wanted to know why this is coming out today, there is your answer.

June 30, 2022, 7:40 PM

Geography factor

This move will create a geographical separation unlike anything ever seen within a major conference before. While conferences have become increasingly spread out over the last 25 years or so, the gap between member schools in the new Big Ten will literally be cross-continental, which is unprecedented for a major league. The distance between Rutgers and USC/UCLA will be roughly 2,770 miles by car and more than a 5-hour flight. A 7 p.m. kick in LA will be a 10 p.m. kick in a decent portion of the Big Ten. And a noon kick in much of the Big Ten will be at 9 a.m. kick in LA. While this is manageable in football with a little strategic scheduling, the travel costs and logistical hurdles for non-revenue sports will be immense.

June 30, 2022, 7:23 PM

Pac-12 side

Today marks exactly a year since Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff started the job. It's been a baptism by fire on the realignment front during that time, and there will certainly be little celebration at the league office today in light of this news. He came from a non-traditional background at MGM, and it's hard to say what he could have done to prevent this — even a seasoned collegiate athletics administrator in Bob Bowlsby was unable to prevent a similar poaching of the Big 12 — but in hindsight perhaps the Pac-12 should have been more proactive. Could the league have added some of the leftover Big 12 members or been more forward-thinking to keep USC and UCLA happy?

June 30, 2022, 6:58 PM

Announcement expected soon

Our Dennis Dodd reports that an announcement is expected this afternoon on this. Would mark the first official word from the Big Ten on it. Will be fascinating to see how the Pac-12 responds. When this happened to the Big 12, Bob Bowlsby started throwing haymakers in the press. Given how new George Kliavkoff is to the job, he may not have the deep relationships and same feelings of betrayal that Bowlsby did.

June 30, 2022, 7:01 PM
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