Big 12 ‘exploring all options’ when asked about potential Pac-12 additions

Jul 13, 2022, 8:26 AM | Updated: 8:32 am

New Big 12 commissioner Brett Yorkmack said Wednesday he is open to expansion when asked if the conference was actively engaged in discussions with Pac-12 schools.

“We are exploring all options and we are open for business,” Yorkmack told reporters during the start of Big 12 media days. “Optionality is good. We’re vetting through all of them. I think it’s fair to say I’ve received a lot of phone calls, a lot of interest.

“People understand the direction of the Big 12 and we’re exploring those levels of interest. Nothing is imminent but we’re working hard to make sure we position the Big 12 in the best possible way in a go-forward basis.”

The question to Yorkmark centered around CBS Sports analyst Dennis Dodd’s report on July 5 that said the Big 12 was in “deep discussions” to add multiple Pac-12 programs and that at least four schools from the conference (Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah) were mentioned specifically.

But The Mercury News’ Jon Wilner reported shortly after that unless the Pac-12 goes into panic mode, there’s “no rush” and that it could go through the whole season before anything is resolved on the future of the conference.

The commissioner’s comments come a little over two weeks after both USC and UCLA announced their plans to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten starting in the 2024-25 season.

The move will take place after the Pac-12’s current media rights contracts with Fox and ESPN expire, and increase the size of the Big Ten to 16 schools.

The sudden decision left the conference “extremely surprised and disappointed,” the Pac-12 said in a press release after the official announcements from the L.A. schools.

The following day, the Pac-12 said it was exploring all expansion options and “the 10 university presidents and chancellors remain committed to a shared mission of academic and athletic excellence on behalf of our student-athletes.”

In separate statements, both Arizona State VP for athletics Ray Anderson and University of Arizona president Dr. Robert Robbins and director of athletics David Heeke expressed their commitments to the Pac-12.

The decision by the Los Angeles schools — two of the NCAA’s most decorated athletic programs — comes nearly a year after Oklahoma and Texas formally accepted invitations to join the Southeastern Conference in July 2025.

USC and UCLA stand to significantly increase their revenues. The Pac-12 distributed only $19.8 million per school in fiscal year 2021, by far the least among Power 5 conferences. The Big Ten’s per-school distribution was $46.1 million, second only to the SEC’s $54.6 million.

Losing flagship schools like USC and UCLA is a major blow to the Pac-12, which has had a long and amicable relationship with the Big Ten best exemplified by its Rose Bowl partnership.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Arizona State Football

New Arizona Wildcats head coach Brent Brennan speaks during a press conference at Arizona Stadium o...

Damon Allred

Local DB Dajon Hinton flips to Arizona after initial commitment to ASU

Valley defensive back Dajon Hinton flipped his commitment from ASU to Arizona football on Sunday, he announced on Instagram.

21 hours ago

ASU Head Coach Kenny Dillingham, Fresno State at Arizona State September 18, 2023. (Jeremy Schnell/...

Damon Allred

ASU football adds 2025 running back Demarius Robinson

Arizona State football picked up a 2025 commitment from Demarius Robinson, a three-star running back from Oklahoma, on Wednesday.

5 days ago

Brandon Aiyuk...

Kevin Zimmerman

49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk fuels contract dispute talk with former ASU teammate Jayden Daniels

San Francisco 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk posted a conversation with former Arizona State teammate Jayden Daniels to TikTok Monday.

7 days ago

Arizona State football head coach Kenny Dillingham...

Damon Allred

Local 2025 WR Uriah Neloms commits to Arizona State football

San Tan Charter wide receiver Uriah Neloms announced his commitment to Arizona State football's 2025 class on Sunday.

8 days ago

ESPN has Arizona's quarterback situation as of the best tiers in college football while Arizona Sta...

Bailey Leasure

ESPN: Arizona has one of the best quarterback situations in 2024

ESPN has Arizona football's quarterback situation in one of the top tiers in college football. Arizona State's ranks much lower.

9 days ago

Graham Rossini...

Arizona Sports

ABOR to review contract for Arizona State AD Graham Rossini, details revealed

Arizona State University will ask the Arizona Board of Regents next week to approve a contract for hired athletic director Graham Rossini.

11 days ago

Big 12 ‘exploring all options’ when asked about potential Pac-12 additions