ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL
Report: Big 12 recently contacted ASU, Arizona amid Pac-12 uncertainty
As a Pac-12 media rights deal remains undetermined, the Big 12 has recently had contact with Arizona State and Arizona regarding the possibility they depart their current conference, reports The Athletic.
Sources briefed on the discussions say the conference has been in recent contact with the so-called Four Corners schools — Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah — which has renewed optimism that convincing them to join is possible.
The pending departures of USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 initially raised concerns that teams like Washington and Oregon could also leave for the Big Ten. But the 10 remaining Pac-12 schools have, at least publicly, remained steadfast in standing together as commissioner George Kliavkoff has worked to secure a new media rights contract.
That process, however, has gone eight months without a resolution.
It’s gone long enough for a fresh round of realignment rumors to be had.
The Athletic reports that Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark, in his first year on the job, is remaining patient to see how Pac-12 schools react to an eventual media rights agreement as he pursues other expansion opportunities.
Yormark is also deep in discussions with Gonzaga, but sources involved in the process indicated he wants clarity on the Pac-12’s situation before making that move.
On Tuesday, Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades made a notable comment that his conference could still be in the mix to pursue a Pac-12 addition.
“I don’t think any of us are trying to dismantle the Pac-12,” Rhoades told SicEm365. “If there’s opportunity, and whenever their TV media deal comes to fruition and if those institutions decide that it’s not good for them, then the Big 12 will be ready. And that probably is as simple as I can say it.”
Several prominent Pac-12 voices have voiced displeasure about how long the media rights negotiations have gone on.
Arizona State vice president for university athletics Ray Anderson said two weeks ago that he hoped for a media right agreement to be announced in mid-March.
“It’s been challenging and it’s been frustrating, I don’t think anybody can deny that,” Anderson told Bickley & Marotta when he joined Arizona Sports on Feb. 23. “We certainly believe in the value of this market and certainly the value ASU as an institution brings to the Pac-12 conference.
Added Anderson: “We’ve just been forced like everyone else, unfortunately, to let this thing play out because we’re not directly in the driver’s seat. That being said, we have confidence our commissioners and our presidents and chancellors are going to get to a place where a media rights deal and a grant of rights is done. It may not be the projections originally contemplated but will be a solid enough financial situation to keep this conference together and then (we will) really work hard to move forward positively.”