Pac-12 Decides Against Conference Expansion

Tuesday, September 20th 2011, 11:38 pm
By: News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY – The thought of the Big 12 sticking together might have just gotten a little bit more feasible.

The Pac-12 announced Tuesday night that the conference would not expand, putting to rest the speculation of Big 12 schools such as OU, OSU, Texas and Texas Tech joining the conference.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott issued the following statement:

"After careful review we have determined that it is in the best interests of our member institutions, student-athletes and fans to 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. 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."

Scott met with conference presidents and the presidents and commissioner decided against potential expansion – at least for now – re-affirming Scott's recent statements that the conference was not currently looking to add any new teams.

OU president David Boren released the following statement in response to the Pac-12's decision:

"We were not surprised by the Pac 12's decision to not expand at this time. Even though we had decided not to apply for membership this year, we have developed a positive relationship with the leadership of the conference and we have kept them informed of the progress we've been making to gain agreement from the Big 12 for changes which will make the conference more stable in the future. Conference stability has been our first goal and we look forward to achieving that goal through continued membership in the Big 12 Conference."

The question now is where the Big 12 teams go from here.

Sources have indicated to News 9 confirmation of a previous reporting stating that OU would consider staying in the Big 12 if several conditions are met: Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe being fired and the Longhorn Network being re-worked among them.

These desired conditions were expressed before the announcement that the Pac-12 would stand pat. The option of moving to the Pac-12 no longer being available could have an effect on OU's leveraging when it comes to these issues.

Texas A&M has already expressed its intentions to leave the conference and join the SEC, which would leave the Big 12 with nine remaining schools.

Multiple reports have indicated that one strong voice in the situation - OSU booster T. Boone Pickens - said that he thinks A&M is backing down on the situation and could be convinced to stay.

However, Texas A&M's vice president of communications, Jason Cook, responded to Pickens' comments, stating, "Texas A&M has made our intentions perfectly clear. We do not intend to be a member of the Big 12 past this season."

Meanwhile, the University of Missouri has also jumped into the conference realignment news.

Two sources have indicated to the Birmingham (Ala.) News that the SEC has a tentative plan in place for the University of Missouri to join the conference.

The report indicates that a majority of presidents of the SEC schools have endorsed the formal agreement.

The SEC, however, is currently denying the report, issuing the following statement:

"The Southeastern Conference has not agreed formally or informally to accept any institution other than Texas A&M and there have not been conference discussions regarding changes in divisional alignment."

The Missouri Board of Curators has already set a public meeting for Thursday, followed after by an executive session for the board.

A source in Missouri told News 9's Dean Blevins that he would be "astonished" if the SEC still went after Missouri if the Big 12 stuck together. will update this story as more details become available.