Could Bob Stoops and Oklahoma leave the Big-12 for the (new?) Pac-16?
Welcome to the Pac-12. We have a new fancy logo, incorporating both the "mountain" based schools with the schools based in states that touch the Pacific Coast, along with ignoring the Arizona schools. I hope you haven't ordered your new letterhead or business cards, because we might have some new members of the Pacific-12 Conference.
The Big-12 and Texas A&M are on the outs, in the midst of their own ugly divorce. Now Oklahoma is accelerating their possible exit, and have nearly declared they are leaving the Big-12 for the Pac-12.
More juicy divorce rumors, after the jump.
From the NY Times:
The Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott met with the news media before Louisiana State’s game against Oregon at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday night and did not quell the Oklahoma speculation. "Schools have reached out to us," Scott said, declining to address Oklahoma specifically. "We are not doing anything proactively, we are not initiating anything. But schools have called us."
A non denial is almost a confirmation. Scott is saying, call us, we're not going to call you... especially since that may be considered tampering.
If Oklahoma declares they're out of the Big-12, they will be bringing a friend. Oklahoma State does not want to lose their rivalry, and will follow Oklahoma to their new conference. Even OSU's biggest benefactor, T. Boone Pickens, who isn't a fan of leaving the Big-12, concedes that OSU will follow OU when/if they leave.
"We're Oklahomans," he said. "We're going to stick together, I think. I don't have any reason to not think that. We go together wherever we go."
A 14 team conference won't be very balanced - I don't think the Arizona schools would want to break up to form two seven team divisions - so two more schools would need to join the (soon to be) Pac-16 juggernaut. Texas is allegedly in the mix again, according to an ESPN source.
The main problem? Texas has a shiny new TV contract, and we don't know if the Longhorns will want to share. Larry Scott confirmed any new team must be a part of the current revenue model.
"We're wedded to that model," Scott said, adding, "anyone who is going to be a member of our conference is going to be a part of our network model."
Texas is too tempting to just let walk away though, so...
However, a source told ESPN's Schad that Pac-12 officials believe the parties could work through Texas' network issues.
Even on a day where we grieve over an season-opening loss, we may have some new friends to play with in the coming years.
Let's hop back into the way back machine, and look at the formation of the Big-12:
"We are all extremely enthused about adding these four universities," Kansas State President Jon Wefald told The Star in February 1994. "This should help secure our future well into the 21st century."
Well, let's hope the Pacific-12, 16, or beyond will last beyond our time here. (With UCLA leading the way.)