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Report: Big 12, Pac-12 Discussing Potential Merger

Paul Steinbach

The Power 5 power shift has entered its second week, with reports that the commissioners of the recently depleted Big 12 Conference and the Pac-12 are discussing scheduling synergies if not outright merger.

The Big 12, reeling from the announcement last week that pillar members Texas and Oklahoma plan to enter into Southeastern Conference membership no later than 2025, is down to eight schools that for now appear in no hurry to join new leagues themselves, according to Sports Illustrated, citing a report by The Athletic. Not surprisingly, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby prefers expansion to a total disbanding of the conference.

“I think there are options for us to partner with other conferences,” Bowlsby said during an appearance at a Texas Senate committee meeting Monday. "There may be opportunity for mergers. There may be opportunities to add members. There may be other opportunities that are currently unforeseen.

“We haven’t had formal conversations on candidate members. We think there’s a sequence at which we need to act, and that includes some of the collaborations that I mentioned earlier.”

Timing of such major shakeups is dictated by television. Texas and Oklahoma say they are committed to honoring the remainder of their grand of media rights agreements with the Big 12, which expire in 2025. The Pac-12's current television deal expires after the 2024 season, according to SI.

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