A new proposal would unite the Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences in a unique partnership the likes of which haven’t been seen before. If, that is, it’s ever adopted.
The San Jose Mercury News reports that Jon Wefald, the former president of Kansas State University, was asked by West Virginia’s Gordon Gee in the fall of 2017 to consider options for strengthening the Big 12 Conference.
After initially considering trying to scoop up Arizona and Arizona State, Wefald instead created an 11-page document titled “A Proposal to Create a Strategic Alliance Between The Big 12 and The Pac-12.”
The document outlines plans for the conferences to devote their non-conference football games to each other (the Pac-12, which has more member schools, would devote 30 out of a total of 36 non-conference games to the Big 12, while the Big 12 would schedule Pac-12 teams exclusively for all 30 of their non-conference games).
In addition, the winners of each conference would end at the end of the regular season for a championship game rotating between the Rose Bowl and AT&T Stadium.
The alliance would be designed to appeal to media partners, deepen fan engagement and ultimately strengthen both conferences.
A number of representatives from the Big 12, including commissioner Bob Bowlsby, downplayed the proposal, saying that Wefald does not work for the conference and is not authorized to serve on its behalf.
Still, the proposal is interesting. But could it work?
There are a number of reasons that the proposal is considered impractical. First, the likelihood of Power 5 programs dedicating 100 percent of their schedule to other Power 5 foes, let alone ones from a single conference, is slim. Second, contracts for home-and-home series against other Power 5 schools have already been signed throughout the 2020s, and those contracts have hefty buyout clauses. Third, the finances are dubious. Most athletic departments require at least seven home football games for revenue purposes.
However, despite the issues with the specific details, it could behoove conferences to consider these kinds of proposals as they look to the future.