Big 12 eyes further conference expansion after reaching early exit agreement with Texas, Oklahoma

Big 12’s next step is clear after early Texas and Oklahoma departure was agreed on Thursday evening. Now the conference plans to actively expand in one form or another, CBS Sports sources say.

This is the culmination of a three-pronged vision put forward by Commissioner Brett Yormark after he took office in August 2022. The first two steps—negotiating a new television deal and settling the situation between Texas and Oklahoma—have been achieved. Now all his attention is on adding new teams to the Big 12.

Whether this will be implemented is another question. However, in Jormark’s short history leading the league, it’s best not to bet against him. Almost immediately after USC and UCLA announced they were leaving for the Big Ten, Big 12 showed interest in Pac-12 quadrangular schools (Arizona, Arizona, Colorado, Utah).

The Yorkmark then quickly arranged for expanding media rights with Fox and ESPN it will make more money for league teams than they got in their last deal involving Texas and Oklahoma.

For the first time since 2010, the Big 12 will actually be made up of 12 league members starting in 2024, after playing temporarily with 14 in 2023.

Most recently Yorkmark played for Gonzaga only joined a basketball member. While the financial benefit to the Big 12 from adding Zags will be minimal, Jormark sees more college basketball rights in the future as the streaming giants get more involved in the sport. Gonzaga has options (Pac-12 and Big East) as he seems interested in finally moving to a major conference.

The reason for any expansion of the Big 12: the movement to the West. Jormark is looking for inventory for games in the Pacific Time Zone, which will allow the league, once based in the Midwest, to stretch from coast to coast. More importantly, it would give the Big 12 a presence in all four major TV “windows” – noon, 3:30, prime time, and late night (based on the Eastern time zone).

Going forward, the SEC and the Big Ten will dominate these first three windows. Being in the fourth window would give the Big 12 some level of exclusivity. (ESPN is also interested in partnering with Pac-12 for game nights.)

While it’s not clear if the Big 12 will be able to earn pro-rata rewards (equal to $31.66 million a year) for new members, it may not matter much. Schools are desperate to improve their position in what could be the latest stage of reorganization in the next decade.

For example, industry sources have suggested that both SMU and San Diego State could take less than a full share if they join Pac-12. SDSU remains a Big 12 candidate if the Pac-12 move fails. This was reported this week by CBS Sports. the new Pac-12 TV deal may depend on the addition of these two schools.

Any Big 12 expansion continues to revolve around the Pac-12 TV deal.

It’s been more than seven months since USC and UCLA announced plans to leave Pac-12. Industry sources began to wonder why Pac-12 Commissioner George Klyavkov took so long to close the deal. Whatever this deal is, it is expected to include more than half of the Pac-12 games on the streaming platform. This would be unprecedented for a Power Five conference.

If Pac-12 continues to play for time or struggles to come to an agreement, the Big 12’s unspoken stance – at least publicly – is that some of these West Coast schools may become nervous about the safety and stability of the league. .

Now there is a former conference in the Midwest ready to receive them.


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