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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pac-10 commish gets authority to pursue expansion, possibly at expense of Big 12

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— The Pac-10 concluded its meetings Sunday by giving commissioner Larry Scott the authority to pursue any possible expansion, while not committing the conference to adding any more schools.

Scott addressed the chancellors and presidents on the final day of the weekend meeting about possible expansion scenarios and was given permission to move ahead with the process without having to go back to the board for approval.

"What direction that process takes still could go in different directions," Scott said. "Everything from remaining as we are as a Pac-10 that has some very bright days ahead of it, to a bigger conference foot print. I have the authority to take it different directions depending on various scenarios and discussions we will have."

The conference will decide its future plans by the end of the year before negotiating a new television contract for the 2012-13 academic year.

The Pac-10 administrators arrived in San Francisco this weekend to a report that the conference was ready to invite Texas, Texas A&M;, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor from the Big 12 to create a 16-team megaconference.

There has also been a report that Baylor could replace Colorado in that scenario or the Pac-10 could choose to keep the status quo or add only two teams in a smaller move.

"We probably have contemplated or are contemplating almost everything you've read about," Scott said. "The Pac-10 is in a very fortunate position. We have tremendous prospects exactly as we are. We also have some potentially exciting opportunities regarding expanding the footprint of the conference."

Scott, the former head of the Women's Tennis Association, took over the conference last July. In February, he said the window for possible expansion would be until the end of 2010 before the conference negotiated a new television deal. Since then, speculation has grown about if the Pac-10 would choose to expand, and if so, what teams it would seek to add.

The Pac-10 had perhaps been the conference most resistant to change in recent decades. While all of the other five major football conferences had either expanded or swapped teams since the start of the 1990s, the Pac-10 has been in its current format since adding Arizona and Arizona State in 1978.

With five pairs of natural rivals, the Pac-10 has been able to hold down travel time and costs and play a full round-robin in football and home-and-homes against each team in basketball.

A major motivation for the expansion talk is to increase revenues for the schools under a new media contract that begins in the 2012-13 academic year. Negotiations will start early next year and could lead the development of a Pac-10 network similar to what the Big Ten has successfully done.

Pac-10 teams make considerably less from television and bowl deals. Big Ten schools reportedly receive about $22 million each from television and bowl deals and SEC school each get at least $17.3 million. Pac-10 teams, meanwhile, reportedly only get about $8 million to $10 million each from the conference deals.

Scott said the reason for expansion would be that it could create "exponential" growth in terms of money and exposure.

"I can't say for sure sitting here today that there are options that will achieve these goals where the Pac-10 can stay true to its DNA and its special values," Scott said. "But there are some very exciting possibilities out there. That's why we're investing so much time and effort."

Comments

aerohawk 10 years, 1 month ago

So much for this just being TX trying to gain position in the B12.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 1 month ago

Forget the ticket deal and the gym equipment .. this defines Perkins. If we get left out of this whole realignment, he should be fired. Period. If he ensures our presence in a top conference, he should be AD for life.

jchief40 10 years, 1 month ago

OK Perkins is not Jesus Christ and he also can't make other schools not bolt for more revenue. Every school is looking out for themselves and no one can control what each school will ultimately decide to do. Fire him if you don't get your way? I think you'd be barking up the wrong tree. And it's also awesome knowing that it's not you making the decisions too. =)

Jack Wilson 10 years, 1 month ago

This is his job. His job is to protect and advance Kansas athletics. This could be the biggest disaster in the history of Kansas athletics.

DevilHawk 10 years, 1 month ago

No school is going to leave the Big 10. Also, no school is going to leave the SEC. Both conferences bring in too much money.

Then you have the Pac-10. No school is going to leave the Pac-10 because it fits together well and has a large market - which will work well once they get a Conference Network together.

That leaves the ACC and Big East in terms of BCS conferences - and those schools are too far east to reasonably consider adding to the Big 12.

Now look at Top 50 TV markets that are in the Midwest or are associated with a Mountain West school : 3) Chicago 5) Dallas / Ft. Worth 10) Houston 11) Detroit 15) Minneapolis 16) Denver 21) St. Louis 25) Indianapolis 28) San Diego 31) Salt Lake City 32) Kansas City 35) Milwaukee 37) San Antonio 41) Grand Rapids, MI 42) Las Vegas 44) Albuquerque 45) Oklahoma City 48) Austin

There are 18 cities.

The Big-12 already has (5) Dallas / Ft. Worth; (10) Houston; (16) Denver; (21) St. Louis; (32) Kansas City; (37) San Antonio; (45) Oklahoma City; and (48) Austin. That leaves 10 cities left to consider adding.

(3) Chicago is associated with Northwestern and Illinois - both are Big 10 schools. (11) Detroit is associated with Michigan and Michigan State - both are Big 10 schools. (15) Minneapolis is associated with Minnesota - a Big 10 school. (25) Indianapolis is associated with Indiana, Purdue, and to a certain extent Notre Dame - IU and Purdue are Big 10 schools, Notre Dame is an Independent/Big East school. (35) Milwaukee is associated with Wisconsin - a Big 10 school. (41) Grand Rapids is associated with Michigan and Michigan State - again, both are Big 10 schools.

So when you omit Midwest markets associated with the Big 12 and Big 10, you have no markets left to consider adding. If you consider markets associated with MWC schools, then you add four markets: (28) San Diego - SDSU (31) Salt Lake City - Utah and BYU (42) Las Vegas - UNLV (44) Albuquerque - New Mexico

The Big 12 could consider adding four or all of those schools, but it is questionable whether such a decision would increase the amount that each Big 12 school gets.

Therefore, the Big 12 simply is in no position to aggressively expand. Sometimes you can bluff, but other times you have to fold - knowing that you don't have the cards to play. That's not a lack of leadership - just a recognition of reality.

Rankings are from http://www.tvb.org/rcentral/markettrack/us_hh_by_dma.asp - and sourced from 2009 Nielsen rankings.

Ron Prichard 10 years, 1 month ago

Explain to me why the Big XII couldn't go after Memphis, Cincinnati and Louisville. Throw in TCU, Houston, or Colorado State and you would have 16 teams, all without increasing travel significantly. Memphis adds additional credibility in basketball but is weak in football. Cincinnati and Louisville have both had success in basketball and (recently) football.

Distance from KC to Cincinnati, the farthest of the three schools, is 591 miles. The distance from KC to Austin is 738 miles. So, not a huge increase in travel. But, according to your TV markets, Cincinnati is 33, Louisville is 49 and Memphis is 50. So, by adding those three teams, you have increased your footprint, increased your exposure by adding three more top 50 markets, and made inroads into the east coast, which could only help recruiting. Further, how much fun would KU/Memphis and KU/Louisville be in basketball every year? CU and CSU as a league game would make that rivalry even more exciting.

As for those teams accepting, I would have to think the Big XII would be a dream come true for them. Just my thought.

DevilHawk 10 years, 1 month ago

The purpose of expansion is to bring in markets or specific schools (Ohio State, Notre Dame, etc.) that will increase the amount that each school in the conference gets.

The Big 10 is mostly interested in Notre Dame rather than any other schools. However, adding Mizzou would solidify the (21) St. Louis market and provide access to the (32) KC market for the Big 10.

UT adds the Texas markets, including two top-10 markets - so every conference is interested in UT's markets, but not necessarily the added competition of UT.

If those two schools leave, then other options become necessary to replace that revenue.

However, until that happens, adding schools is likely to decrease rather than increase the revenue of each Big-12 school.

Ron Prichard 10 years, 1 month ago

I'm not sure I necessarily agree. Adding those markets now would necessarily increase the league's overall bargining position and make it more attractive when it comes time to negotiate television deals.

Your statement that, "until that happens" is reactionary as opposed to proactive, which I believe is one reason we are in this position to start with.

I'm not sure it would increase the per-school revenue, but I definitely think it is worth exploring.

NorthStarHawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Something keeps telling me Mr.Beebe - our In-Big-Twelve-We-Trust Commissionerd - doesn't know what the he!! he should do.

jhokfan 10 years, 1 month ago

Resolve the KUAD mess in a hurry so Lew can get back to work. Our survival depends on it.

Justin LoBurgio 10 years, 1 month ago

Texas will block Colorado's bid to get into the Pac-10. Texas will demand Baylor gets in over CU and Texas will get its way. KU, CU, KSU and Iowa St will end up in the Mountain West. It makes sense for CU with natural rivalries with CSU, Wyoming and Air Force. KU, KSU and ISU will join just because we will be out in the cold. At least, that is my guess. I wonder how being in the MWC will effect recruiting and revenue.
We'll see.......

DevilHawk 10 years, 1 month ago

The Pac wants the Dallas, Houston, and Denver markets - but doesn't actually want to expand. If forced to expand, they would probably only invite CU and UT. However, every Pac school despises UT unless they are playing against a rival or USC. CU is a good fit, but only inviting CU would leave an open spot - likely filled by inviting Colorado State in order to match every other arrangement in the conference.

If the Big 12 dissolves and KU (as expected) isn't invited by one of the remaining five BCS conferences, we and K-State will probably join the MWC - which could actually play out better for us than the Big 12 has - assuming that the MWC replaces the Big 12 as the 6th BCS conference.

Hank Cross 10 years, 1 month ago

"How I learned to stop worrying about and started loving the Mountain West"

First, let's be honest that going to the MW would be a step down in prestige, academics, and noterity from the B12. It would also smart to have MU move up to a "premier conference."

HOWEVER a move to the MW would mean that eventually KU becomes the unquestioned dominant BB power from the MS river to the Pacific Ocean.

First, ESPN needs a good BB game in the Central Time Zone for Big Monday. If MU goes to the B10 and the southern 6 go to the P10, KU will be the only one left standing to fill the void. ESPN won't care if KU/MU and KU/OSU is replaced with KU/UNLV or KU/BYU. So expect to see even more of them on Big Monday-thus maintaining its high profile for recruiting purposes.

Second, KU retains its recruiting profile in DFW (TCU) and gains a recruiting toehold in SoCal thanks to SDSU and UNLV. This means the KU won't have to schedule UCLA or USC for recuiting SoCal preps and will be free to poach in the east with out of conference schedules.

Third, as will be demonstrated once the census figures are released - the Mountain Time Zone contains the only places where population is increasing, especially NV and CO. The rust belt is bleeding people. KU will be in a position to be gaining fans.

Fourth, if as expected Boise St. joins the MW and KU, KSU and CO join (latest report has them being squeezed in favor of Baylor) the MW, the MW will be a BCS conference. It will also be a conf. that KU might be able to win if the stars align. This would put us back in the BCS quicker that Mizery, which will be tackling dummies for the B10.

Finally, the slopes of Utah and Colorado, the casinos of Vegas, and the beaches of San Diego would make MW games "destination events" which would attract large numbers of KU alumni in the West.

STLJHawk86 10 years, 1 month ago

you make a lot of good points but I cant help but cringe when I think about moving to the MW for both althletic and academic reasons

meremy 10 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for this post. Really puts into words what I've been thinking about the Mountain West. MWC is the best place for KU and KSU (who, let's face it, must go together) assuming we can't gain admission to Big 10, Pac 10, or ACC. However, I think the administration is doing what they can to get into any of those three as we speak.

Back to the MWC scenario--It's the best "football" move, which I think from a revenue standpoint equals the smart move. Our basketball program will be fine. We may have to get more aggressive from a non-con standpoint, but maintaining a couple of B12 rivalries will help there.

I also think consideration to western Conference USA schools like Tulsa and/or UTEP could be a good get for MWC, and keeps the Texas connection for KU football limping along (also current MWC member TCU). Net result is an MWC which would have an excellent Western footprint.

And probably is the best of what's left.

aerohawk 10 years, 1 month ago

It is definitely a step down, but I live Idaho so this would make it much more feasible for me to see KU. I would go to at least 3 games a year (Boise, Utah, and BYU).

Always a silver lining I guess.

jhokfan 10 years, 1 month ago

If all the schools that are rumored to be leaving actually do, will the remaining teams left in the conference be able to split the exit fees before disbanding themselves?

cejardon 10 years, 1 month ago

If "Armageddon" occurs, with MU and NU departing for the Big Ten and the Pac-10 adding Texas, A&M, TTech, OU and OSU plus either Baylor or Colorado, as a long-time fan of KU football and basketball, I have given some thought as to what I would like to see happen.

Consider academics and not only athletics. Be creative and cause a new conference to be created. KU, K-State, ISU and either Baylor or Colorado remain from the Big 12. Get together with Colorado State, the University of Tulsa, Southern Methodist, TCU, Rice and Tulane. Those are 10 universities with Div. I football. They have geographic contiguity. There are some old rivalries in this group. I believe that such a proposed conference would be attractive to the schools just named. Nine of the ten are in the "Tier 1" or upper 50% of the much-cited U.S. News rankings of "National Universities". (The one exception is K-State. They get a pass because of membership in the old Missouri Valley, Big Six, Big Seven and Big Eight.) Four (KU, ISU, Rice and Tulane) are in the Association of American Universities.

This conference would lend itself to a North Division and a South Division. North would be KU, K-State, ISU, Colorado State and Colorado (if it stays) and Tulsa (if Baylor stays). South would be SMU, TCU, Rice, Tulane and either Baylor (if it stays) or Tulsa (if CU stays).

I find this much more attractive than linking up with Memphis, Louisville, Cincinnati and Boise State or other western schools some have named that do not have the same academic reputation as does KU. In my proposed conference fans could actually drive to most of the away from home games should they choose to do so. The more I think about this the more attractive it seems. Let UT, MU and the rest do what they want. If KU plays its cards right, KU could come out of all this quite well.

justanotherfan 10 years, 1 month ago

There is no guarantee that the BCS will continue to include six conferences.

Follow me on this.

Big Ten expands to 16 teams, adding NU, MU, and 3 former Big East schools. That effectively means the Big East ceases to exist as a football conference, as the remaining five teams wouldn't really be enough to be a conference.

Those five teams, likely Louisville, West Virginia, UConn, Cincinnati and South Florida, would then be gobbled up by the SEC and ACC, with each picking off the ones they wanted - ACC likely grabbing WVU, UConn and Cincy, while the SEC picks off USF and Louisville.

So the Big East is gone. There's a 16 team Big Ten and a 16 team ACC (after they grab one more member to even out the divisions). 14 teams in the SEC.

The Pac-10 snatches up the Big XII South, making it a 16 team conference.

At that point, the best thing for KU, ISU, K-State and Colorado would be to grab the top teams in the Mountain West and WAC and hope for the best. However, there is no guarantee that such an arrangement would make it into the BCS. There's no rule that says the BCS has to have a certain number of conferences in it, or that a certain number of teams has to be included.

Does a conference of KU, K-State, Iowa State, Colorado, Colorado State (MWC), Utah (MWC), BYU (MWC), TCU (MWC), UNLV (MWC) Boise St. (WAC), Fresno State(WAC), and Nevada (WAC) get a spot at the BCS table, or is that just like the MAC to the powers that be? And would that arrangement help any involved. Travel would be a beast in that conference. Even an East-West arrangement would still have the former Big XII members grouped with TCU and CSU. The West division would stretch from Boise in the northern reaches all the way to Fresno way out west. Would Iowa State really want to go to Fresno for a volleyball game? Would K-State want to travel to Reno for a women's basketball game during the week? Would TCU want to make the trip to Boise? Would UNLV be excited about travelling to Ames?

The advantage would be that almost everyone would have a natural rival. CSU-CU. KU-KSU. Utah-BYU. UNLV-Nevada. That could save the arrangement.

If everything falls apart, this is the fallback. It's not pretty, but its something.

Hank Cross 10 years, 1 month ago

That's not a bad conference and would have many advantages over the Valley and CUSA. Due to TCU and Boise St., it gets the B12's slot in the Fiesta Bowl. But, if the SEC has 14 teams, why would it not take KU and KSU? It really can't be b/c of football b/c although Louisville and USF have had some success, they are nowhere near SEC level. With UK, KU, Louisville and KSU, the SEC would be a match for the ACC in BB.

rob4lb 10 years, 1 month ago

Here is my suggestion if the Armaggedon scenario occurs for the Big 12, where there are four teams left (KU, ISU, KSU and CU/Bylor), they should keep the rights to Big 12, make sure all 8 teams pay a hefty exit fee, which I understand is upwards of $8-9M per team and then add teams to retain BCS status. My thoughts: East Division: KU, ISU, KSU, Louisville, Cincinnati, TCU West Division: Utah, BYU, CU, CSU, UNM, and Boise

8 of these 12 teams have played in BCS bowl games. Academically, not the Big 10, but the left over Big 12 schools, Cincinnati and Utah have relatively strong academics.

Ron Prichard 10 years, 1 month ago

I think I read somewhere that in order to remain the Big XII at least 50% of the schools would have had to be in the league for 5 years, so the Big XII would be automatically defunct.

rob4lb 10 years, 1 month ago

My guess is that if it comes to that, you may see Congress getting involved.

Hank Cross 10 years, 1 month ago

That's a good conference and keeps KU on Big Monday for sure vs. Louisville, Cincinnati, BYU, NM and KSU. BYU also has strong academics. Boise and TCU probably ensure BCS status. But do we really have to take ISU? I'd rather have AF or UNLV.

aerohawk 10 years, 1 month ago

ISU is in the AAU and adds some more academic standing to the deal, although I think it would be cool to have a service academy in the conference (and the academies are good schools).

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