Pac Ten expansion will alter the entire college sports landscape

A Texas Longhorns football game

Pac Ten expansion plans view University of Texas as the ultimate prize in a move that will alter the entire college sports landscape. Flickr photo.

Pac Ten expansion is threatening to turn the college sports landscape that most fans grew up with upside down. The possibility of Pac Ten expansion is having a ripple effect that is affecting both the Big-10 and the Big-12 conferences. The objective of Pac Ten expansion is enhanced revenue from television contracts. The big prize is Texas, a current member of the Big-12 coveted for its huge national following.

Pac Ten expansion scenarios

A handful of Pac Ten expansion scenarios were laid out at a conference of Pac Ten athletic directors in San Francisco on June 6. ESPN reports that plans range from a full merger with the Big 12 to merging with six current Big-12 schools, including Texas, to adding Colorado and Utah to staying intact as is. An expanded Pac Ten could launch its own TV network and generate huge amounts of money. Big-12 schools Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado were said to be on the Pac Ten’s shopping list at the conference.

Pac Ten expansion all about TV dollars

Pac Ten expansion is being discussed as the Big-12 conference has found itself under siege from both the east and west. In addition to Texas, the conference with other big name schools such as Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri hasn’t managed to keep pace in television dollars with other major conferences. The Big-10, a conference with its own TV network that doled out $22 million in TV revenues to each of its members last season, has made overtures to Nebraska and Missouri. Big-12 members only got between $7 and $12 million. According to the Sports Business Journal, the Southeast Conference leads all conferences with TV contracts from ESPN and CBS worth $205 million annually. The Pac Ten’s contracts with ABC/ESPN and Fox are worth $45 million.

The Pac-16 megaconference

No one is expecting Pac Ten expansion anytime soon, but, reports that Pac Ten commissioner Larry Scott will invite Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Colorado and Oklahoma State to join the Pac Ten this week. The Pac-16 mega-conference would probably be divided into two leagues, one composed of the eight original conference teams and the other made up of the newcomers plus the two Arizona schools.

No more Big 12 schools?

The San Jose Mercury News reports that the Big 12 has reportedly given Nebraska and Missouri an ultimatum: commit to the conference by Friday, June 11 — with the assumption being that if they don’t, everyone will go their separate ways. If the that scenario comes true, with Nebraska and Missouri defecting to the Big-10, the Big-12 would be left with Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State. Perhaps the Big 12 could convince Colorado and Utah to come its way, and shore things up with Texas Christian and Southern Methodist. But its doubtful the conference could survive as the Little-8. And its doubtful that the conference expansion spree is a good thing for college sports fans.

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