PAC 12

ASU, Arizona not among Pac-12 schools being evaluated for Big Ten expansion, report says

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
View Comments
The Pac-12 Conference could soon look very different as college conference realignment and expansion talks continue.

The Big Ten Conference may not be done taking schools from the Pac-12.

CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd reported that the Big Ten is "evaluating the worthiness" of adding California, Oregon, Stanford and Washington to expand its conference.

The Big Ten is already in the process of adding Pac-12 schools USC and UCLA, meaning that six Pac-12 schools could potentially land in the Big Ten, leaving the Pac-12 with just Arizona State, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Oregon State and Washington State remaining in that scenario.

More:Pac-12 has been 'fractured' by Big Ten, Big 12 conference realignment, expansion chatter

More:Pac-12 conference realignment: ASU's Michael Crow, Arizona's Robert C. Robbins could be key

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren raised some eyebrows Tuesday when he said that more conference expansion could be coming.

"The Big Ten conference was born out of a desire to be bold," Warren said. "There are two types of people in the world, they look at change as a problem or see it as an opportunity.

"I'm embracing change, I'm going to be very aggressive, I've been that way my entire career and I just want to make sure we build an environment because our student-athletes, fans and universities deserve that."

He continued: "I get asked every day, 'What's next?'," Warren said. "It may include future expansion, but it will be done for the right reasons, at the right time, with our students' academic and athletic empowerment at the center.

"We will not expand just to expand. It will be strategic, it will add additional value to our conference and it will provide a platform to have our student-athletes to be put on a larger platform so they can build their careers."

More:Pac-12 football TV ratings: Ranking teams by viewership amid conference realignment rumors

Dodd reported that the inclusion of those four other Pac-12 schools in the Big Ten could also collapse the Pac-12.

He wrote: "Such a move would strip the Pac-12 of half its members. Sources indicate the Pac-12 would most likely have to reform to stay afloat with invitations to the likes of San Diego State and Fresno State. One label put on that grouping was 'Mountain West Plus.'"

What would happen to ASU and Arizona?

Dodd's report perhaps offered a glimpse, with him saying in this scenario, the Big 12 could make sense for some of the remaining Pac-12 schools.

"The Pac-12 could be in danger on two fronts," he wrote. "The Big 12 is also zeroing on westward expansion with Arizona, at least, according to sources. There is no indication if Arizona State would follow, though CBS Sports previously reported that ASU, Colorado and Utah were the Big 12's targets. San Diego State is in play for both the Pac-12 and Big 12, sources indicate."

More:Are Pac-12 schools ASU, Arizona a package deal in college conference realignment?

The Big Ten is also attempting to add Notre Dame, Florida State and Miami, according to reports.

ASU athletic director Ray Anderson recently told The Arizona Republic that the rest of the Pac-12 was "completely shocked" by USC and UCLA's impending departure for the Big Ten.

He said that the remaining 10 teams in the conference were "united."

"Everything out there has been overblown and exaggerated and lacking any credibility," he said. "We're on solid footing, got a solid plan moving forward. The schools remaining are united and we're going to be strong moving forward. We don't have to do anything just out of panic or desperation."

How long will the rest of the Pac-12 remain united as speculation, rumors and reports about the future of the conference continue to swirl?

More:Pac-12 Conference, leadership slammed amid USC, UCLA Big Ten negotiations news

Reach Jeremy Cluff at jeremy.cluff@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.

Support local journalism: Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

View Comments