Pac-10 scenario: Half of Big 12 to join conference?
Pac-10 commissioner says nothing imminent, but key talks this weekend
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Washington athletic director Scott Woodward said Thursday afternoon that reports of imminent expansion in the Pac-10 are "all speculation."
But he also said that many options remain on the table as the conference gets set to hold meetings this weekend in San Francisco, with expansion sure to be a major topic.
"There is an enormous amount of speculation about conference expansion right now and I think with the Pac-10 that anything is possible, all the way from remaining with the status quo, where we are today, to a full merger with the Big 12 and anything in between," Woodward said Thursday afternoon. "All possibilities are viable and open for discussion."
One intriguing possibility rumored early Thursday had the Pac-10 set to invite half of the Big 12 to form a 16-team conference.
A story early in the day from Orangebloods.com, a Texas Longhorns' web site affiliated with Rivals.com, said that the Pac-10 was getting ready to invite Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado.
Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn then told the Boulder Daily Camera later in the day that he thought that there was "some validity" to the rumor. The Big 12 Conference is holding meetings this week, and speculation was further fueled when conference commissioner Dan Beebe canceled a planned press conference to update reporters — Thursday was the third day of the conference's meetings. He said the press conference will instead be held Friday.
However, Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott, meanwhile, released a statement late in the day indicating that nothing definitive is yet on the horizon.
"While many interesting scenarios have been suggested in numerous news reports, around the country," the statement read, "we remain focused on a thorough evaluation process that examines all of the options for increasing the value of the conference for our member institutions, our student athletes and our fans. We have not developed any definitive plans. We have not extended any invitations for expansion and we do not anticipate any such decisions in the near term."
Woodward and UW president Mark Emmert will be among those attending Pac-10 meetings scheduled to begin today and last through Sunday.
Woodward said it was "too early" to make a judgment on how expansion would impact the University of Washington. "I want to make sure I'm given all the data and all the reasons why a particular institution should or shouldn't join if we go that route," he said.
The Orangebloods.com report stated that if the six Big 12 teams accept the invite to the Pac-10 that the conference will be split into two eight-team divisions. One would include Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Stanford, USC and UCLA. The other would include the six Big 12 schools plus Pac-10 holdovers Arizona and Arizona State.
Adding six teams would allow the conference to stage a potentially lucrative football conference championship game, and increase the value of a possible new conference TV network.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.