In a conference call on Tuesday evening, Pac-12 presidents opted to remain a 12-team conference, despite speculation over the last few days that commissioner Larry Scott could gather the necessary votes to expand. Here's the statement from Scott:
After careful review we have determined that it is in the best interests of our member institutions, student-athletes and fans to remain a 12-team conference. While we have great respect for all of the institutions that have contacted us, and certain expansion proposals were financially attractive, we have a strong conference structure and culture of equality that we are committed to preserve. With new landmark TV agreements and plans to launch our innovative television networks, we are going to focus solely on these great assets, our strong heritage and the bright future in front of us.
The statement puts on hold Oklahoma's plans to move west and lessens the school's leverage after a day during which a source close to the program told the Oklahoman that the Sooners had several demands of the Big 12 in order to stay in the league, primarily getting rid of conference commissioner Dan Beebe.
Earlier Tuesday, there was some thought that the sudden demands from Oklahoma were a sign that the Pac-12 wasn't ready to expand, an idea corroborated by the announcement from Scott. For Texas, the Pac-12 announcement decreases the likelihood of the school having make concessions with the Longhorn Network.
However, the Big 12 is hardly in a great position this evening with reports that Missouri and the SEC have reached an informal agreement to head east with the Aggies -- when schools like Baylor waive their right to sue, at least. It's also worth noting that the SEC denied the report, which means exactly nothing. With few viable options, keeping the Big 12 together still seems like a longshot with Texas A&M intent to leave and Missouri willing to follow, if not necessarily able.
Whatever happens, it's obvious that this conference realignment saga will have many more twists and turns before everything is said and done. Right now, it's enough to make the head spin.