State of Pac-12 hangs in balance waiting for likely subpar new TV deal

state of pac-12 hangs in balance waiting for likely subpar new tv deal

Pac-12 conference logo

With USC and UCLA en route to the Big Ten and conferences like the Big 12 and SEC aggressively expanding, the Pac-12 finds itself in tumultuous waters. In the ever-present world of super conferences, the Pac-12 could find itself on the outside looking in.

The most logical thing for the conference to do would be to poach high-level Mountain West schools such as Fresno State, San Diego State, Nevada, UNLV or Boise State, in an effort to grow as a conference rather than shrink. Instead, the Pac-12 is currently playing a dangerous waiting game – waiting for a new television deal to lead the conference into 2024 and beyond.

The deal has not yet been presented by commissioner George Kliavkoff, and while Arizona president Bobby Robbins told ESPN that he expects details on the new TV deal soon, he did perhaps unwittingly admit that the Pac-12 staying together (let alone expanding) hinges on this new deal.

“My prediction is that we’re all going to stay together as a Pac-12. There’s 10 of us right now. I’m hopeful that the deal is going to be good enough to keep us together,” Robbins recently said.

The conference is clearly walking a tightrope and just a few dominoes could tip the whole thing over. For instance, it has recently been reported that the Big 12 is looking into bringing on Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes.

In the same breath as discussing the television deal and projecting some level of confidence in the current Pac-12, Robbins did admit he “continues to talk to everyone” regarding the possibility of Arizona entering the waters of realignment.

The Big 12 seems to be angling for a basketball super-conference. Bringing Arizona basketball — and potentially Gonzaga and UConn — into the fray would represent a huge move.

Either way, it’s telling that Robbins doesn’t seem all that optimistic that a new Pac-12 deal will blow the competition out of the water.

“We’re not going to get a Big Ten deal or an SEC deal,” Robbins said. “If we win a bronze medal, I think we’ll all declare victory and move on.

“Right now, I think all 10 of us are solely focused on the deal. Once we have that, we have degrees of freedom to make informed decisions.”

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