Washington Latest Pac-12 School to Meet With Big Ten About Joining Conference
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Carson Bruener.
Washington is the latest Pac-12 school that has conducted preliminary discussions with the Big Ten about joining the conference, sources told Action Network.
Last week, Action Network reported Oregon had the same discussions with the Big Ten in Chicago.
These meetings did not involve university presidents or Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, sources said. The meetings were conducted with lawyers and consultants representing the schools and the Big Ten to determine the school’s compatibility with the league, sources said.
It is among the first steps a potential new member must take to join the Big Ten, a source said.
Last month, Action Network reported after the Big Ten added USC and UCLA, the league “is not done expanding” and would expand beyond 16 schools. Action Network also reported the Big Ten was targeting Notre Dame, along with Oregon, Washington, Stanford and Cal from the Pac-12.
Two weeks ago, the Big Ten signed a seven-year media rights deal worth more than $7 billion, sources said. The contract includes an escalator clause, which means the deal could approach nearly $10 billion if the Big Ten’s membership increases, network sources said.
For now, it appears Notre Dame prefers to remain an independent. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick has continually said how much the Irish value their independence. Regardless of Notre Dame’s decision, the Big Ten still desires more Pac-12 schools, in part, to reduce potential travel concerns for USC and UCLA, sources said.
If those Pac-12 schools leave for the Big Ten, the Big 12 has targeted Arizona, Utah, Arizona State and Colorado as potential members, sources said.
On Wednesday, the Big 12 announced it would enter early discussions with its multimedia partners (FOX and ESPN) to explore an accelerated extension of its current media rights.
This would allow the Big 12 to provide potential new members from the Pac-12 specific media rights value information if they joined the Big 12. A Pac-12 school could compare the revenue numbers of joining the Big 12 or remaining in the Pac-12 without USC and UCLA and any other teams that left for the Big Ten, sources said.
The Pac-12 is currently pursuing its new media rights deal, which starts in 2024. The Big 12’s next deal would begin in 2025.