The Big 12 is interested in adding one more school, which would eventually bring the conference membership to 14 teams after Oklahoma and Texas leave for the SEC in 2024, multiple Big 12 sources told ESPN.
“Fourteen seems to be our best number,” a source told ESPN. “Now that we’re at 13, who’s going to be the first to make a move to start having a conversation with us was the general discussion today. We talked about a lot of different schools, but it’s more about, ‘Hey, we’ve got room for one more and who wants to be the first to really want to be a part of the Big 12 now and join us?'”
As uncertainty continues to loom over the Pac-12, which will dwindle to nine members, sources have indicated that Arizona has sparked interest within the Big 12. Arizona president Bobby Robbins, however, has previously said publicly that he wanted to see the Pac-12’s new media deal before making any monumental decisions.
“Once we have that,” he said on June 7, “we have degrees of freedom to make informed decisions.”
Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff said last week at the league’s media day in Las Vegas that he was confident the media deal would be done in the near future. Kliavkoff said getting the right deal has been more important to the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors than “getting the expeditious one.”
In June, following Big 12 spring meetings in West Virginia, a source told ESPN that UConn and Gonzaga were “certainly talked about” as potential members, but a 14-team league would be focused on a school that would also add value with its football program, as opposed to a basketball-only addition.
That doesn’t rule out UConn, which has made significant strides under coach Jim Mora, and would add to the league’s strong basketball narrative Yormark has touted.
The question is whether the Pac-12’s remaining members have the patience to continue to wait for the media deal, or whether others will “be the first to make a move.”