After days of hand-wringing and months of speculation, Larry Scott has confirmed that the Pac-10 will expand, possibly adding up 6 teams. At the conclusion of the Pac-10 meetings, Scott addressed the rumors by stating that the schools have given him the authority to move forward with expansion. Scott has made no secret that he hoped to be able to move forward with expanding the Pac-10, putting it in a better position for the upcoming television deal.
What has not been discussed is who the teams the Pac-10 is looking at are. Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Colorado were the rumored names floated earlier in the week. The weekend brought news that the Texas legislature didn't want the schools to leave without Baylor, making it a possibility that Colorado and Baylor are swapped. Whatever happens, the Pac-10 is now in the driver's seat.
In all of this, the Big 12 comes out on the short end. On one side, the Big Ten is looking at poaching Nebraska and Missouri. On the other, the Pac-10 is looking at completely dismantling the league, taking their biggest breadwinners in the process. After a tumultuous meeting of the membership, it is clear that the Big 12 is in turmoil and teetering on extinction.
If it is the Big 12 schools that Scott is looking to seize, the roadblock appears to be Nebraska and Missouri. The Big 12 conference meetings ended with a deadline set for the two schools to notify the conference of their intentions. If they stay, the Big 12 may well survive this. If they go, you can almost bet that Larry Scott will immediately move on the Texas and Oklahoma schools. The deadline was set for Friday, meaning this week is shaping up to be huge for the future of major conferences in the NCAA.
Remember that there is no timetable for expansion, although it should be finalized within two months, and an offer doesn't necessarily mean this will happen. There is not just billowing smoke now, there is a full-blown wildfire. It appears that the presidents have given Scott a blank canvas and will be allowing him to freely decide how to expand. Stay tuned because things just got very interesting for the Pac-10.
H/T to ESPN for breaking the story.