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Pac-12, Big 12 reportedly discussing possible partnership

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The winds of change are blowing in college football, and two major conferences are trying to avoid getting left behind.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

George Kliavkoff has only been on the job as Pac-12 Commissioner for just over 30 days. But it has certainly been an eventful month for the former MGM executive.

Shortly after Kliavkoff took over for Larry Scott, the college football world experienced a titanic shift. Oklahoma and Texas officially announced last week that they were bolting the Big 12 and heading for the SEC, leaving everyone else in college football to figure out what to do next.

The Big 12 in particular is scrambling to find a way to stay relevant after losing their top two bread winners to the SEC. One potential fix has the conference thinking outside of the box to stay alive.

According to multiple reports, including one from ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura, Kliavkoff met with Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of a partnership between the two conferences. What that partnership looks like is still up in the air, but it could mean anything from a scheduling alliance to even a merger between the two power five conferences.

A scheduling alliance could make some sense for both sides. A merger, on the other hand, is likely seen as a long shot from the Pac-12 point of view. The conference has historically focused on adding major research institutions, while shying away from smaller, religious schools. Some of the programs, including Kansas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State fit that model, that just leaves a question of how much value those universities bring the the conference.

Last week, during the Pac-12 football media day in Los Angeles, Kliavkoff talked about how he plans to approach this brave new world of college sports.

“I’ve got lots and lots of calls from probably every school you would imagine and probably a few you’d be surprised by,” Kliavkoff told the media. “We’re listening to all inbound inquiries, because it seems like the smart thing to do.”

And why the Pac-12 is listening... That doesn’t mean they’re ready to open the floodgates.

“We’re not determined that we need to expand in order to thrive; we can thrive at 12,” Kliavkoff added. “We don’t understand the paradigm that if someone else has 16, you need to have 16. It just doesn’t make sense.”

It’s been a wild offseason for college sports, and things aren’t about the calm down just because the fall sports season is around the corner.

Kliavkoff’s tenure is only a month old, but he already has his chance to leave his legacy on the conference. What he, and the 12 conference CEO’s, decide to do over the coming months could save the Pac-12. Of course, the opposite might happen too... But I’d prefer not to think about what that looks like for Washington State.

Sources - Big 12, Pac-12 commissioners meet to discuss potential strategic partnership
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is meeting with Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff on Tuesday to discuss options for a potential strategic partnership between the conferences.

AP sources: Pac-12, Big 12 commissioners consider alliances
The commissioners of the Pac-12 and Big 12 met Tuesday to discuss how the conferences might benefit from working together or maybe even merging. Two people with knowledge of the meeting said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and George Kliavkoff from the Pac-12 were discussing the potential for strategic planning between the two conferences.

Pac-12 survival guide: A plan to solidify the conference’s future as realignment roils the landscape | The Spokesman-Review
The Pac-12 doesn’t have to add Big 12 schools desperate for a home just because the SEC is adding Texas and Oklahoma.