Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Take a look at a map of the United States and you can plainly see that Oklahoma and Texas are not anywhere near the West Coast.
Yet the two powerhouse Big 12 schools could become part of a Pac 16 as the rising tide of conference realignment rolls on.
The Oklahoman reported Saturday that Oklahoma’s “sole focus” was on leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-12.
“Schools have reached out to us,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott told reporters in Arlington, Texas, according to the New York Times. “We are not doing anything proactively, we are not initiating anything. But schools have called us.”
Scott told reporters he had no specific comment on the story in The Oklahoman, but said he expected the league to grow.
“We don’t have any specific model or formula in mind,” he said. “All I’ve said is that I expect that you will see further consolidation given the fragmentation of college sports.”
Oklahoma State issued a statement essentially saying it would follow Oklahoma to the Pac 12 if it left.
“We are in close communications with our colleagues at the University of Oklahoma and expect a decision soon that will be in the best interest of our institutions and the state of Oklahoma,” OSU President Burns Hargis said.
T. Boone Pickens, an 83-year-old billionaire and Oklahoma State booster, told the Tulsa World: “We’re Oklahomans. We’re going to stick together, I think. I don’t have any reason to not think that. We go together wherever we go.”
Texas, and then Texas Tech by extension, could also choose to follow Oklahoma into the new league, although there is the sticky issue of the Longhorns’ new TV network.
Texas would have to agree to an equal revenue sharing model, the New York Times pointed out. The Pac-12 currently has six regional TV networks for each of its six area, and Texas and Oklahoma would have to fit into that framework.
“We have a structure and contracts with partners for a network model that includes a national network and a regional network under the Pac-12 umbrella,” Scott said, according tot he Times. “We we actually couldn’t do anything outside of that. We’re wedded to that model.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.