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.
The Pac-12 is standing pat.
The Big 12 is trying to hold it together.
And the Big East is looking to fortify itself.
Those were the headlines from a dizzying Tuesday on the conference realignment carousel.
“After careful review we have determined that it is in the best interests of our member institutions, student-athletes and fans to remain a 12-team conference,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement.
“While we have great respect for all of the institutions that have contacted us, and certain expansion proposals were financially attractive, we have a strong conference structure and culture of equality that we are committed to preserve. With new landmark TV agreements and plans to launch our innovative television networks, we are going to focus solely on these great assets, our strong heritage and the bright future in front of us.”
Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State had all been candidates to join what would become a 16-team super conference.
Against this backdrop, Oklahoma said it would remain in the beleaguered Big 12 with conditions.
The school reportedly wants conference commissioner Don Beebe to step down because they hold him responsible for the losses of Nebraska and Texas A&M. They also want restrictions placed on Texas’ Longhorn Network.
“It’s going to take major, major reforms” for OU, and thus Oklahoma State, to consider remaining in the Big 12, a high-ranking Big 12 source told The Oklahoman. “We’d have to have an interim commissioner.”
If the Big 12 works to iron out its issues, the possibility of a merger of the remaining Big 12 schools — Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State — with the Big East would become moot.
Still, Missouri reportedly has a deal to join the SEC as its 14th team, although it remains unclear when that would happen.
Texas A&M has stated its desire to leave the Big 12 for the SEC after this season, becoming the league’s 13th school.
Against the backdrop of this dizzying series of events, representatives from the seven remaining football schools in the Big East (including TCU) met Tuesday night in Manhattan and reaffirmed their desire to keep the conference together.
“Our schools basically went around the table and pledged to each other that they are committed to move forward together,” Big East Commissioner John Marinatto told reporters at the Grand Hyatt. “The fact that all of our schools in less than 24 hours notice came here to New York to meet with us showed that they are committed to move forward together and they want to hear what we have to say in order to keep us together.”
Still, ESPN’s Andy Katz reports that UConn is not completely on board and is still interested in joining the ACC.
Syracuse and Pittsburgh are already headed to the ACC, although Marinatto reaffirmed his plan to make the schools wait the required 27 months before exiting.
That would mean the football teams couldn’t play in the ACC until the 2014 season, and the basketball teams would have to wait until 2014-15.
“No we are not (letting them out early),” Marinatto said, according to The Ledger. “We’ve got bylaws and Syracuse and Pittsburgh were involved in the writing of those bylaws. Back in 2003 we made them tough for a reason. They were part of writing those bylaws and they understand that. They’ve not asked for relief and we’re not intending to provide relief.”
In the meantime, the Big East will focus on adding the service academies for football only — Navy and Air Force, per CBSSports.com — with East Carolina and Central Florida as backup options.
“We talked about a number of options and various scenarios,” Marinatto said. “I can’t get into the particulars of how many schools and which options we’re going to end up with because we don’t know, quite frankly, right now.”
**Paterno mentions Rutgers to the Big Ten
**SEC, ACC reject West Virginia
**Boeheim, Calhoun may never coach in ACC
**Jamie Dixon says Pitt tried to keep Big East together
**Report: Villanova applied to ACC
**ACC loading up on NCAA champions
**ACC approves Pitt, Syracuse; UConn, Rutgers next?
**Big East to lose Pittsburgh, Syracuse to ACC
**Report: Pitt, Syracuse talking to ACC
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.