Videos by OutKick
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is scheduled to meet with new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff on Tuesday, The Athletic reports.
The meeting between the two conference leaders is expected to be the first step in determining whether the two conferences would benefit from working together during the new phase of realignment in college sports.
Discussions on a pact between the two could go in several different directions, with one option being an alliance between Big 12 and Pac-12 members, the outlet reports. Bowlsby acknowledged this possibility on Monday during his appearance at a Texas Senate committee meeting. Another option is pursuing a merger with another conference.
“I think there are options for us to partner with other conferences,” Bowlsby said Monday. “There may be opportunity for mergers. There may be opportunities to add members. There may be other opportunities that are currently unforeseen.”
The Big 12 Conference sent a “cease and desist” letter to ESPN last week demanding that the network ends all actions that could harm the conference and its members.
Bowlsby says ESPN tried to interfere in an effort to destabilize the conference and help Texas and Oklahoma avoid exit fees. ESPN denied the Big 12 accusations in a follow-up response.
247Sports’ Chris Hummer reports that Bowlsby said on Monday regarding the Big 12’s letter to ESPN: “We have agreed not to escalate this publicly. It’s in neither party’s interest to do so.”
The Athletic reports another possible solution Bowlsby mentioned Monday would be for the Big 12 to work with another conference to aggregate their negotiating rights for the next TV deal.
“At this point, all options are on the table and nothing is a bad option,” one Big 12 source said to The Athletic. “We have to explore everything now. It’s not that we’re in panic mode, but let’s keep talking and keep finding out what’s out there.”
The outlet reports that another Big 12 source expects the Bowlsby-Kliavkoff meeting to be more of an “information download” for the new Pac-12 commissioner to gain a better sense of what the eight remaining members of the Big 12 can bring to the table.
“Time is our friend right now, so it’s not like something has to happen by Sept. 1,” the source said to The Athletic. “It’s a matter of starting to work through this and see what it looks like. We’ve got a runway.”
The Athletic reports that Kliavkoff was unavailable for comment and that Bowlsby and the Big 12 declined to comment when reached.