With the Pac-12 Conference and Arizona Athletics still musing their realignment options, it is clear that the worst option is doing nothing.
It has been nearly two weeks since USC and UCLA shocked the collegiate athletics world, announcing that they will be leaving the Pac-12 for the Big 10 starting in 2023. And so far, that has left the remaining Pac-12 schools and Arizona Athletics somewhat scrambling.
Naturally, in the days following the news of the conference realignment, there have been several rumors surrounding the Pac-12 and Arizona Athletics.
With the Pac-12 Media deal soon expiring, and the conference losing its two flagship programs, there will be a significant financial hit, and the conference must do something.
Some of the Rumors thus far have been:
Option #1: Arizona, ASU, Colorado, and Utah leave the Pac-12 to join the Big 12 following Texas and Oklahoma’s departure. Washington and Oregon possibly tag along as well.
Option #2: The Pac-12 adds a few more member institutions, most likely San Diego State and possibly UNLV or SMU to expand its market exposure and capabilities.
Option #3: The Pac-12 and ACC finally form their partnership, negotiate a TV deal, and the member schools have several crossover games in football and basketball with the title game likely being a matchup between the ACC Champion and Pac-12 Champion.
Option #4: The Pac-12 remains firm in not adding more schools, and the conference gets a new valuation of itself once the current media deal expires.
All interesting options, some much better than others, but either way it is clear the worst option for the Pac-12 and Arizona Athletics is apathy.
The world of college athletics is quickly changing, and the schools and conferences that are either unwilling or unable to adapt and change will be left behind. For the Pac-12, that is certainly no different.
Out of the Power Five conferences (SEC, B1G, ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12), the Pac-12 is by far the weakest. They have the lowest revenue payouts, they have the worst Network and Media exposure, and now its two schools in the largest market are leaving.
At this point, what could the Pac-12 possibly offer to make itself an attractive option? Personally, the choice is clear, Arizona needs to look out for itself and leave for the Big 12, but either it is clear that apathy is the worst option and could leave the Cats and several others on the outside looking in.