ESPN is still expected to be a factor in Pac-12 media rights negotiations, according to multiple reports.

The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach and Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger have both reported that in recent hours. It’s contrary to a report from CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, who said Wednesday that the World Wide Leader was stepping away from the negotiations to be a “primary” rights holder.

Both Auerbach and Dellenger said ESPN remains in the mix to land the Pac-12’s tier 1 rights. Dellenger added that ESPN and Pac-12 executives held discussions on Wednesday:

Dodd cited a conversation with a Big 12 administrator as his source. His report did leave the door open for ESPN to be a “secondary” partner in the Pac-12’s future media rights agreement.

What this means for the Pac-12

The Pac-12 has been linked to numerous alternative networks throughout its media negotiations, including streamers like Apple and Amazon. The fact that ESPN remains a possibility moving forward is a positive sign for the league.

The Pac-12 is expected to finalize an agreement in the coming months. Its current media deal with Fox and ESPN is set to expire on July 1, 2024.