The Pac-12 Board of Directors met Tuesday morning and authorized the league to immediately open negotiations for the conference’s next media rights agreement.

The current deal expires in the summer of 2024. Once it does, USC and UCLA will officially leave the conference and join the Big Ten. That news last week sent shockwaves through the sport and destabilized the ground underneath the Pac-12 and its remaining members. Several have been linked to other conferences in the days since.

Following the announcement of USC and UCLA’s departure, the Pac-12 released a statement saying it was “extremely surprised and disappointed” in the decision to leave the conference. On Friday, the Board of Directors approved the conference to explore any and all expansion options.

Ex-FOX Sports Network president Bob Thompson told longtime Pac-12 columnist John Canzano over the weekend that prior to the defections of USC and UCLA, he anticipated the Pac-12 signing a deal that would bring back somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million a year for the league to distribute amongst its peers.

Thompson estimated the annual number to be closer to $300 million without those two.

Informal discussions had already been taking place between commissioner George Kliavkoff and prospective partners. Moving to the formal stage of negotiations allows for firm offers to be made. The Mercury News’ Jon Wilner explained what might be in the works here: