Pac-12 insider shoots down report of conference expansion
Early Monday morning, longtime sports radio host Dan Patrick reported on his show that San Diego State is expected to join the Pac-12. Patrick, citing a single source, said he expects an announcement this week.
Shortly after that report came out, Pac-12 insider Jon Wilner — the man who initially broke the USC/UCLA/Big Ten news — shot down Patrick’s report. Wilner tweeted that it was his belief the Pac-12 won’t be making any definitive moves until a University of California Board of Regents meeting on Nov. 17 that will address UCLA’s Pac-12 exit.
I would be somewhat surprised if the #Pac12 made any definitive moves before the Nov. 17 UC Regents meeting
— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) November 7, 2022
Wilner added that San Diego State, which has long been rumored as a candidate for Pac-12 expansion, could still be added to the league at some point down the line, but just not now.
That would seem to mesh with what Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff has said publicly at recent appearances for various Pac-12 Media Days.
Kliavkoff has said the Pac-12’s current focus is on securing its next media rights deal. After that, it will turn its attention to potential expansion options. “As you would expect, we’ve had significant inbound interest and are in the process of evaluating opportunities,” he said this past July.”
To that end, The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach also reported Monday that the Patrick report was “inaccurate” and that the Pac-12 remains focused on its media deal first.
Re: the report about the Pac-12 announcing the addition of SDSU as soon as this week, a source close to the situation tells @TheAthletic that the report is inaccurate.
It's been my understanding that the Pac-12 will do its media deal first before any conference expansion.
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) November 7, 2022
According to Wilner, the UC Regents are expected to decide whether to block UCLA’s planned move to the Big Ten at a meeting next week. Wilner wrote that an attempt to prevent UCLA from leaving the Pac-12 is “considered unlikely” but that the regents have the authority to block the move if they so choose.
It has been suggested that Kliavkoff has asked for media rights revenue models that both include and exclude the Westwood school during negotiations with future network partners, and Kliavkoff has said himself he expects UCLA to end up losing money by going to the Big Ten.
“We’re going to do a media rights deal here in the near future which will close the gap between us and the Big Ten and the SEC,” he said at the league’s basketball media day two weeks ago. “That’s a first step (in strengthening the league). Eventually, we’ll catch those guys. It will take a couple of steps, but we’re going to take a step toward closing that gap. Then we’re going to be looking at expansion. We’re going to be looking at schools that make sense for us.”