Pac-12 Conference commissioner Larry Scott announced Monday night that the Pac-12 will not seek expansion, according to an official press release. Following discussions and considerations from conference presidents and chancellors, Scott said the following:
" ... after careful review we have determined that it is in the best interests of our member institutions, student-athletes and fans to remain a 12-team conference."
"While we have great respect for all of the institutions that have contacted us and certain expansion proposals were financially attractive, we have a strong conference structure and culture of equality that we are committed to preserve."
Earlier today, I was cursing college sports for being money-grubbing and hypocritical. As much as I can blame the NCAA for creating a culture of cheating -- recruiting or otherwise -- and chasing the money, I can go to sleep tonight knowing that, at least, money isn't always going to make decisions for the Pac-12.
In the whirlwind of a day, the SEC was rumored to have extended an offer to the Missouri Tigers. Earlier in the week, PIttsburgh and Syracuse left the Big East for the greener pastures of the ACC. So it looked inevitable that the Pac-12 would follow in expansion.
And my questions about Larry Scott have been answered.My biggest fear was losing the culture of the Pac-12, and it felt downright ridiculous for Scott to rebrand the league for the third times in three years. Remember the first logo change, where the waves crashed against the mountains? And then, of course, the rename to the Pac-12 after the addition of the Utah Utes and Colorado Buffaloes?
What would be the identity, then, of a Pac-16 with an absurd and overly-diverse set of schools. It's not just disconnected by location, it would be disconnected by culture. That Oklahoma and Texas football-loving blood, while great, would just seem odd in a conference named after, um, the ocean.
That doesn't just feel weird because we're not used to it. That feels weird because there IS a culture of the western-most states, and there IS a strong unity that an Arizona fan would feel with an Oregon fan, or a Cal fan would feel with a UCLA fan. In other words, rivalries aside, we feel that innovation that ran in the first big changes of Scott's marketing campaigns.
If anything, this shows that the commish is committed to retaining that culture he spoke of in the press release. He's committed to building upon what he has instead of greedy takeover that spreads into the east.
He wants to make due -- make better -- what he's got. And I can appreciate that.