One day after standing in front of the Texas state legislature, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is once again back on the trail in the attempt to stabilize the Big 12 in the wake of Oklahoma and Texas exiting for the SEC.
According to a report from The Athletic‘s Max Olson, Bowlsby is meeting with Pac 12 commissioner George Kliavkoff Tuesday afternoon, “to discuss the possibility of a scheduling alliance, merger or other options for their conferences to strategically work together.”
Sources: Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is meeting with Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff today to discuss the possibility of a scheduling alliance, merger or other options for their conferences to strategically work together.⁰ https://t.co/i3MFeMj9Ua
— Max Olson (@max_olson) August 3, 2021
There had been whispers of the Big 12 reaching out to the Pac 12 when the Oklahoma and Texas news first broke a few weeks ago, and it appears that where there’s smoke there’s once again fire. A merger, or even conference alliance between the pair, would likely see the Mountaineers travel much more than even Big 12 scheduling demands.
And in Olson’s reporting, he touched on the idea that WVU officials could reject the notion of combining with the Big 12:
“A partnership with the Pac-12 would create obvious travel challenges for West Virginia as the lone East Coast member of the Big 12, but one source said the school’s leaders have not objected to Bowlsby exploring these possibilities if they can help maintain Power 5 status and provide financial security.”
A merger or strategic alliance between the two conferences would be a way for both the Big 12 and Pac 12 to retain some stability while trying to fend off potential Big 10, ACC or SEC poachers. The idea of WVU in the Pac 12, or at least playing Pac 12 teams, will not inspire confidence among WVU faithful.
Of course, Tuesday’s meeting is only a meeting, and Bowlsby said Monday that there will likely not be any sort of move in the near future. More information will come from Tuesday’s meeting.