Conference Realignment: Pac-12 Will Not Expand, Big 12 May Stick Together, UConn Continues To Actively Pursue ACC Membership

In yet another strange twist in the conference realignment saga, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a conference call Tuesday night that the Pac-12 presidents have decided to remain a 12-team conference and will not entertain the notion of becoming a 16-team superconference ... for now.

Here's the statement from Scott:

"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. With new landmark TV agreements and plans to launch our innovative television networks, we are going to focus solely on these great assets, our strong heritage and the bright future in front of us."

This statement puts Oklahoma's move west on hold, and decreases the Sooners' leverage in the ongoing Big 12 family feud. This is not to say that the Big 12 is out of the woods, however, especially with reports that Missouri has reached an informal agreement with the SEC that would allow the Tigers to become the conference's 14th member.

A move by Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC would leave the Big 12 with just eight members -- Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State. With it looking more and more likely that the Big 12 may stay together, the Big East officials that met in NYC on Tuesday night killed any idea of a Big East-Big 12 merger.

Meanwhile, back east, Big East commissioner John Marinatto is happy to report that all members of the conference are committed to the Big East ... with the exception of one.

"UConn president Susan Herbst was not attending the meeting, sources told ESPN's Joe Schad, as the school focuses on lobbying for entry to the ACC. Herbst was expected to send a school official to the meeting as the representative.

A source with direct knowledge of the meeting told ESPN.com's Andy Katz that UConn didn't commit to remain in the league and is still actively pursuing membership in the ACC.

But the source said that with the Big 12 likely staying together at least nine schools other than the Huskies may have to wait for the ACC to decide if it will act on adding two more schools from its recent jump to 14, with the addition of Big East members Pitt and Syracuse."

[snip]

"The ACC is the preferred place for (Connecticut)," the source said. "That hasn't changed."

The ACC is the preferred place for UConn, but is UConn the preferred school #15 for the ACC?

In my opinion, this is an extremely bold move by UConn. As the report indicates, with the Pac-12 off the table for Texas, the ACC could still hold two spots open for Texas and another Big 12 school (say, Kansas) if the two Big 12 heavyweights --Texas and Oklahoma -- can't resolve the school's differences, the Big 12 crumbles and Texas looks east. Notre Dame also looms large and it is unclear whether the Irish are willing to stick its basketball and non-revenue sports in a Big East that doesn't include Syracuse or Pittsburgh. 

The crazy be getting crazier.

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