Oregon, Washington to Big Ten become ‘coin toss’ as Pac-12 makes last ditch effort to save league

The odds of Oregon and Washington joining the Big Ten have now been called a “coin toss,” sources told CBS Sports Friday morning. After a night filled with uncertainty, at least one of those two programs is teetering on a move out of the Pac-12 — apparently for financial reasons.

CBS Sports learned Thursday night that Washington was concerned about additional travel costs the athletic program would face when traveling to Big Ten sites. Those increased financial obligations could add up to more than $10 million a year for the university, sources said.

Given that Oregon and Washington are not believed to receive full revenue shares from the Big Ten to switch conferences — the AP reported late Thursday that the programs were offered $30 million to $35 million annually — such a steep addition to their expenses would reduce significantly one of the benefits of moving leagues.

For example, if the Big Ten pledged $30 million a year to Oregon and Washington — only half of what other Big Ten teams receive from their new media rights deal — the Ducks and Huskies would deduct $10 million each for additional travel. net revenue of $20 million. That’s essentially the same number presented earlier this week when Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff unveiled the streaming-centric Apple deal.

Pac-12 presidents met Friday morning. A rights-grant contract was presented to the universities in hopes of securing a new media deal that could keep the conference together in some form, though nothing was signed according to multiple reports.

Friday’s Pac-12 session came on the heels of an Arizona Board of Regents meeting held Thursday, before which Arizona was in deep discussions about following Colorado to the Big 12, sources told CBS Sports.

Apple’s media rights package presented to Pac-12 members this week reportedly includes tiers of incentives with a significant benefit to teams if certain levels of subscription numbers are met.

Pac-12 financial projections coming out of the meeting are believed to start around $20 million per school annually. By contrast, the Big 12 schools are set to receive nearly $32 million annually through their new media rights deal with ESPN and Fox.

The Big 12 has also been chasing Arizona State and Utah out of the Big 12; But if Oregon and Washington are content to stay in the league, it could give the conference a path forward to retain not only ASU and Utah, but perhaps Arizona as well.

There is considerable sentiment within the Arizona and Arizona State athletic departments that a conference break between the programs is both undesirable and unlikely, sources told CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander Thursday night. The Wildcats leaving the Sun Devils in the Pac-12 “would be extremely surprising,” a senior source said.

Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark has long preferred to expand to 14 teams but was willing to move to 16 teams since the league had secured pro rata (equal value) shares as long as it adds Power Five programs to the conference.

If the Big 12 is unable to acquire Arizona (its primary target), Arizona State and/or Utah, the conference may turn focus to UConn as a top Group of Five option because of its stellar basketball program, sources previously told CBS Sports.

The Big Ten is already poised to add USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 ahead of the 2024-25 track and field season.

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