• Loading stock data...
Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The Mountain West Is Exploring How To Become the New Pac-12

  • The most commonly discussed idea at the Mountain West is a reverse merger with Oregon State and Washington State, a source told FOS.
  • One of the first steps: determining how to obtain the Pac-12’s intellectual property — a concept which is difficult, but not impossible.
Colorado State’s defense blows up Washington State running back Nakia Watson during the first quarter of the Rams’ first game of the season Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023. The Rams were defeated 50-24.
Joel Blocker / For the Coloradoan

Officials at Oregon State and Washington State have expressed their desire to rebuild the existing Pac-12. But a version of the conference could still exist in the future even if that effort fails.

Within the Mountain West, the most commonly discussed idea is a reverse merger with Oregon State and Washington State, one source told Front Office Sports. Many in the Mountain West are in favor of renaming the conference the “Pac-12.”

Before Stanford and Cal announced their move to the ACC, Mountain West Commissioner Gloria Nevarez told FOS that she was “open to the conversation” of a reverse merger, but said the conference would have to engage in “due diligence.” 

The Mountain West’s legal team will likely consider multiple hurdles.

One of the likely first steps: determining how to obtain the Pac-12’s intellectual property — a concept which is difficult, but not impossible.

When Big East basketball schools broke away from the original “Big East”  in 2013, they were able to retain the rights to the name and create a new conference under that banner.

While the Big East found a new commissioner, the Mountain West could stick with Nevarez — who has previously worked at the Pac-12. Current commissioner George Kliavkoff reportedly isn’t involved in conversations about the next steps for Oregon State and Washington State. One Washington State source reportedly even said they wished Nevarez was their commissioner instead.

With any type of expansion, the Mountain West would have to reimagine its current media deal with Fox and CBS Sports Network, which pay out about $4 million per school per year. In addition to these considerations, however, the Mountain West could explore gaining control of the Pac-12 Networks.

Nevarez previously said a “pro rata” media deal, where networks make additional payments so no one’s shares are diluted with more members, is the starting point for negotiations. But it’s difficult to imagine the conference could negotiate a deal anywhere near the minimum $30 million other Power 4 schools make. Renaming itself the Pac-12 wouldn’t even move the needle, one industry source previously told FOS.

Oregon State and Washington State have potential legal implications as well: They’re currently in line to receive millions of NCAA distributions, as well as a Pac-12 emergency fund, as the conference’s only remaining members in 2024. They won’t want to lose any of that revenue, or have to share it with other schools if a merger succeeds.

A Mountain West-turned-Pac-12 may or may not maintain Power 5 status, however. Committees in the NCAA and College Football Playoff could strip its voting rights and revenue distribution privileges.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Sports Betting Money Won’t Bail Out Cash-Hungry College Athletic Departments

Schools are desperate for money, but they won’t be partnering with gambling operators.

SMU Raises Whopping $159 Million for Sports Ahead of ACC Move

SMU boosters cover the gap between the Mustangs and current ACC schools.

College Bowl Games Using NIL Contracts ‘Right Around the Corner’

The top executive of Bowl Season envisions a complicated future.
Jan 13, 2021; Washington, DC, USA; The U.S. Capitol Building is seen on Jan. 13, 2021, one week after it was stormed by a pro-Trump mob while a joint session of Congress was certifying the 2020 election victory of President Elect Joe Biden.

House Committee Sends Bill Banning College Athlete Employment to House Floor

The bill has gone further than any other athlete compensation legislation.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

How the American Soccer Fan is Unlike Any Other Sports Fans


Featured Today

Jan 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; General view of the NFL shield logo signage before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

Odds Stacked Against NFL in Multibillion-Dollar Sunday Ticket Trial

Why the class action trial does not look promising for the league.
Jan 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter (11) takes a three-point shot against the Golden State Warriors during the second half at Chase Center.
June 9, 2024

‘Bound to Happen’: The Age of the Sports Betting Scandal Has Arrived

A banishment, betting scheme, and guilty plea all in one scandal-filled span.
June 8, 2024

‘Experimental in Nature’: The Rapid, Confounding Rise of Streaming Bundles

Here’s why confusion continues to outweigh solutions in the streaming package boom.
June 2, 2024

The Nostalgia Market: Michael Jordan’s Memorabilia Remains Coveted, With Caveats

Due to scarcity, and sometimes, items’ undisclosed whereabouts, this world has limitations.

The House v. NCAA Settlement Has Its First Formal Objection

The school argues the terms of the settlement adversely impact it financially.
General view of the stadium during the game between the LSU Tigers and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Charles Schwab Field Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
June 14, 2024

College World Series: Record Crowds and TV Viewership Anticipated

The eight-team bracket has four schools each from the ACC and SEC.
June 21, 2024

NCAA Backs Dartmouth Against Unionizing Men’s Basketball Players

The NCAA’s quest to save its business model continues.

How HOKA is Reimagining the NIL Relationship

HOKA, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, is betting on a new reality with NIL.
June 13, 2024

The ‘Big’ in Big 12 Could Soon Be Replaced With a Sponsor’s Name

Allstate is said to be in discussions about a deal with the Big 12.
Jan 30, 2023; Washington, DC, USA; The United States Capitol in Washington, DC on Monday, January 30, 2023.
June 13, 2024

House Committee Considers Legislation Saying College Athletes Aren’t Employees

The NCAA has waged a major lobbying campaign.
Apr 13, 2024; Hartford, CT, USA; UConn Huskies head coach Dan Hurley greets fans as he arrives at the state capitol before the teams victory parade.
June 12, 2024

The Many Beneficiaries of Dan Hurley’s UConn Career Crisis

His return inadvertently helped the players, athletic department, and perhaps the conference.
June 10, 2024

NC State’s 1983 Title Team Sues NCAA Over Name, Image, and Likeness

The ’83 team is one of March Madness’s most memorable Cinderellas.