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College football realignment: Big 12, Pac-12 make decision on merger, per report

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The next phase in college football realignment will not be happening as the Big 12 and Pac-12 have officially cut off talks about a possible partnership, ESPN reports.

It was officials from the Big 12 who decided to walk away from the table, officially ending speculation of a possible merger into a third would-be super-conference.

Talks of a potential partnership started last year when the Big 12 reportedly approached the Pac-12 about such a move following news that Texas and Oklahoma would be leaving for the SEC.

They started up again after the Pac-12 learned it would lose flagship programs USC and UCLA to the Big Ten in 2024, and the conference suddenly found itself looking for a creative solution on the fly.

The conferences were discussing a variety of possible partnerships, including 1) a full merger, 2) a scheduling arrangement, or, 3) sharing media rights revenue.

Big 12 officials believed the merger option would have been best for both leagues, but determined what's left of the Pac-12 wouldn't make enough money to justify the deal, according to reports.

There was also concern from the Pac-12's side about the two conferences' existing media rights contracts expiring at different times.

"It just didn't work," someone near the situation said

All that said, the next phase of college football realignment could still involve the Big 12 and Pac-12, albeit on far more competitive grounds.

The Big 12 is still considering luring some schools out of the Pac-12 on its own in the near future, confirming recent reports to that effect.

Big 12 officials were reportedly in "deep discussions" with six West Coast schools - Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, and Washington - about possibly leaving the Pac-12 for the Big 12.

Since losing USC and UCLA, remaining Pac-12 members insist they're all in business together as the league sorts out its next media contract.

But there's no doubt that some schools in the Pac-12 could easily move on from the conference - if the price is right.

(h/t ESPN)

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