Whether the 2011 college football fan knows this, the new “Super Conference” or the Pac-16, isn’t coming soon.
On Sept. 20th, Pac-12 officials and executives made the ultimate decision to sit out of conference realignment for this season. As it turned out, there was never even a vote. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott was quoted as saying, “After careful review we have determined that this is in the best interests of our member institutions, student athletes and fans to remain a 12-team conference.”
The “Pac-16” structure represented plans that were financially ideal and lucrative for teams already involved in the conference, however it is increasingly apparent that the decision to remain a 12-team conference is the smartest for the sake of football.
From a cultural and historical perspective, disbanding the Pac-12 and turning it into a separate entity entirely should—and did—come down to more than a salivating new television contract agreement with schools like the University of Texas at Austin. There is significantly more depth to the Pac-12 than financial profit, and for now, it seems as if it will stay that way.
In his official statement, Scott goes on to list many reasons for his lack of desire to expand. Included among them are “strong conference structure, a culture of equality, a new landmark TV contract and plans to launch our own innovative television network" and a focus on “our strong heritage and bright future in front of us."
While his words are certainly strong in comparison to that of the SEC, it could be difficult to understand without fully realizing the history and impact that the conference has on modern college football.