Pac-12 Announces It Will Not Pursue Expansion 'At This Time'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 26, 2021

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 14:  A high angle view of the Pac-12 logo on the field at Stanford Stadium during a game between the Stanford Cardinal and the Colorado Buffaloes played on November 14, 2020 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
David Madison/Getty Images

The Pac-12 will not look to expand beyond its 12 teams in the immediate future.

On Thursday, the conference released a statement saying that it will not add teams:

"Following consultation with our Presidents, Chancellors and Athletic Directors, the Pac-12 Conference has made the decision to not pursue expansion of our membership at this time. This decision was made following extensive internal discussion and analysis, and is based on the current competitive strength and cohesiveness of our 12 universities. It is also grounded in our confidence in our ability as a conference to best support our student-athletes and to grow and thrive both academically and athletically."

It's no surprise the conference isn't looking to make changes after it just entered a so-called alliance with the Big Ten and ACC.

The three conferences announced the alliance Tuesday to "bring 41 world-class institutions together on a collaborative approach surrounding the future evolution of college athletics and scheduling."

Part of the alliance features a "scheduling component for football and women's and men's basketball designed to create new inter-conference games," though there was no specific timeline mentioned beyond that it "will begin as soon as practical while honoring current contractual obligations."

Many viewed the alliance as a reaction to the SEC adding two historical football powerhouses in Oklahoma and Texas in 2025.

Perhaps the alliance will allow the conferences to collaborate on navigating the new name, image and likeness rules or solidifying votes on topics such as future College Football Playoff expansion, but adding teams to the Pac-12 would have thrown additional variables into the situation.

It seems as if the conference will not do that in the short term, though the use of "at this time" in Thursday's statement left open the possibility it may do so down the line.

The Pac-12 last expanded when it added Colorado and Utah from the Big 12 and Mountain West. The two teams started playing football in the Pac-12 during the 2011 season.