As a possible Big Ten Conference expansion sends shockwaves throughout college sports, the Pacific 10 and Big 12 conferences are continuing talks that could lead to a collaboration of media rights and expanded scheduling partnerships.
Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott confirmed Friday that he met with Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe and Pac-10 athletic directors during this week's Pac-10 meetings in Phoenix, continuing discussions that began between him and Beebe last September.
The Dallas Morning News reported the latest discussions Friday.
The Pac-10 and Big 12 both have television contracts that are up for renegotiation at the start of 2011. Scott, former chief executive officer of the Women's Tennis Assn., has made broadcast and media negotiations a top priority since succeeding Tom Hansen last July.
"This will progress at a very brisk pace," Scott said in a telephone interview, adding that the discussion might ultimately result in no alliance.
The Pac-10 and the Big 12 already have a basketball series in place. Scott said he could envision it expanding to nonconference football as well.
UCLA plays at Kansas State and Texas in football next fall, and Scott said he could foresee an alliance in which, perhaps, USC would play the Longhorns "from time to time." Sports such as volleyball and baseball also would be involved.
"It would open up all kinds of possibilities on what we could do schedule-wise," Scott said.
Beebe told the Dallas Morning News that the conferences intended to keep separate identities.
"There's no desire to merge the two," he said.
"That is not the primary focus at this point in time," he said. "I think short term, it's off the table. But in the little time I've been in college sports … I hesitate to say anything is off the table in the long term."