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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

College basketball will benefit from the Pac-12 not expanding

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Larry Scott

Whether the Pac-12 presidents made a good decision instructing commissioner Larry Scott to reject interest from Texas and Oklahoma is something that will likely take years to determine, if not decades.

Whether that decision was beneficial for the sport of college basketball, however, isn't even up for debate.

By likely staving off the era of super conferences and and the collapse of the Big 12 for at least a few years, the Pac-12's decision will preserve some of the traditional rivalries that make college basketball special. It's too late to keep Syracuse and Pittsburgh in the Big East, but Missouri and Kansas can stay together in the Big 12, the remaining Big East football schools don't have to break apart from their hoops-only peers and the chaos and instability of the past few weeks in college athletics will subside.

Furthermore, from a basketball standpoint, adding Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State accomplished little for the Pac-12 besides making it more geographically unwieldy. Not only is Texas the only one of that quartet that has been a consistent top 25 program the past decade, most West Coast fans would be sad to see traditional twice-a-year matchups like Arizona-UCLA or Oregon-Washington get replaced by trips to Lubbock, Norman or Stillwater.

None of this, of course, is the reason the idea of the Pac-16 has been tabled for the time being. The Pac-12 apparently walked away from the negotiating table because the league wouldn't bow to Texas' demands for more revenue than its peers or its desire to keep the Longhorn Network and it didn't believe adding just Oklahoma and Oklahoma State made financial sense.

"After careful review we have determined that it is in the best interests of our member institutions, student-athletes and fans to remain a 12-team conference," commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. "While we have great respect for all of the institutions that have contacted us, and certain expansion proposals were financially attractive, we have a strong conference structure and culture of equality that we are committed to preserve."

The Pac-12's decision doesn't mean the era of super conferences won't arrive someday in college athletics, nor does it make the reeling Big 12 or Big East suddenly stable and invulnerable to future raids. But it does mean we've reached a resting point, which likely puts an end to the chaos of the past few weeks and preserves the status quo, more or less, for the foreseeable future.

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