There is no Pac 16 thanks to "Texas politics," and UT playing both sides by leaking the story before it was a done deal
. That's what Pac 10 Commissioner Larry Scott told reporters Wednesday at the conference's media day.
Scott made several points while talking to reporters on the floor of the Rose Bowl.
The Big 10 Started The Super Conference Talk
Scott said when Big 10 Commissioner Jim Delany started talking about expansion and how it might move to 16 teams, that motivated the Pac 10 and the Big 12 to talk.
"Candidly, we were working on 12-team models," Scott said. "It wasn't until the Big Ten and Jim [Delany] started talking about maybe more, 16, that all this chatter over the airwaves started what-if scenarios...Had the Big Ten not started talking about it, I don't know if we would have gotten so much traction."
The Big 10 making noises about expansion is also why the SEC began to look around as well. The SEC is quite content to stay at 12 teams with its multi-billion dollar media deals. However the idea of an energized and expanded Big 10 was enough of a threat to get the SEC to explore its options.
Texas Politics Killed The Merger
Scott again voiced the theory that once expansion talks became public, Texas faced political pressure to keep the Big 12 South teams intact. Scott believes that when Colorado was the first school to be publicly linked to the Pac 10, Baylor began to work its Legislative connections for inclusion.
"Texas and Texas A&M separating with Baylor created a tsunami effect," he said, "It got way too hot for the politicians."
Texas Leaked The Expansion Story Hoping To Put Pressure on Nebraska
Scott said the Pac 10 had been working behind the scenes for four months on expansion, and suddenly the story gets out right before the Big 12 Spring meetings on June 1st. That set off a firestorm that lasted for two weeks as Scott tried to keep the deal together. He believes that Texas was the source of the leaks and that they had an agenda.
"We weren't trying to publicize what we were doing," Scott said. "It's really Texas [that] leaked the plan as they were going into those Big 12 meetings in Kansas City, I think, hoping to keep Nebraska, hoping to keep the Big 12 together."
The Proposed Longhorn Network Was Not a Deal Breaker
It was widely reported that the conflict between the proposed Longhorn Network and a Pac 16 Network was a major stumbling block in the merger. Larry Scott doesn't believe that.
"At the end of the day I don't think it wouldn't have happened over a deal point, let's put it that way," he said. "There were bigger issues."
Scott acknowleged that Texas was the driving force behind the expansion talks, and that it didn't really matter if the Longhorns moved to the Pac 10 or were successful at saving the Big 12 -- either way they would be taken care of financially.
"They're Texas for a reason," Scott said. "They're good. Damn good."