Having been rumored for some time, Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott acknowledged in a news conference Tuesday that the conference is seriously considering expanding to twelve teams.
Scott had called the press together to announce the hiring of former Big XII commissioner Kevin Weiberg as his chief aide, but the conversation quickly turned to what Scott believes would be an opportune time to expand the conference.
Television contract negotiations for the Pac-10 are forthcoming as the conference’s current contract only runs through the 2012 season, and the addition of two teams would help the conference gain an upper hand in negotiations with television networks.
Utah and Brigham Young have emerged as possible candidates, and their possible addition would help the Pac-10 secure viewing audiences across a larger portion of the country.
The addition of two new teams would also allow the conference to hold a title game.
Under current BCS rules, only conferences with 12 teams are allowed to hold conference championship games, a rule which some have criticized for giving conferences like the SEC and Big 12 an upper hand in national title bids with an extra game against a good opponent on their schedule.
Pac-10 school presidents and other officials seem to be behind Scott’s attempt at expansion.
“We have a group of presidents and chancellors who are very engaged,” Scott said. “All of them are very involved concerning an issue as important as possibly expanding the membership.”
The Pac-10 has been a 10-team league since 1978, when they added Arizona and Arizona State of the Western Athletic Conference to the conference.