The Pac-12 presidents really need to put a fork in media negotiations, the sooner the better. 

Announce a deal, decide on expansion or stay at 10 schools and let the world know.

The longer it draws out, the worse the league looks, and that can have repercussions down the line.

On Friday, Pac-12 drama took a different twist.

Two very popular national sports reporters got in a Twitter fight.

National and regional media are trying hard to keep up with the latest twists and turns. Brett McMurphy of the Action Network HQ tweeted out that Apple “still has not made formal offer for Pac-12 media rights but ION television has emerged as a potential Pac-12 partner.”

His update came after a week of uproarious criticism on the league from all corners of the country on social media.

In quick order, Stewart Mandel, editor-in-chief for college football for The Athletic, who regularly runs interference for the Pac-12, contradicted the claim by McMurphy in a tweet, saying a ION negotiation with the Pac-12 is in fact not going on.

Soap opera.

McMurphy’s tweet was posted at 10:34 a.m.

Mandel’s call-out followed at 11:45 a.m.

McMurphy’s tweet climbed to 2 million views by late afternoon; Mandel’s retort was up to 500k.

To further pile on the debate, Jason Scheer, who covers the University of Arizona for 24/7sports, chimed in, reminding the Twitterverse the last time Mandel contradicted McMurphy was when McMurphy reported the San Francisco Bowl had been canceled.  Mandel said it had not, according to his sources. It had.

Scheer kept receipts.

What then transpired is a case of the Pac-12 becoming a victim of social media mockery.

Folks wondered if the History Channel, C-Span or Lifetime would get involved.

Others wondered how the league’s game would be situated on ION alongside reruns of “Chicago PD,” “Chicago Fire,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “Hawaii 5-0,” “Blue Bloods” and the “NCIS” series franchise.

Would Quibi get involved next?

Mandel’s tweet was a use of his sources to try to preempt criticism on what he believed was an untrue negotiation.

It didn’t work. The flood of cheap shots ensued for hours.

Some of the meme work on Twitter was classic.

All teasing aside, the longer the Pac-12 media rights negotiation drags along — it’s been going on since early fall — the more the traditionally proud brand, the Conference of Champions, will take hits.

Andy Staples of The Athletic explained how at this stage, the Pac-12 is likely forced to make streaming a big part of its exposure for the next few years.

Wrote Staples: “No matter how this shakes out, it seems likely that a good portion of Pac-12 broadcasts will be on a streaming service starting in 2024. If that were the case in the Pac-12’s next media rights deal — let’s assume that would be around 2030 — it might not be as big of an issue. But as Bill Shea and Dan Kaplan explained last month, we as television consumers are living in a “no man’s land” between the eras of the cable bundle and fully a la carte streaming. Networks want us to pay for their streaming services, but they also expect us to pay for the old bundle. If you’ve cut the cord but still pay for Hulu with live TV, YouTube TV, Sling or a similar service, you’re still paying for the bundle. That’s a lot to ask of consumers.”

Friday’s conflicting reports were just a part of this ongoing web of information that is floating, surfacing and sailing down the creek in a national forum on the league.

The presidents who direct commissioner George Kliavkoff are enduring all of this. They must be feeling a great sense of urgency to settle and quick. It doesn’t appear there is any miracle pot of gold waiting at the end of this saga.

At least for now, they have solidarity going for them during this ride.