The latest twist in a summer of conference realignment reports and rumors involves the Big Ten, the Pac-12 and a move that would further entrench the Big Ten on the West Coast.

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel first reported Wednesday that the Big Ten Conference has had preliminary discussions about potentially adding as many as four current Pac-12 institutions — Oregon and Washington if the Big Ten adds two schools, and California and Stanford if it desires moving to 20.

Wetzel reinforced that the talks are in very early stages and that there is nothing imminent, while adding that four Big Ten university presidents began the preliminary process on Wednesday.

“The Big Ten may also patiently wait to see what happens with other Pac-12 schools and their potential move to the Big 12 before acting at all,” Wetzel wrote.

Related
Analysis: What a potential Apple TV deal could mean for the Pac-12

On Wednesday, the Big Ten released a statement regarding possible league expansion that said the “Big Ten Conference is still focused on integration of USC & UCLA but it’s also the commissioner’s job to keep conference chancellors & presidents informed about new developments as they occur,” per ESPN’s Pete Thamel.

This happens amid uncertainty surrounding the Pac-12’s future, and whether the conference may break apart as it deals with attrition and negotiations for a new media rights deal that have dragged on.

USC and UCLA are already scheduled to join the Big Ten in 2024, and last week, Colorado announced it will join the Big 12 next year.

There are reports that the Big 12 is seeking to add one to three additional members by next year, with Pac-12 schools the primary focus. Action Network’s Brett McMurphy reported that the Big 12’s interest in further expansion centered around Arizona, Arizona State and Utah.

On Tuesday, Pac-12 presidents met with commissioner George Kliavkoff, where the commissioner laid out the options the league currently has for its new media rights deal. The primary deal presented was a primarily Apple TV streaming deal that would include incentivized tiers based on subscription numbers, according to Thamel.

There are a number of factors to consider when talking about the possibility of the Big Ten expanding even more in the West, though.

Several national reporters, including Thamel and The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach, emphasized that the Big Ten does not want to be seen as predatory and would only move on expansion if other dominoes began to fall in the Pac-12. 

“I know people have rolled their eyes at this, but I do not think the Big Ten wants to be the one to deliver the final blow to the Pac-12. So, I expect they’ll monitor what happens with the Big 12 first. Dominoes would need to fall there first to act,” Auerbach wrote.

There’s also the issue surrounding what kind of television payouts any new members would get in the Big Ten. The league agreed to a new seven-year deal in August 2022, an agreement that begins this year and will net each member institution a minimum of $50 million annually, a number that’s expected to grow annually, according to Wetzel.

The expectation, though, is that any potential additions would not receive a full share, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported.

“The potential West Coast additions to the Big Ten wouldn’t come into the league with full revenue shares like USC and UCLA did, per sources,” Rittenberg wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “So would be more on the Rutgers/Maryland plan from 2014. Certainly still stronger $$ than what Pac-12 seemingly is offering, but a factor.”

The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel echoed those sentiments.