Where does ASU fall in potential Pac-12 mergers?

ASU Sun Devils(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
ASU Sun Devils(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

In a world of uncertainty driven by conference realignment hypotheticals, where would ASU land in a potential Pac-12/Big 12 merger?

A lot has been said in the past week about the futures of the Pac-12 and the Big 12. Recently, it was reported that ASU, along with Arizona, Utah, and Colorado were meeting with officials from the Big 12 to discuss expansion.

The Big 12 is losing Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC and will be looking for any available options to remain viable in the face of powerhouse conferences like the SEC and the newly expanded Big Ten which just last week added USC and UCLA.

The moves of the SEC and Big Ten signal a shift from a Power Five alignment to a Power Two if the remaining top conferences remain inactive. The two big players will continue to poach the best teams from the “lesser” conferences until nothing remains at the top-tier of college athletics but two mega-conferences, possibly with as many 20-28 teams a piece.

This lack of parity is incredibly dangerous for college athletics and allowing the college landscape to be so thoroughly dominated by two conferences has dangerous implications for every school not considered in the top tier of their own conference, ASU included among them.

ASU needs to actively look for best options

After several years of underachieving in both football and basketball, ASU needs to look at better options right now before it becomes too late. The same can be said for Arizona, a woefully bad football school, and other Pac-12 partners like Colorado and Utah.

If an option was presented that merged the Pac-12 with the Big 12, the remaining ten teams in the Pac should take it seriously. It would create a huge 18-team conference that would provide at least some competition and a semblance of parity with the SEC and expanding Big Ten.

Remaining competitive, both on the field and in the new minefield of NIL, might only be possible by the pooling of resources that schools in the mid to high ranks of college athletics can provide. In a 2020 list of top revenue-producing athletic programs, neither the Pac-12 of Big 12 even cracked the top 20.

Something has to be done to prevent a complete takeover of college athletics by a Power Two. Whether that means jumping ship from the Pac-12 and joining a greatly expanded Big 12 or completely combining the two conferences, ASU needs to be a part of these discussions.

If the decision becomes available for the Sun Devils to jump ship from their long-time conference to the Big 12, so be it. Arizona State owes no loyalty to the conference and needs to be concerned primarily with its future survival in a wildly-changed landscape.

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