The Big 12 is on the verge of imploding, as earlier this week, college football powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma notified the conference that they won't renew their grant of media rights agreements in June 2025, setting in motion their potential move to the SEC.
And because this drastic conference realignment and expansion would make all eight remaining Big 12 schools vulnerable and concerned about the future, UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond presumes those programs are reaching out to the Pac-12.
"I would anticipate they would. Pac-12 is a great conference," Jarmond told The DA Show on Thursday. "Big 12, obviously, is in a challenging or chaotic time, based on what's going on. So naturally, if I was in the Big 12, I'd [call]. I'm not privy to who's reaching out officially to the conference or whatever. That's for our commissioner, and he's done a great job. But let's be clear, let's be candid: I would want to be a part of the Pac-12 if I was in that situation. So, you best believe they've got to be exploring all of their options."
The topic of conference expansion and realignment was discussed during Pac-12 Media Days earlier this week. While speaking at his first public forum on Tuesday, new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff said that expansion isn't required for the conference "to continue to compete and thrive," despite "significant inbound interest" from schools. All options will be considered.
Conference realignment isn't the only element altering the landscape of college sports. Top student-athletes are already benefitting from the NCAA's new policy on name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights, and Jarmond believes the rules and opportunities play to UCLA's advantage in Los Angeles.
"To be here in the No. 2 media market in the country, to be in Westwood, LA, Hollywood, you have so many opportunities," Jarmond said. "There's so many people here. And what you find is, at UCLA, we have the best of the best. Our student-athletes are elite. And they have opportunities. To me, it's just a sheer numbers game. If you're in one of those smaller college towns or a different area, you're just not going to have the numbers that being in LA provide...
"We're going to be leaders in this area. We've been promoting [NIL], we have education sessions. But this is something we're going to be aggressive about, and I'm excited about it. Because it's a great opportunity to just grow your brand and understand your earning potential."
UCLA, which open its football season at home against Hawaii on Saturday, Aug. 28, currently has the sixth-best odds (+1200) to win the Pac-12 title.
The entire conversation between Jarmond and DA can be accessed in the audio player above.