The Pac-10 retreated quietly to its Northern California offices Tuesday, pondering a final expansion move, while Texas officials looked forward to a lucrative new television future in the Big 12.
With the Longhorns turning down the Pac-10 on Monday after they were assured of their own television network and up to $20 million in annual TV revenue - roughly the same they were looking at in a 16-team Western superconference - the Pac-10 was left to ponder adding Utah and calling it a day at 12 teams.
However, even that last move wasn't certain as of Tuesday.
Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott was unavailable for comment, and Utah athletic director Chris Hill has declined to speak about expansion.
Adding Utah could mean Arizona is placed in a six-team division with ASU, USC, UCLA, Colorado and Utah, or with ASU and the four California schools.
Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson told The Associated Press that Hill told him he had not been contacted by the Pac-10 since the league announced that Texas had turned down its invitation.
Still, Utah's regents remained on standby. Randy Dryer, the chairman of Utah's board of trustees, told the Salt Lake Tribune that the trustees could schedule a special meeting on short notice to discuss the proposal.
"We are monitoring the situation, and we'll be prepared to meet if there's a reason to meet," Dryer said. "Right now, things are still in flux, so we haven't scheduled any meeting for that purpose."
If the Utes were given and accepted an invitation to the Pac-10, they would face no penalty in leaving the Mountain West. However, Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn told the AP that the Buffaloes could have to pay around $9 million to leave the Big 12.
"We'll work with our new conference with some type of finance agreement," Bohn said. "The Pac-10 will not assist in any contributions toward the buyout. But they've indicated a willingness to help us finance the agreement."
The buyout money will add to a revenue stream that the Big 12 now anticipates will be even greater for its schools. The league will have two fewer teams to share the pot, and Texas AD DeLoss Dodds said during a news conference Tuesday that the league's ESPN/ABC contract through 2015-16 will stay the same financially.
The Big 12 is also anticipating a bigger supplementary package from Fox Sports Net, whose current deal with the conference expires in 2012.
Texas, meanwhile, is free to add its own TV network into the mix, which wouldn't have been possible if it joined a Pac-10 bent on creating its own TV network. Doing so would require the Pac-10 to hold Texas' local TV rights, something the Longhorns resisted.
"Our preference was for our own network," Texas president William Powers said. "We understood it was an issue for (the Pac-10) … but it wasn't a negotiation sticking point."
Dodds said the Big 12's TV deal would be "as good as any" media contracts in college sports. The Big Ten currently generates a reported $165 million annually in television revenue, the ACC takes in $155 million, while the SEC has deals with CBS and ESPN totaling an average of $200 million per year.
The Pac-10's current TV deal with Fox Sports Net, set to expire after the 2011-12 school year, is worth just $43 million annually.
"I feel really, really good about where we ended up with this," Dodds said. "We've got good vibes and good commitment from our partners."