Arizona State AD Ray Anderson says recent Pac-12 defections shocked conference

Ray Anderson says Big 12 union talk was overblown and he only spoke to one ADGETTY PICTURES

Arizona State AD Ray Anderson said the news of USC and UCLA leaving for the Big Ten was “shocking to other athletic directors and college presidents throughout” the Pac-12, according to Michelle Gardner of the REPUBLIC OF ARIZONA. Anderson said there was “no warning, not even a hint that these schools were considering this.” He said, “We were all completely shocked by this. It was certainly done underground, in great secrecy, in deception, whatever.” Gardner writes that the possibility of up to six Pac-12 schools moving to the Big 12 “surfaced quickly” since the Big 12 was “reeling from the defection of its two main brands” – Texas and Oklahoma – to the SEC by 2025 However, Anderson said it was “not seriously discussed.” He said he had “a discussion with a Big 12 athletic director”, whom he did not name, and that there was “certainly not the supposed meeting that involved representatives from all the schools”. Anderson went so far as to say it was the Big 12 “dropping the possibility of Pac-12 schools defecting to their side.” Anderson: “We were offended by the way the Big 12 made it look like they were walking away. They weren’t and it was disrespectful and inappropriate of them to say they were gone because we couldn’t add anything.”

More from Anderson:

  • On the upcoming Pac-12 media rights agreement: “There is a sense of urgency from our media partners and our conference leadership that this is done to show clarity, show stability to give us a path forward and define our next steps, whatever they may be.”
  • On potential Pac-12 expansion: “Nothing is on the table and shouldn’t be because things are constantly changing. We are always looking for schools that fit the academic culture. … We have high academic standards and if we get to that point (expansion) we’re going to look for schools that have the same belief, the same mission. We’re not going to lower our standards to add a team or two” (REPUBLIC OF ARIZONA, 07/22).