Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — If Urban Meyer ever returns to Rice-Eccles Stadium to face the Utah Utes as head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes it won't necessarily be because he has to do it. The Pac-12 and Big Ten announced Friday that an enhanced scheduling collaboration across all sports between the conferences will not come to fruition as previously announced.
In a released statement, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said the decision was made after extensive deliberation and consultation with member institutions, television partners and others.
"While we continue to value our close relationship, particularly our partnership in the Rose Bowl, the Pac-12 came to the conclusion that it's in our best interests to maintain our nine-game conference (football) schedule and maximum flexibility in out-of-conference scheduling."
Big Ten commissioner James E. Delany also released a statement.
"We are disappointed to announce today that the Big Ten
Pac-12 strategic collaboration announced jointly in December 2011 unfortunately will not be consummated," he said. "We recently learned from Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott that the complications associated with coordinating a non-conference foot- ball schedule for 24 teams across two conferences proved to be too difficult."
The complication, Delany noted, included the Pac-12's nine-game conference schedule and previous non-league commitments.
"A great effort was made by both conference staffs to create football schedules that would address the variety of complexities, but in the end, we were just not able to do so," he said. "While everyone at the Big Ten is disappointed by the news, we look forward to continuing the historic partnership that we have with the Pac-12 and to working together on other matters in the future."
Utah athletics director Chris Hill had similar thoughts.
"We were made aware that this partnership may not come together as we had originally anticipated. With our intensely competitive nine-game conference schedule, this will allow us to maintain flexibility in our non-conference scheduling," he said in a comment released later in the day. "We look forward to continuing our historic partnership with the Big Ten in the future, including our scheduled football home-and-home series with Michigan in 2014 and 2015."
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