Whatever you think of Carol Folt, and she’s been a lightning rod for football fans the past few years, let’s not overstate her influence within the Pac-12.
Folt did not singlehandedly stop the Pac-12 from expanding. She was just one of several schools that were against the idea and would have voted down any proposal to turn down adding some Big 12 schools.
To add any Big 12 schools, 9 of the 12 Pac-12 schools would have had to vote in favor of expansion. That was not going to happen, especially when it’s not clear adding those schools would add enough money/value to a TV deal to make it worthwhile.
Remember when the Pac-12 had a chance to add Texas and Oklahoma? That was a blockbuster move.
Former USC president Max Nikias told me at the time the conference (including USC) was against the move especially because of the academic reputations of Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
The Pac-12 has generally been conservative with expansion. But whether the conference was right or wrong, Folt is not calling the shots. The other presidents make up their minds on their own. Don’t think Stanford and UCLA didn’t agree too. And Cal.
So a single president is not running the Pac-12.
If you want to blame Folt for something, blame her for not firing Clay Helton sooner.