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Pac-12 Notes – Fall Camp

August 6th

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NCAA tables lifting of transfer rules (for now)

Note … The idea of unlimited transfers, while a pleasing concept to the ear, would be detrimental for schools like Colorado. CU is already facing a depleted roster with the one-time transfer rule already in place, with this past off-season a painful lesson in current college football economics. If football players were able to play for four teams in four years, it would next to impossible for CU to build a program over time – the only methodology to build a winner currently available to an athletic department devoid of a collective and competitive NIL incentives … 

From The Athletic … Change to college sports’ current transfer environment will take a bit longer to arrive after the Division I Board of Directors opted against approving a transfer reform package recommended by the D-I Transformation Committee and sent it back for “additional work” on Wednesday, delaying the implementation of transfer windows and other reforms.

The current one-time transfer rule will remain in place for the time being, as the board also opted against voting to eliminate the one-time transfer rule. Removing the rule would have allowed for what is being colloquially referred to as “unlimited transfers,” meaning athletes could move freely between schools with immediate eligibility assuming they are academically eligible and announce their intention to transfer during a certain time of the year. Right now, athletes are allowed to transfer one time and play right away; if they do it a second time, they need a waiver to do so.

The transfer package originated with the Transformation Committee, a group assembled to help modernize college athletics, and it was endorsed by the D-I Council last month. But there has been a great deal of public pushback to the idea of unlimited transfers from college football and basketball coaches.

There also remain concerns among university presidents about the impact of transferring on academic success and athletes’ ability to graduate, a topic about which the board is now seeking additional feedback. The board also asked for more information regarding the impact of NIL on the transfer environment.

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August 1st

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Pac-12 won’t move on expansion “until UCLA’s issues are decided”

From John Canzano … I want to stop right here and point out that in no way do I expect UCLA to reverse course and announce it will rejoin the Pac-12. That would require a series of wild events to occur. Also, it would potentially come with a damaging public relations hit to the Bruins. But it’s something I left Media Day thinking about.

Add San Diego State? Poach Baylor or Houston? How about UNLV? There are a variety of options that need exploring. One of them involves the possibility that the Pac-12 might give UCLA second thoughts.

Said one person familiar with the situation: “The not-so-hidden question is UCLA. The Pac-12 won’t move on expansion until that’s decided.”

The Regents of the University of California system may have a say. That mostly feels like political posturing, though. One UCLA official, in fact, told me, “All that is just a bunch of noise.” In the meantime, I wonder whether the Pac-12 is asking bidders on the conference’s media rights to run valuation models that includes UCLA and/or USC staying.

The Bruins are leaving. They announced it. The Big Ten talked about it. They’re gone, right?

“Maybe,” said Kliavkoff on Friday.

Former Fox Sports Networks President Bob Thompson told me that prior to the defections of USC and UCLA, he expected the Pac-12 would sign a media rights deal worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million a year. That would result in annual distributions of roughly $42 million to each Pac-12 university. In the Big Ten, the Bruins and Trojans are expected to collect a minimum of $72 million a year.

That’s a $30 million-a-year gap, minimally.

Could the Pac-12 go all-in, get creative, sell off the Pac-12 Networks, and cobble together a media rights package that would push above $60 million a year in distributions and give UCLA and/or USC something to think about?

“I’m not going to get into the specifics,” Kliavkoff told me. “What I will say is the UCLA community, I feel bad for. The vast majority of people in that community immediately did not like that decision and I think the longer that decision sticks, the worse they’re going to like it.”

I doubt it happens. The dollars probably won’t be there. UCLA and USC are telling everyone they’ve moved on and I believe them. But the win that Kliavkoff needs most is one that unwinds the defections. If Kliavkoff could pull it off, it would define his legacy.

“I am not predicting that they come back,” Kliavkoff said. “But if they came back, we’d welcome them back.”

Expanding with San Diego State and maybe one or three others is a decent fallback plan. It would aggregate some additional dollars and get the conference back in Southern California. Mining the landscape for new partners, such as Amazon, Apple and Turner is sound strategy, too. There are some new media players at the table and they may have a pile of money to spend with Fox and ESPN gobbling up so much of the Big Ten and SEC. But if the Pac-12 is smart, it’s asking bidders to give them a valuation model that includes USC and UCLA remaining.

Would UCLA stay in the Pac-12 if the potential $30 million distribution gap were whittled down to $10 million-a-year? How heavy would the pressure from alumni, the UC system and non-revenue generating sports feel in that scenario?

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Survey of coaches and administrators: 75% see a professional model coming for college football

From ESPN … The college football world has endured a wave of change in the past two years, but this could be just the beginning, according to an ESPN survey of more than 200 coaches, players and administrators.

Answering a wide-ranging questionnaire distributed this offseason, respondents told ESPN that big issues such as realignment, name, image and likeness and the transfer portal are likely just precursors to more seismic shifts in the sport’s landscape.

Among the significant changes expected in the coming years are a diminished role for the NCAA, an expansion of the College Football Playoff, continued realignment and, ultimately, a pay-for-play model that would treat players as employees.

Nearly 80% of respondents believe schools will pay athletes directly within the next decade. Nearly 75% think the sport will eventually follow some sort of professional model, perhaps with schools forming conferences based on their willingness to pay players. And virtually everyone (98%) thinks more realignment is in store — sooner than later.

“It is important for all of us in business to recognize that we’re in a time of change,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said. “I think there’s two types of people in the world, that they look at change as a problem or they look at change as an opportunity. I’m one of those individuals that, when change occurs, I get excited about it. It’s really an opportunity for us to do a lot of things that people have thought about but maybe [were] a little bit reticent to do.”

The Big Ten, however, is on course to reap huge rewards from all that change. Other leagues, such as the ACC, seem more wary, with commissioner Jim Phillips using his time at the league’s kickoff event in July to warn about the dangers of moving too quickly and potentially limiting engagement opportunities and access for fans and athletes.

But for all the massive shifts in the sport’s landscape, nearly 60% of respondents said they believe college football is as good or better than it was a decade ago.

“There’s a lot of negativity around [college football] right now, and for me, it’s still the most amazing profession on the face of the planet and it’s the greatest game on the planet,” Charlotte coach Will Healy said. “I get tired of people acting like this thing is on fire. It’s not. There’s some things that need to be cleaned up. There’s some direction that needs to happen. I’m sure in time it’ll happen.”

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July 29th

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**Pac-12 Media Day**

George Kliavkoff: “I appreciate the Big 12 being open for business. We haven’t decided if we’re going shopping there yet”

Quotes from Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff’s remarks at Pac-12 media day (the full transcript can be found here):

— “We are confident in the long term value of our (media) rights. Will likely take months to complete. We will be very well positioned among the Power 5 from a revenue standpoint.”

— “We are actively exploring expansion opportunities.”

— “I remain confident in the Pac-12.”

— “I appreciate the Big 12 being open for business. We haven’t decided if we’re going shopping there yet.”

— “I’ve been spending four weeks watching grenades being lobbed in from every corner of the Big 12… I get why they’re scared, I get why they’re trying to destabilize us.”

— “I’d say UCLA is in a very difficult situation. A lot of constituents are very, very unhappy with the decision.”

— “We might end up playing a lot of football games in L.A.”

— “It’s highly likely that we will end up with a big digital partner” for media rights

—  “When I look at what is taking place in college sports, I believe that we have collectively lost sight of the student-athlete. We need to recalibrate our approach to ensure our filter for any decision is what is in their best interest.”

Q. George, you say that you haven’t determined whether you’re going to go shopping in the Big 12 or not. You don’t hear something like that often from a commissioner saying they might target another conference’s schools. Usually it’s the other way around. One, has anybody, any members of the Big 12, reached out to you about potentially joining the Pac-12? Secondly, you talk about being collegial. Do you think the days of trying to be collegial when it comes to expansion are over?

GEORGE KLIAVKOFF: I hope they’re not over. But they’re certainly harmed. That remark was a reflection of the fact I’ve been spending four weeks trying to defend against grenades that have been lobbed in from every corner of the Big 12 trying to destabilize our remaining conference.

I understand why they’re doing it, when you look the relative media value between the two conferences. I get it, I get why they’re scared, why they’re trying to destabilize it. I was just tired of that. That’s probably not the most collegial thing I’ve ever said.

Q. When you’re considering schools to replace UCLA or USC, what are some of the criteria you’re looking for?

GEORGE KLIAVKOFF: I specifically enumerated those. Start with market, the media value. Go to the athletic value, whether or not they would contribute to the Conference of Champions. Academic and culture fit is part of it. Then we’re very focused, I think uniquely, in thinking about the effect of student-athletes when we add schools.

We think about travel and about what we’re going to put our student-athletes through if we expand geographically too far away. I’m proud of the fact that’s part of our criteria.

Q. George, I know you’ve talked the past four weeks about lobs coming from the Big 12. How do you prevent further lobs or raids from the Big Ten, especially when three or four of your members have been mentioned, including Bernard and Stanford?

GEORGE KLIAVKOFF: I’m focused on what we can control. What we can control is to do everything we can to make the Pac-12 healthy and strong and to do it together, the 10 of us. That’s what I’m focused on. I’m not focused on what other conferences are doing.

Pac-12 Preseason Media Poll: CU picked to finish last

From the Pac-12 … UTAH has been chosen as the favorite to win the 2022 Pac-12 Conference Championship, presented by 76®, in a vote of 33 media members who cover the league. The defending Pac-12 champion Utes received 26 of the 33 first-place votes to earn the preseason nod.

OREGON, who faced Utah in the 2021 championship game, received two first-place votes and the second most overall points to edge out USC, despite the Trojans having more first-place votes (five).

This will be the first season that the Pac-12 Football Championship Game will be played between the two teams with the highest conference winning percentage.  This change came about following the NCAA Division I Council decision in May to deregulate the rule that had limited an individual conference’s autonomy to determine their football championship game participants.  It was based on a motion brought by the Pac-12 and unanimously supported by all FBS conferences

The media has correctly selected the Conference Champion in 32 of 61 previous preseason polls, including five times in the 11-year FCG era.

2022 Pac-12 Football Media Day will be held in Los Angeles on Friday, July 29.  For all materials needed during media day please go here.

Following are the results of the preseason media poll (points 12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 with first-place votes in parentheses):

Total Points
1.  Utah (26)384
2.  Oregon (2)345
3.  USC (5)341
4.  UCLA289
5.  Oregon State246
6.  Washington212
7.  Washington State177
8.  Stanford159
9.  California154
10.  Arizona State123
11.  Arizona86
12.  Colorado58

The 2022 Pac-12 Football Championship Game, presented by 76, featuring the two teams with the highest conference winning percentage, will take place on Friday, Dec. 2 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, NV. The game will be telecast to a national audience on FOX.

The 2022 Pac-12 football season kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 1 with an in-state matchup between Northern Arizona and Arizona State at 7:00 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Network. The first Conference showdown features USC at Stanford on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 4:30 p.m. PT on ABC. Click here for the complete Pac-12 Football schedule.


2 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. “Nearly 75% think the sport will eventually follow some sort of professional model, perhaps with schools forming conferences based on their willingness to pay players. And virtually everyone (98%) thinks more realignment is in store — sooner than later.”

    NIL is the hardest part of the whole picture to regulate and enforce, and just to agree on, when one school’s boosters will pay so much more than another’s. Even if it’s just agreeing on some type of sane rules that everyone will “try” to follow, there needs to be a unity of “all of the rest”.

    The only power that the other 120 schools have over the big dogs that seem to want to end up in one of two super conferences… Or, at least that’s what the networks have sold them on, is for those 120 schools to stick together and basically strike against the two up coming semi-pro super conferences that are forming.

    Cut them out completely and don’t give them any games, “literally take your ball home” (let the big dogs play with themselves and only play against the “real college” teams, not the semi-pros. I’d love to see how that plays out, wouldn’t you? If everyone (the 120) stuck together that is.

    Agree to re-write college football’s business model and keep it more college than semi-pro. Come up with some kind of sensible rules for NIL, but form the conference(s) as a new national league that can televise games on multiple channels and streaming platforms so all games can be watched and all time zones/geographically TV markets, giving the new league multiple noon kick offs around the nation and so on with the later games.

    How cool could it be if the 120 other schools could get together and say goodbye to the 40 big dogs? How cool would it be to see local universities playing schools in and around your state (CU v. AF, CSU, Utah) with only a few longer distance games i.e. CU to play UW or Stanford and? With good group 5 and PAC10 opponets. Screw the B1G & SEC!

  2. Aww, feel so sorry for UCLA and their potential embarrassment if the Bruins have to tuck their tail and come back to the Pac12. Maybe Kliavkoff and the CA regents can give them cover to make it seem like they have to come back as a legal matter (which might actually happen anyway, for real).

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