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Pac-12 Notes

June 2nd 

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Pac-10? Pac-16? How about the Pac-91?

From ESPN … College football’s Great Realignment has been on pause in recent months.

After the seismic moves we saw in recent summers — Oklahoma and Texas announcing they were joining the SEC in 2021, USC and UCLA announcing they were joining the Big Ten in 2022 — there aren’t all that many conceivable earthquakes remaining. But with the ACC unsettled, members of the Pac-12 continuing to wait (and wait, and wait) for numbers on a new media deal, and the Big 12 looking to do something bold, discontent and uncertainty are high.

With the ACC’s long grant-of-rights deal still legally impenetrable at the moment — and, therefore, the thought of ACC programs leaving for another conference remaining unrealistic in the short term — the next if-then moment is pretty well understood: At some point, the Pac-12 will announce its new media rights numbers, and either they will be good enough or they won’t.

If they’re comparable to the Big 12’s recent numbers, then the Pac-12 will likely keep its 10 remaining members in place and attempt to add two more. (Current indications are that San Diego State and SMU are at the top of the expansion wish list.) If the numbers are drastically inferior, things could get weird. The easternmost members of the conference — some combination of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Arizona State — could welcome an aggressive advance by the Big 12. That could create a potential domino effect: Maybe the Big Ten takes an accelerated look at Oregon and Washington (and maybe Cal and Stanford)? Maybe those schools look the Big 12’s way?

The Pac-12’s persistent delays in announcing media rights certainly don’t build optimism, but for now I continue to assume that odds favor the Pac-12 patching together some sort of coalition of broadcasters and promising just enough annual revenue that it keeps its members in place for now. But if there’s one constant in recent summers, it’s that our assumptions are consistently wrong.

The Pac-12 should expand … to 91 in football (and 190 in basketball)

If we’re being honest, the Pac-12 only ever had one good card to play in the Great Realignment, and former commissioner Larry Scott played it as soon as he possibly could. In the early summer months of 2010, Scott, still in his first year on the job, made a play to destroy the already wobbly Big 12 conference, attempting to add Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Colorado to what would become a Pac-16 Conference. A&M was never sold, and there were rumors that Scott wanted to include Kansas as well, but the big fish were Texas and Oklahoma. They were the closest blue-blood programs within reach, and adding them would have been an absolute coup.

It seemed for a few days as if it actually might happen, but things eventually fell apart. Texas supposedly got cold feet for one reason or another, the Pac-10 added Colorado and Utah instead, and the Big 12 lived on without either Colorado or Big Ten-bound Nebraska. (It held on a year later, too, when Texas A&M and Missouri left for the SEC.)

Scott made plenty of mistakes as the conference’s commissioner. The ridiculously expensive real estate and the fancy offices in San Francisco never made fiscal sense, and the inability to sell the Pac-12 Network and its satellite networks — or to create said satellites in the first place — handcuffed the conference significantly. Even with the same membership, it could certainly be more financially healthy than it currently is.

Still, without Texas and Oklahoma, Scott was never going to truly succeed. As conferences began fighting for territory, there was no way for the Pac-12 to overcome being so dang western. Since loyalty has never ever been a thing in realignment, there was no card for the Pac-12 to play to keep USC and UCLA once the Big Ten got a wild hair to go global.

Now, as Scott’s successor, George Kliavkoff, faces the same geographic realities in looking to secure new media rights and attempt to figure out which expansion candidates stand out in a sea of schools with similar statures — and as the process drags on longer than initially anticipated — there’s one final home run swing the conference has at its disposal, and I’m here to recommend it:

Add everyone.

Add every school with any sort of tie to the Pacific time zone. Anything west of the Missouri River, for that matter. Absorb (if we’re feeling warlike) or become affiliates with (if we’re more benevolent) every conference in the general area. Create a conference with tiers in each level of college football — FBS (power conference and Group of 5 levels), FCS, Division II, Division III — and promote and relegate from within them. The NCAA won’t allow such a thing? Let’s not allow such small details to get in the way of a great idea.

The Mountain West starts out as Tier 2. The Big Sky is Tier 3. (Throw the four Dakota schools in there as well.) The WAC and Southland are Tier 4, followed by Division II’s Lone Star and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (which features 2022 finalist Colorado Mines) in Tier 5 and Division III’s American Southwest (which features heavyweight Mary Hardin-Baylor) and Northwest Conferences in Tier 6.

Do the same for basketball, throwing the West Coast Conference into Tier 2, the Big West into Tier 3, et cetera. There’s a lot of good, upwardly mobile basketball out west, from NIT semifinalist Utah Valley to Division II men’s semifinalists Cal State San Bernardino and Black Hills State to Division III men’s champion (and women’s runner-up) Christopher Newport. They’re all part of the PAC now. Even without UCLA and USC, within a couple of years of promotion and relegation, everyone in the top tier of the men’s basketball conference would be a top-75 or so team. In football, everyone would be top-50 or so.

Instead of being limited by geography, make sure that, for every sport you sponsor, you are represented by the absolute best programs in the West. You have no way of stopping an Oregon or Washington from leaving for the Big Ten if offered, but if someone leaves, bump two more teams up the ladder and keep on rolling. Turn your greatest weakness into your greatest strength. What bad could come from it? Like the money would actually get worse or something?

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June 1st

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The Athletic: What would a return to the Big 12 mean to CU? 

From The Athletic … In the weeks after the shocking defection of USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten, Colorado athletic director Rick George’s priority was solidarity.

“Our thing is we’ve got to keep our conference stable,” George told reporters last July.

One truism learned from the last few rounds of realignment in college athletics: The school leaders who preach league loyalty the loudest tend to be the ones with no alternatives. It doesn’t matter how much you respect your commissioner or admire your peers. In these turbulent times, if you’re not exploring your options, you’re not doing your job. At that time, George and his fellow ADs linking arms was logical. The Pac-12’s media rights negotiations had just begun. They needed every dollar they could get.

But a lot has transpired since last summer. On the same day George made those comments last July, newly hired commissioner Brett Yormark declared the Big 12 “open for business.” The Buffaloes now have options. When asked last Friday about where Colorado stood, George didn’t slam the door shut on the possibility of his school making a move.

“We’re members of the Pac-12, we’re proud members of the Pac-12 and we’ve got to see where our media rights deal lands and where our conference goes,” George told BuffZone. “In a perfect world, we’d love to be in the Pac-12, but we also have to do what’s right for Colorado at the end of the day. We’ll evaluate things as we move forward.”

Colorado chancellor Phil DiStefano said essentially the same thing to USA Today a month ago. Nobody is making a move until they find out what kind of offer commissioner George Kliavkoff fetches for the Pac-12’s media rights. But George’s latest comments do raise a curious question: What is best for Colorado? Does returning to the Big 12 actually make sense?

As Yormark considers expansion for a 14- or 16-member league, Colorado and the Big 12 have been in talks for several months, three conference sources who were not authorized to speak publicly about the discussions told The Athletic. No Pac-12 school has been more receptive to joining the conference, those sources said, than Colorado.

“Colorado is the one they’re having the most productive talks with,” one of the sources said.

The splashy hire of Deion Sanders to revive the Buffaloes’ football program has been a significant factor in Yormark’s interest. The Pro Football Hall of Famer has almost instantly made Colorado nationally relevant in his first six months on the job and is viewed as an ideal fit for Yormark’s stated vision of a “younger, hipper, cooler” conference. Fox Sports announced Wednesday that Colorado’s first two games under Sanders are getting the “Big Noon Kickoff” time slot this fall. The Buffaloes had a sellout crowd of more than 47,000 for its spring game in April, one year after counting 1,950 in attendance for its previous spring game.

Continue reading story here

Holiday Bowl suing UCLA and the Pac-12 over cancelled 2021 game

From … The Holiday Bowl has filed a lawsuit against the Pac-12 Conference and UCLA, seeking more than $3 million in damages because of the league’s refusal to reimburse the bowl after UCLA elected not to play the 2021 game hours before kickoff, Action Network has learned.

The Holiday Bowl filed a suit in Superior Court in the county of San Diego Tuesday, claiming the non-profit San Diego Bowl Game Association lost more than $3 million from the cancellation of the 2021 game. This wiped out the 43-year-old bowl association’s reserves.

The complaint states the Holiday Bowl “has engaged and continues to engage in good faith with the Pac-12 to negotiate a resolution of the dispute without success.”

Because the Pac-12 didn’t compensate the Holiday Bowl for the 2021 cancellation, the Holiday Bowl, to offset those losses, did not pay the Pac-12 for providing a participating team (Oregon) in the 2022 bowl.

Even by doing this, the Holiday Bowl still would have lost “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” but was willing to take that loss to be a good partner with the Pac-12.

About two weeks ago, the Pac-12 notified the Holiday Bowl that it would file a lawsuit if the bowl didn’t pay the conference the money the Pac-12 said it was owed from the 2022 game by Wednesday, May 31. The notification did not reference the 2021 cancellation.

Last year, Action Network asked Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff about the financial dispute from the 2021 Holiday Bowl.

“The Holiday Bowl has been a great partner of ours,” Kliavkoff told Action Network in July. “We intend for them to continue to be a great partner of ours. We’re constantly talking with them about what happened (in 2021), figuring how to move forward together.”

Ultimately, that led to the Pac-12 threatening a lawsuit against the Holiday Bowl and the Holiday Bowl filing a lawsuit against the Pac-12.

Continue reading story here


May 31st 

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Sports Illustrated: Would CSU be a “good fit” for an expanded Pac-12?

From Sports Illustrated … We know that the Pac-12 has looked into expansion, but obviously is prioritizing securing their media rights deal first. Something that has not been a walk in the park by any means. With certain deadlines looming, and the Big 12 ready to pounce those around the Pac-12 believe that the month of June will finally be the month something happens after months of missed deadlines.

This means we could be one month closer to the Pac-12 expanding, which is why I ranked the likeliness and fit of the handful of Pac-12 candidates that have either been connected to the Pac-12 or are ones that I think make the most sense.

Rice … Fit: 5/10 … Likeliness: 2/10

Tulane … Fit: 7/10 … Likeliness: 5.5/10

SMU … Fit: 8/10 … Likeliness: 7.5/10

San Diego State … Fit: 10/10 … Likeliness: 9/10

Colorado State … Fit: 7.5/10 … Likeliness: 6.5/10 … In terms of market, the Pac-12 already has a program residing in the state, but obviously they make the most sense geographically. How much that is worth in this modern day of college football, is hard to tell. Colorado State has been decent in basketball making three tournament appearances since 2012, and did have a stretch of solid years in football. They are far less exciting than adding a program like Tulane in terms of their location and recruiting ground, but if the Pac-12 is worried about expanding too far away that makes a major case for them.

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May 28th

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San Diego State well-positioned for Power Five invite: “We’re excited for the opportunity”

From The Athletic … San Diego has the feel of a sports boomtown right now.

On May 18, the city received a Major League Soccer expansion franchise. In April, San Diego State men’s basketball played in the national championship game. Fernando Tatis Jr. is back with the Padres for the first time since 2021. Manchester United will play Ryan Reynolds’ Wrexham FC at Snapdragon Stadium in July, and the stadium will host a Gold Cup semifinal that month as well. Since the Chargers left in 2017, the sports scene has rebounded in a big way.

But the final transformative sports move set to hit the city this year remains without a launch date: San Diego State’s invitation to join a Power 5 conference.

To talk to people around San Diego State, the Mountain West and elsewhere in college sports, an invite is all but inevitable after USC and UCLA signed up for the Big Ten. The Pac-12’s drawn-out media rights negotiations have slowed the process, but whether it’s the Pac-12 or the Big 12, a monumental move is likely on the way.

“One or the other is going to happen,” San Diego State athletic director John David Wicker told The Athletic in April. “We’re excited for the opportunity, and we’ve done a lot of work to prepare for that.”

It’s no fluke that SDSU has reached this moment. It’s the result of an investment in athletics over multiple decades, ideal geography and the selection of the right coaches at the right time.

The Aztecs made just three NCAA men’s basketball tournament appearances between their move to Division I in 1970 and Steve Fisher’s arrival in 1999. Aztec football played in three bowl games between its joining the WAC in 1978 and Brady Hoke’s arrival in 2009. Now, San Diego State leads the nation in combined football and men’s basketball winning percentage since 2010, at 73.7 percent. SDSU football is 7-4 against the Pac-12 since 2016.

“People talk about how basketball brought athletics and the campus together more than it had been in the past,” said Wicker, whose first stint at SDSU began in 2011. “Now we’ve continued to make investments in basketball and football where we expect to compete for conference championships and make a Final Four run.”

The construction of Viejas Arena, the home of Aztecs basketball, in 1997 was the first major investment, and the completion of Snapdragon Stadium in 2022 on the site of the old Qualcomm Stadium was the crown jewel.

“Snapdragon is the destination stadium in San Diego,” Wicker said of the $310 million university-owned building.

With competitive facilities and a prime location, the university’s long-term future is bright.

“I always thought the Pac-12 would not ask us in with UCLA and USC because they would put us on equal footing, and we would be too great a competitor to let in,” SDSU basketball coach Brian Dutcher said in March. “So now that they’re gone and Southern California has a really good team sitting in San Diego, I would think we would be desirable for the Pac-12, the Big 12, a lot of conferences.”

Basketball is at its peak. Football? That’s a bit of a different question. The program is coming off a disappointing 7-6 season. Making bowl games isn’t the standard anymore. Can Hoke and the Aztecs get back into conference championship contention before a potential conference move?

Continue reading story here


May 26th

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Inside the Mike Bohn resignation at USC: “I’m surprised it took this long”

From The Athletic … In the days since his resignation, The Athletic has spoken to multiple individuals who worked with Mike Bohn at USC and Cincinnati, as well as athletic directors and others who engaged with him professionally, probing Bohn’s history in college athletics and why it all went wrong at USC. That insight was reinforced by documents obtained from his time at Cincinnati that detail racially insensitive comments made by Bohn and claims of another “toxic atmosphere.”

“I thought just hiring a real administrator was a safe move. And I think that’s what (USC) thought,” said Petros Papadakis, a former team captain and tailback for the Trojans from 1997-2000 who co-hosts a weekday sports talk radio show in Los Angeles.

Instead, Bohn was a bad fit for a worse situation, another flawed hire causing yet another high-profile embarrassment for USC. Said one source, who worked with Bohn for a number of years, and, like others in this story, was granted anonymity to speak candidly about that experience: “I’m surprised it took this long.”

In the hours after Bohn’s resignation on Friday, folks inside the USC football community fired up group texts and collectively rolled their eyes at the latest pratfall by their university. Any initial attempts to spin Bohn’s exit as amicable quickly rang hollow as more details emerged. No interim was announced.

“You’re an elite university, and the biggest money driver at the school, and you just can’t get this right? How can you have this level of incompetence?” said Alex Holmes, a former tight end for the Trojans in the early 2000s and founder of The TOMMY Group, a collective working with USC athletes. “It’s been almost 20 years of one mistake after another after another. It’s so disappointing. Pathetic. The thing is, all of us are numb to it by now. It’s par for the course.”

Since not long after Pete Carroll, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush led USC to two national championships and played for another from 2003 to 2005, it’s been a dizzying array of self-inflicted wounds off the Figueroa Corridor, low-lighted by one baffling AD hire after another, from erstwhile USC football stars Pat Haden and Lynn Swann to Bohn.

Flanking those hires have been a sequence of head-scratching faceplants. A team manager busted for deflating footballs. Lane Kiffin getting fired on the tarmac at LAX. Steve Sarkisian’s intoxicated, expletive-riddled speech at the school’s annual Salute to Troy pep rally and subsequent player-led punishment. The Bohn era’s splashy, name, image and likeness announcement video produced in the midst of the pandemic, featuring a fake movie premiere, Hollywood pool party and helicopter ride for then-coach Clay Helton. And on and on.

“It’s embarrassing. These things just pile on each other,” Papadakis said. “My God. It’s like non-stop.”

The Cincinnati job had been a lifeline for Bohn back in 2014 after he was forced out as AD of Colorado, his home-state school, the year prior. The Bearcats were transitioning from the old Big East to the fledgling American Athletic Conference, left to wander in the realignment wilderness. Bohn was hired in large part because of his knowledge and experience within that landscape, with a directive to deliver Cincinnati back to a power conference. He shepherded considerable progress in almost six years, including overseeing nearly $180 million in renovations to Nippert Stadium and Fifth Third Arena and hiring Luke Fickell as head football coach. All of it laid the groundwork for an historic College Football Playoff run in 2021 and Cincinnati officially joining the Big 12 this summer.

Bohn was a spirited and willing cheerleader for the Bearcats, amplifying the athletic department at a time when the university really needed it. A few issues, however, were bubbling toward the surface near the end of his tenure. One was the departure of men’s basketball coach Mick Cronin, who left his alma mater for UCLA in April 2019 after negotiations on a contract extension reached an icy impasse. Bohn’s candidate pool during the search to replace Cronin raised apprehensions within the university administration, according to sources familiar with that process. (Cincinnati ultimately hired John Brannen, who was fired two years later after Bohn’s own departure.) Combined with stagnated fundraising for capital projects, it put a strain on the relationship between Bohn and president Neville Pinto, according to university sources.

Then came the USC offer to Bohn, a lifeline hoisted from a yacht deck. USC was only four months removed from naming Folt as president, an appointment made in the wake of a widespread sexual assault scandal under its previous president, C.L. Max Nikias. The Varsity Blues admissions conspiracy had come to light that same year. Helton was a lame-duck coach on whom the fanbase had already turned. The circumstances would challenge even the most qualified of candidates.

Bohn needed a change of scenery. The Trojans needed an established, safe hire from outside the family. It facilitated a mismatched but necessary marriage, USC attempting to patch the cracks in its foundations with a fresh coat of enthusiastic paint.

Continue reading story here


May 24th

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ACC amends revenue distribution, incentivizing postseason success

… It wouldn’t be a a surprise if Oregon and Washington insist on a similar deal with the new Pac-12 media rights contracts … 

From CBS Sports … The ACC has announced an amended revenue model that will reward high-achieving programs with additional monetary gains in an attempt to catch ballooning conference distributions in the Big Ten and SEC in coming years. Plans for the new model, which is set to start during the 2024-25 academic year, haven’t been finalized, but the “success incentives” are expected to reward schools with postseason success with a far larger piece of distribution.

“The ACC Board of Directors continues to be committed to exploring all potential opportunities that will result in additional revenues and resources for the conference,” said Duke president Vince Price, who also serves as chair of the Board of Directors. “Today’s decision provides a path to reward athletic success while also distributing additional revenue to the full membership.”

Under one proposed model by Florida State athletic director Michael Alford to 247Sports, high-achieving ACC schools could potentially receive more than $10 million in addition revenue, a hefty increase from the $39.4 million distributed by the league in 2021-22, according to records obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch

For the 2022-23 season, a school earned $6 million for its conference with a College Football Playoff berth; a selection to a non-playoff New Year’s Six bowl pays out $4 million. In total, the CFP paid out up to a base amount of nearly $80 million per Power Five conference as long as member institutions reached academic expectations. Under a different model, more of this payout could go to top schools. Clemson, for example, would have been the top beneficiary of this change in 2022 after earning a trip to the Orange Bowl.

Base television revenue and other ACC distributions will remain unchanged. The ACC’s long-term television contract with ESPN, including distribution on the ACC Network, is expected to clear $30 million next season, setting a high floor for all 14 ACC schools. However, the record ACC payout ranked fourth in average conference distribution, according to USA Today, trailing the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12.

Continue reading story here


May 23rd

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Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi blasts CU’s roster overhaul: “When I got to Pitt back in 2015, I didn’t kick anybody off. Zero”

From CBS Sports … Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi is never afraid to share his thoughts on college football’s hottest topics, and now he’s put Deion Sanders and his use of the transfer portal to overhaul the Colorado roster ahead of his debut season in his crosshairs. In a recent interview with 247Sports’ Brandon Marcello, Narduzzi blasted Sanders’ tactics after the Buffaloes saw an unprecedented number of players depart the program while “Coach Prime” uses the portal to replenish the talent to his liking.

“That’s not the way it’s meant to be,” Narduzzi told Marcello at ACC spring meetings. “That’s not what the (transfer portal) rule intended to be. It was not to overhaul your roster. We’ll see how it works out but that, to me, looks bad on college football coaches across the country. The reflection is on one guy right now but when you look at it overall — those kids that have moms and dads and brothers and sisters and goals in life — I don’t know how many of those 70 that left really wanted to leave or they were kicked in the butt to get out.”

While Narduzzi is not the only one who’s voiced concerns on this particular topic, Sanders did make his intentions clear at a team meeting in December after coming over from Jackson State.

“I want y’all to get ready to go ahead and jump in that portal and do whatever you’re going to get, because the more of you jump into (the portal), the more room you make because we bring in kids that are smart, tough,” Sanders said.

“I grew up in a profession that you can’t tell a guy that he has to leave based on athletic ability,” Narduzzi said. “I think he’ll be shocked that he probably had some pretty good football players in that room. When I got to Pitt back in 2015, I didn’t kick anybody off. Zero. Those are your guys. When you become a head coach you inherit that team and you coach that team. If someone wants to leave, that’s great. You don’t kick them out. I disagree with that whole process. That’s not why I got in the game.”

This is not the first time Narduzzi has been critical of a team’s portal usage. In 2022, Pitt wide receiver and reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison transferred to USC. Narduzzi heard the USC chatter before Addison transferred and allegedly called Trojans coach Lincoln Riley multiple times to express his displeasure and discuss the potential of tampering, according to ESPNRiley later responded and shot down Narduzzi’s allegations.


May 22nd

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Report: Pac-12 and ESPN “are having no substantive talks at this time”

From … The PAC-12’s fight for a new media deal continues to look very bleak.

Commissioner George Kliavkoff has been doing his best to land a new deal for the conference, but so far, nothing has come to fruition. The PAC-12 is holding out hope ESPN might come in and save the day with a huge check.

There had previously been reports ESPN wasn’t interested in the PAC-12’s tier one media rights, but there was some dispute at the time how accurate that claim was.

Now, it sounds like the situation definitely hasn’t improved between the two sides. Andrew Marchand, one of America’s best reporters when it comes to sports and media, reported Monday the two sides “are having no substantive talks at this time.”

“ESPN passed on the Big Ten, Sunday Ticket, Premier League, Champions League and MLS, so the idea that it will be completely out on the Pac-12 is not in the least bit surprising. Things can always change, and maybe the Pac-12 can figure out a creative way to get ESPN involved, but right now that seems very unlikely,” Marchand explained in his Monday report.

If ESPN bows out of the hunt for the PAC-12’s main media rights, the conference might have to pivot to a streaming giant for a payday.

The PAC-12’s goal is for members to earn at least $31.7 million annually from its new media deal. That’s the number the Big 12 secured, and Kliavkoff is gunning for it.

Multiple PAC-12 officials have tried their best to claim everything will be fine and the conference is strong. However, with every single day that passes without a deal, it starts to look more and more like a Baghdad Bob situation.

Sure, you can claim Iraq is winning the war, but we can all see the American tanks on the horizon. That’s increasingly the energy people are seeing out of the west coast conference.


May 21st 

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Mike Bohn resignation comes amid allegations of inappropriate conduct

From The Los Angeles Times … USC athletic director Mike Bohn resigned Friday, a day after The Times asked him and USC about internal criticism of his management of the athletic department.

Bohn made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female colleagues, including remarks about their dress, hair and weight, that staff members said made them feel uncomfortable, according to two USC sources with knowledge of the incidents. They spoke on condition of anonymity fearing retaliation. They said Bohn’s comments left colleagues — especially women — feeling awkward.

Three USC sources said several people confronted Bohn about comments they felt were inappropriate, but they continued.

The Times spoke to six USC sources who raised concerns about his management of the department. Several described him as a poor manager who missed meetings he was expected to attend and was often absent from key events, including USC national championship victories.

Multiple sources alleged employees left meetings with Bohn without direction and that he shied from difficult conversations. Two former USC coaches told The Times that Bohn’s leadership of the department was a primary reason they left.

The university did not respond to questions from The Times about Bohn.

University President Carol Folt released a letter to the USC community announcing Bohn’s departure. She wrote that the university had “conducted a thorough review of the athletics department, including its operation, culture and strategy” ahead of USC’s impending transition to the Big Ten conference.

The university retained Gina Maisto Smith, a Philadelphia-based attorney from Cozen O’Connor, earlier this year to conduct that review, according to multiple people who attended a meeting earlier this year where the review was announced.

Continue reading story here


May 20th

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Pac-12 rep: “We have encountered no concerns over either ability to get a deal that all of the members will sign off on”

From SportsTalkFlorida … To quote Mark Twain “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Over the past month or so writers and pundits – myself included – have taken to ponder the future of the Pac-12. So, as your faithful seeker of the truth or at least how it is being seen I spoke to a couple of my most trusted sources to see if anything what had changed as Pac 12 attempts to strike a new media deal that will keep everyone where they are for the next five or six years.

JW: How confident are you that you can come to a deal that the members will accept?

A. We stress academics here in the Pac 12 so we can count to 10 and that is the number of partners we want to say yes to a new deal. We only need eight but we will have them all with the deal we present to membership.

JW: Do you feel any cracking or perhaps concern in the membership over the time it has taken to get a deal done?

A. Despite what you may have read online or heard on radio, podcast TV, etc we have encountered no concerns over either ability to get a deal that all of the members will sign off on or that they want to leave. Once we get the vote then comes the Grant of Rights, then we look to the future.

JW: Can you understand the concern of fans and boosters that things are taking so long?

A. I read and hear about the so called four corner schools leaving for the Big 12 soon or that Washington and Oregon are Big Ten bound. We talk to every member on a weekly basis to keep them posted and n a single one of them has said if we don’t get this then we are gone.

So you are confident that you can get a deal that will keep the conference together?

A. Look we know what everyone wants in a deal and we know that it is attainable. I really feel we are  inching closer to deal that not only will make our members happy but will silence our critics. We have gotten very creative in putting together the framework of a deal now we are working to fill all the blanks to make sure this deal is air tight. No one wants to leave the conference and they have told us that in a number of meetings. We now must take that trust and deliver a deal worthy of that trust.

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May 19th

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**USC (and former CU) athletic director Mike Bohn resigns** 

From the LA Times … USC athletic director Mike Bohn has resigned from his position, The Times has learned.

Bohn issued the following statement to The Times:

“After more than 40 years of college athletics leadership, it is the right time to step away from my position as Director of Athletics at the University of Southern California. I have dedicated my life to serving student-athletes and advancing the enterprise of intercollegiate athletics. I will always be proud of leading the program out of the most tumultuous times in the history of the profession and at USC with a restored reputation and national milestone accomplishments. I led the process to join the Big 10 Conference, hired marquee Head Coaches, produced the highest graduation rate in school history and won numerous national and conference championships. As a former student-athlete myself, my purpose and identity are rooted in supporting young people as they pursue their athletic, academic, and personal goals. I have been fortunate to have had so many wonderful opportunities and met so many terrific people, and I depart wishing the very best to all with whom I worked and served. In moving on, it is important now that I focus on being present with my treasured family, addressing ongoing health challenges, and reflecting on how I can be impactful in the future.”

NLRB files an unfair labor complaint against USC, Pac-12, and the NCAA

From ESPN … A legal battle that would open the door for some college athletes to form unions took an expected, yet significant step forward Thursday when the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against the NCAA, the Pac-12 and USC for unfair labor practices.

Those three parties will argue against lawyers from the NLRB in a hearing scheduled for Nov. 7. The hearing is the next step in one of several mounting challenges to the NCAA’s fundamental belief that college athletes are not employees and thus should not be paid directly for their athletic performance.

“The conduct of USC, the Pac-12 conference, and the NCAA, as joint employers, deprives their players of their statutory right to organize and to join together to improve their working and playing conditions if they wish to do so,” said NLRB general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. “Our aim is to ensure that these players, as workers like any other, can fully and freely exercise their rights.”

If athletes — this complaint applies only to football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball players — are viewed as employees under the National Labor Relations Act, they would have the ability to organize and collectively bargain against schools for a larger share of the billions of dollars of revenue generated by college sports each year as well as other workplace protections.

The NCAA has been firm in its stance that college athletes should not be employees of their schools. Several leaders from the association, conference and schools have lobbied Congress in recent months to create a federal law that defines college athletes as non-employees.

The NCAA believes making athletes into employees could lead to a system where athletes could be fired for poor performance and create complications for international athletes as well Title IX compliance, according to the organization’s senior VP of external affairs, Tim Buckley. He said in a statement Thursday that the NCAA believes its rules need to be updated, but that employee status was not the right solution.

“The complaint issued by the region today appears to be driven by a political agenda and is the wrong way to help student-athletes succeed,” Buckley said. “…The Association believes student-athletes, school leaders and the people’s representatives in Congress are best fit to make such wide-ranging changes to college sports.”

In a statement, the Pac-12 said the NLRB’s “allegations are completely at odds with decades of established law and, more importantly, if accepted by the NLRB and the courts, would have a profound and negative impact on college sports and the many student-athletes in our Conference.”

Continue reading story here


May 18th 

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If Pac-12 is going to invite San Diego State, it’s got to be before June 30th

From The Athletic … Everyone out west remains in a holding pattern as administrators await the presentation of the league’s new media rights deal(s). Multiple league sources have told The Athletic that such deals are expected to be announced this summer, and Washington State president Kirk Schulz said the same earlier this month in a conversation with a Wazzu regent.

Schulz attributed the delay in negotiations to “the uncertainty in the economy, the layoffs in the tech sector and other places. … Clearly, the optics are something those folks are really worried about. … If you said when would be the worst time in the last six years to try and negotiate a media deal, probably the last five months is pretty close to the worst.”

“I know our fans are frustrated,” Schulz told Friday. “I ask everybody to be patient because we have more bidders coming to the table, more people interested as the time goes on, and the 10 schools are as unified as I’ve ever seen them.”

The negotiation process is different (and slower) with media companies that have little to no experience with college football rights. ESPN remains involved in the bidding process, too. If there is any package of games on ION or The CW, a source briefed on the negotiations said, it would be very small and for the lowest-tier offerings.

The league still plans to finish its media rights negotiations before adding any members. It is highly unlikely the Pac-12 would add more than two schools to backfill after USC and UCLA depart for the Big Ten in 2024, Pac-12 sources said. It is also possible the league opts to stay at 10 members (assuming it fends off overtures from the Big 12) or adds just one new member and operates as an 11-team league, much like the Big Ten did after it added Penn State.

One important date — not exactly a deadline per se, but a key marker — is June 30, 2023. If San Diego State were to try to leave the Mountain West after that date to join the Pac-12 for the summer of 2024, its exit fee (of about $17 million) would triple. So either the Pac-12 will make its long-awaited decision on the Aztecs by June 30, or the earliest San Diego State could compete in the Pac-12 would be fall 2025.

Although it’s hard to speak in absolutes with the Pac-12’s media deal still in flux, there is optimism among key administrators the deal will be sufficient for the league’s survival and relatively short-term, keeping all current members together with a contract and subsequent grant of rights that stretches anywhere from four to six years. Such an arrangement would stabilize the league for a few years, allowing members to brace for additional poaching efforts ahead of the Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC’s next contract negotiations.

Pac-12 games to have pre-game and halftime locker room cameras; in-game head coach interviews

Press release from the Pac-12 …



May 17th

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EA Sports college video game will feature virtual likenesses of players who opt in

From ESPN … When the first version of a college football video game in years comes out next summer, the virtual likenesses of actual players will be in the game.

An EA Sports representative confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday that it has contracted with OneTeam Partners to “facilitate collegiate athletes’ names and likenesses” into the game, solving one of the major questions about college football’s return to the video game space.

The partnership will include the chance for all eligible FBS players to opt in to have their likenesses in EA Sports College Football, the representative said. Those players will receive compensation for being placed in the game.

Details — such as how much an athlete will receive and the structure of payments — are still being finalized, but the EA Sports representative said the goal is to be “as inclusive and equitable as possible.” On the OneTeam website, the company stated that if the influence of individual sales couldn’t be figured out — including for video game licensing — then “revenue will be divided equally among the athletes included in each licensing program.”

If a player does not want to be in the game, EA Sports would create a generic avatar and player in that athlete’s place.

For participating players, it is possible a face scan of their likenesses could be in the game, the representative said, though not every athlete will receive a face scan because there are thousands of FBS players across the country. The representative said more than 120 FBS schools have committed to being in the game — along with all 10 FBS conferences and the College Football Playoff — with the goal remaining to have every FBS school in the game.

Continue reading story here


May 16th

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Rifts in the ACC: Florida State and Clemson looking into challenging grant of rights agreement

From CBS Sports … Florida State and Clemson are among seven ACC schools examining the conference’s grant of rights agreement amid concerns over the league’s projected financial standing compared to other Power Five conferences, according to multiple reports. ACC spring meetings take place this week in Florida, marking the first time conference administrators have met collectively since Florida State athletic director Michael Alford, in February, called for changes to the league’s equal revenue sharing amid concerns of FSU’s ability to hold weight financially with Big Ten and SEC schools in wake of lucrative new media rights deals.

Action Network and Sports Illustrated are reporting Florida State, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia and Virginia Tech as the seven schools that have met with legal teams in recent months to examine the league’s grant of rights. The ACC’s exclusive media rights deal with ESPN runs through 2036, several years after the conclusion of the deals that soon begin for the SEC and Big Ten. The SEC enters a 10-year media rights deal with ESPN worth $3 billion in 2024, while the Big Ten enters a seven-year deal with NBC, CBS and FOX worth more than $7 billion in total value beginning this season.

Alford, speaking to the FSU board of trustees in February, voiced fears of FSU falling $30 million behind SEC and Big Ten schools annually in calling for the ACC to rethink its revenue sharing approach. The athletic directors at Clemson, Miami and North Carolina later echoed Alford’s concerns as college athletics continues to be rattled by realignment. A pair of historic rivals will be on the move to new homes in 2024 as Oklahoma and Texas leave the Big 12 for the SEC while USC and UCLA exit the Pac-12 for the Big Ten.

“We have to do something because we’re a brand. We’re a very important brand, and we drive the media value in this conference,” Alford said during the February meeting, streamed on YouTube.

More “frank” discussions surrounding the revenue gap are expected to be held during ACC spring meetings, according to Sports Illustrated. But for any speculation — and it’s merely that at this point — of movement from ACC schools, there are several hurdles potential defectors would have to clear. The exit fee for ACC schools is a reported $120 million, and when it comes to breaking the grant of rights, Sports Illustrated reports most attorneys describe the agreement as “airtight.”

Continue reading story here

Report: Oregon and Washington “vetted” and “cleared” by the Big Ten

From … Does it feel like the calm before another conference realignment storm? Well, that just might be the case.

A new report from Brett McMurphy says that the Big Ten Conference may be closer than expected to adding two more Pac-12 teams.

The Oregon Ducks and Washington Huskies have reportedly been “vetted” and “cleared” by the Big Ten. While rumors of the conference’s interest in adding the two Pacific Northwest schools have been floating around for months, this is another step in that direction from one of college football’s most credible reporters.

McMurphy said in an interview with 365 Sports this past week that they are “ready for takeoff,” if things progress in that direction. “It’s just a question of when, or if, the Big Ten want to add those schools,” McMurphy stated.

“I’m told that the Big Ten and FOX do not want to have blood on their hands for being the reason the Pac-12 blew up. In a way, they’re sitting back and waiting to see what happens with Colorado or Arizona. If they leave for the Big 12, that opens the flood gates,” McMurphy added.

The Pac-12 remains in an odd place as the 10 remaining teams wait to see if commissioner George Kliavkoff can right the ship and find a new TV deal that is in the ballpark of the Big 12’s $31.7 million per year per school. Based on the various reporting, it doesn’t appear as if the league is going to come close to that number.

Add on that the differences between the two conferences when it comes to direction and enthusiasm.

Continue reading story here


May 13th

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G5 Transfer Portal Issues: “We’re becoming a Triple-A farm system”

From The Athletic … Ten days before college football’s spring transfer deadline, a Group of 5 head coach was fighting off covert efforts to swipe some of his best players.

This coach had buddies on SEC coaching staffs warning him. They were walking into their recruiting departments and noticing his players on highlight videos. “They let me know, ‘Coach, watch out. They’re about to take your kids,’” he said. He has won a few tug-of-wars with Power 5 schools trying to pay top dollar to poach his players. When one program recently tried to make an offer for one of his top offensive players, the senior brought it to the head coach. He called that school’s offensive coordinator, called him out and put a stop to it.

“Everybody keeps saying: Why won’t these coaches tell on each other?” the coach said. “I will if it gets to that point. So far, every time it’s happened, I’ve called the guy on the phone and they know I will go public. I’ve got enough evidence that would be bloody for them.”

Five years into the transfer portal era, Group of 5 coaches have come to accept that tampering is a fact of life and isn’t going anywhere. You win in these jobs by finding, signing and developing overlooked talent. But as soon as those players start thriving, transferring up becomes tempting.

Many times, players are simply betting on themselves and aiming for the NFL. But as more Power 5 staffs embrace advanced scouting of other teams’ rosters, the logical next step is persuading players to leave and locking them up before they hit the market. Coaches at the G5 level feel powerless to actually stop it. They don’t have the money to prevent it and don’t count on the NCAA to police it.

“When you’re not getting devastated by the portal, it’s not anything you’re doing right or wrong,” one veteran Group of 5 head coach said. “It’s just a blessing is all it is. Because it’s just a matter of time before you get picked apart. It’s not set up for success for the Group of 5 in any way, shape or form.”

The Athletic spoke with more than a dozen coaches and personnel staffers at Group of 5 and lower-tier Power 5 schools about tampering they’ve experienced and what they’re up against in this transactional age of roster management. They declined to speak on the record. Coaches rarely do: They know causing drama or villainizing players doesn’t reflect well on their programs, they rarely have actionable proof and they know almost everybody’s doing it. And so tampering persists as a regular yet unregulated part of the player movement market.

“In the old days, you recruited your class, right? Now, you re-recruit your class every year,” the first head coach said. “That’s the most amazing story: If I get through this cycle and I don’t lose any of these kids, it’s gonna be a miracle.”

The coach did not get a miracle. One week after he spoke with The Athletic, he lost one of his best players to the portal. Everything seemed to be fine and then, one day, it wasn’t. The coach chose not to make things “bloody.” He didn’t have enough proof. He didn’t see the point of fighting.

“Don’t want to comment on it,” he said in a text message.

These coaches want to believe the ideals of college football program building — relationships, trust, culture — still matter today. But those who have been burned by transfer tampering in recent years tend to arrive at an unnerving conclusion.

“It certainly crosses your mind that we’re becoming a Triple-A farm system type of thing,” one Group of 5 general manager said. “That’s where we’re possibly heading.”

More than 1,100 scholarship players from Group of 5 schools have entered the NCAA transfer portal since August, and almost 600 of them have made commitments. So far, 200 are transferring to Power 5 schools. Sixty-four of those 200 earned all-conference honors last season.

Continue reading story here


May 11th 

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Stewart Mandel: If you were Deion Sanders, would you be pushing for CU to join the Big 12? 

From The Athletic

If you are Deion Sanders, would you be pushing for Colorado to stay in the Pac-12 or to go to the Big 12? If the media rights money is about the same, which conference provides the better chance to turn around the program and get into a 12-team playoff? — Greg in Dunwoody, Ga.

Only Deion could say what he prioritizes in terms of conference membership, but if he’s like most coaches, he cares primarily about one thing and one thing only: recruiting. Which conference gives his program the ability to recruit the most blue-chip prospects? (Although, after convincing the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2022 to sign with Jackson State, the answer may be “it doesn’t matter.”)

On the one hand, there’s a strong case to be made that it’s the Big 12, entirely because of the conference’s roots in Texas. If I could only have access to one of these two states to fill my roster, California or Texas, I’m picking the latter. Not to mention Deion is royalty in Dallas. And I’m not just talking about high school recruits. So many programs around the country take kids out of Texas; when they enter the portal, many want to either come back to the state or at least play there frequently.

On the flip side, though, having Texas as a base has not helped any of the current Big 12 programs (minus Texas and Oklahoma) land hordes of four- and five-star talent. As has been well documented, none of the so-called Leftover Eight, nor the four incoming schools, have regularly signed Top 25 classes, though TCU, first under Gary Patterson and now Sonny Dykes, has been cracking the list every two or three years recently. (It finished No. 23 this year.)

Conversely, the Pac-12 left-behinds include recruiting power Oregon and frequent Top 25 finishers Washington and Stanford (pre-downturn). It can be done. Furthermore, we know the top West Coast players are more open than ever to leaving the Pacific time zone for college — see Bryce Young (Alabama), C.J. Stroud (Ohio State), Brock Bowers (Georgia), Xavier Worthy (Texas), Henry To’o To’o (Tennessee) and many more. One could easily see Deion stepping up and intercepting some of those guys and plopping them down in Boulder rather than Columbus or Athens.

I don’t have a definitive opinion one way or the other. I also don’t know what other considerations might be at play for the university.

I do know this: If, in your scenario, Colorado did jump to the Big 12, it would be the first time in modern realignment history that a school changed conferences because “the media rights money is about the same.”


May 10th 

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Big Ten “strongly considering” removing its requirement for league teams to play Power Five non-conference opponents

From … The Big Ten is “strongly considering” removing its requirement for league teams to play a Power 5 nonconference team, starting in 2024, sources told Action Network. Big Ten teams also would be allowed to continue scheduling Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponents, sources said.

In 2024, the Big Ten grows to a 16-team league with the additions of USC and UCLA. Although the league’s scheduling format has not been officially determined, the Big Ten is expected to continue with a nine-game league schedule “unless something crazy happens,” a source said.

If the change is made, Big Ten teams could still schedule games against Power 5 non-conference opponents, but it would no longer be required.

Since 2016, the Big Ten began “requiring” league members to play at least one nonconference Power 5 opponent annually. However, Big Ten schools could ask the league office for exemptions for other programs not in a Power 5 league to count as its requirement.

Besides teams from the other Power 5 leagues – ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC – plus Notre Dame, several non-Power 5 programs counted toward the Power 5 requirement. That includes the three service academy schools — Army, Navy and Air Force — along with BYU, Cincinnati, UConn and others.

Ironically, the removal of the Big Ten’s Power 5 nonconference requirement would occur the first year that the College Football Playoff expands to 12 teams.
This season, Michigan is the only Big Ten school that did not schedule a Power 5 nonconference opponent (the second consecutive season UM didn’t schedule a Power 5 nonconference team). Only three programs — Northwestern, Ohio State and Rutgers — scheduled an FCS opponent in 2023.

After Notre Dame plays an FCS opponent this fall, future Big Ten member USC will become the only Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) school that has never played an FCS opponent.

Even though the Big Ten is expected to remove its Power 5 nonconference opponent requirement starting in 2024, each Big Ten school already has scheduled a Power 5 nonconference opponent in at least three of the four seasons between 2024-27.

What’s unknown is whether or not those Big Ten schools will keep those future Power 5 nonconference opponents or adjust their future schedules by playing fewer Power 5 teams out of conference.


May 9th

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CBS Pac-12 projections: Travis Hunter the Pac-12’s best player not named Caleb Williams

From CBS Sports … With spring football over in the Pac-12, the clock is ticking on the conference’s final days with its full, 12-team form. With UCLA and USC departing for the Big Ten next summer, both teams look to make a splash in their own ‘Last Dance’ in the conference.

The collection of starting quarterback play in the Pac-12 should be its best in years. There’s a wealth of returners at the position, including Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. New blood also joins the fold in UCLA’s Dante Moore and Arizona State’s Jaden Rashada, both of whom are pushing for starting jobs.

The Pac-12 hasn’t reached the College Football Playoff since Washington in 2016. Last year, USC was on the doorstep of breaking that drought before falling to Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Could this be the season the Trojans break that streak? Here are some overreactions heading into the fall that may come to fruition.


Travis Hunter becomes the Pac-12’s best player not named Caleb Williams: It’s not every day that a former top-ranked player in his class hits the transfer portal but that’s exactly what happened with Hunter. The former No. 1 player from the 2022 cycle by 247Sports followed Deion Sanders from Jackson State to Colorado, where he is destined for stardom. Hunter showed flashes at Jackson State playing on both sides of the ball as a cornerback and wide receiver, and that role is expected to be even larger this fall. Hunter missed a handful of games last fall due to an injury, and this will be his season to shine. He should play both ways with the Buffs and may even handle some special team duties. Hunter has the potential to become an All-Pac-12 player and should be considered one of the best players in the conference.

Read full story here

Iowa State reports betting by players (including members of the football team)

From CBS Sports … Multiple Iowa State athletes, including football players, allegedly participated in online gambling as more cases pop up around the college landscape. At least 15 players across multiple reports have been implicated in the probe, according to the university. In addition to football players, wrestling and track athletes were allegedly involved in the rule-breaking. No details of the violations were released at the time, and it’s unclear what punishments these players could face.

“The university has notified the NCAA and will take the appropriate actions to resolve those issues,” said an Iowa State statement.

Gambling is legal in the state of Iowa, but athletes are barred from participating through NCAA rules to avoid potential conflicts of interest or tampering in competition.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has already opened an investigation into Iowa’s baseball team surrounding alleged violations. Four players did not participate in the Hawkeyes’ series against Ohio State. Alabama fired baseball coach Brad Bohannon on Thursday after reports of “suspicious wagering activity.” It was later alleged that Bohannon was directly communicating with a gambler as bets were placed.

“Ensuring the integrity of athletic competition is our highest priority, and for that purpose, the SEC monitors gambling activity through its relationship with US Integrity and has done so since 2018,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement.

Continue reading story here


May 8th

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Big 12 exploring modernizing telecasts (in-game interviews; access to locker rooms)

From Sports Illustrated … The Big 12 is exploring a plan with its media partners to modernize the broadcast of its football games, including having live in-game interviews, more access to locker rooms before and after games, and recording live audio of its coaches before the game and beyond.

During meetings here this week, Big 12 administrators and football coaches discussed the plan at length, according to multiple officials who were part of the discussions. No other details were available, and a league spokesperson declined comment.

Modernizing game broadcasts is a small piece of a larger plan that first-year commissioner Brett Yormark is leading. Coming to college sports from an entertainment agency, Yormark enters with an innovative agenda that he hopes will propel the conference. In his first few months on the job, the league plans to play conference games in Mexico, has somewhat rebranded the league and plans a concert tour of music acts.

Continue reading story here


May 6th

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Are media partner layoffs behind the delay in Pac-12 media rights deal announcement? 

From the San Jose Mercury News … Details of the Pac-12’s media rights negotiations have been hidden from view for the better part of 10 months, with no issue more mysterious than the extended time frame. Even a handful of university presidents expected the process to have wrapped up earlier this spring.

Now, it appears the saga could last into the summer.

Why the delay? One of those very same presidents has offered crucial insight.

“I think it’s just the environment,” Washington State’s Kirk Schulz said this week. “It’s the uncertainty in the economy, the layoffs in the tech sector and other places.

“I know at least one of the partners we were talking to said, ‘We’re ready to sign today, but the optics of us announcing that we’re laying off X number of people and we signed a multimillion dollar deal with the Pac-12 are just not the best, so we’re going to have to wait six weeks.’

“Clearly, the optics are something those folks are really worried about.”

Schulz’s comments came during a wide-ranging conversation about college athletics with WSU regent (and retired journalist) Enrique Cerna that was published by the university on YouTube.

He became the first Pac-12 president to offer a specific explanation for the delay following months of rumors and whispers about the holdup.

His comments suggest the conference is deep in negotiations with either ESPN or Amazon, if not both. Why? Because ESPN is undergoing several rounds of layoffs as part of cost-cutting moves by its parent company, Disney, and Amazon announced recently that it would eliminate 9,000 jobs this spring.

(A third media company believed to be negotiating with the conference, Apple, has not announced mass layoffs thus far.)

“If you said when would be the worst time in the last six years to try and negotiate a media deal,” Schulz told Cerna, “probably the last five months is pretty close to the worst.”

Continue reading story here


May 5th

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Pac-12 Spring lessons: The bottom tier is much improved

From the San Jose Mercury News … Pac-12 football programs experienced exactly the type of spring practice they wanted ahead of the most anticipated season in years: an uneventful one (with the exception of Colorado).

There were no trajectory-altering injuries, no chemistry-rattling incidents and no headline-generating developments across the footprint (with the exception of Colorado).

While uncertainty over the future of the conference lingered — the media rights negotiations have entered their 11th month — the on-field product appears relatively stable.

Quarterback competitions and leadership vacuums are sparse, and havoc caused by the transfer portal appears contained to a few position groups on a handful of teams (with the exception of, eh, never mind).

The conference began the offseason cycle with at least four teams (Utah, Washington, Oregon and USC), and as many as six (UCLA and Oregon State), likely to appear in the AP preseason poll.

It’s ending spring practice in the same situation.

So what did we learn? Let’s dive in …

Pay close attention to the teams on the bottom tier of the standings last season.

Even if its performance doesn’t match the Sanders hype, Colorado will be significantly more competitive.

Same with Arizona State as the clouds of the Herm Edwards era have been removed.

And we expect Arizona to continue its ascent under Jedd Fisch.

(The outlook for Cal and Stanford isn’t as bright.)

In a zero-sum regular season, the bottom of the conference impacts the top. The Pac-12 needs a handful of bad teams in order to make wins readily available for the good ones.

Last season, six teams won at least nine games because Cal and ASU were weak and Stanford and Colorado were awful.

But if the bottom improves — and it should — the top could suffer as a result.

Parity is the enemy of playoff bids.

Read full story here


May 4th

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Power Five Coaches weigh in CU moves: “It’s a tremendous risk to replace all of those guys”

From The Athletic … The text messages came flying in from all over the country on April 24, a chorus of coaches and recruiters seeking clarity.

What’s going on at Colorado?

First-year coach Deion Sanders and his staff were in the middle of a roster dump the likes of which college football had never seen in the modern recruiting era. Eighteen scholarship players entered the NCAA transfer portal in one day. Thirty by the end of the week.

Colorado’s efforts to dramatically flip its roster have generated national attention, but the people in college football watching the proceedings most closely are those whose day-to-day roles revolve around roster management.

“What we know is all eyes across all of college football are gonna be on Colorado,” one Big 12 director of player personnel said. “It will impact the future of college football markedly for the next generation, one way or another.”

The Athletic spoke with a dozen Power 5 head coaches and recruiting staff members about this unprecedented flip, the risks behind what Colorado is attempting and what it will take for this to succeed. Recruiting staffers spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Several of them recently went through rebuilds and fully understand that Year 1 is the time to make these changes, especially for a team coming off a 1-11 season that was outscored 521-165. But as they watch this new strategy unfold, many wonder whether Colorado’s staff went too far in pushing out as many players as they did, clearing room for as many as 70 newcomers.

After all the cuts and exits last week, the Buffaloes were down to 60 scholarship players on board for their 2023 team. They needed to go add 25 more for their No. 1 ranked transfer class. It’s just one of the many aspects of this flip that experienced recruiters consider confounding.

“It’s a tremendous risk to replace all of those guys,” an ACC recruiting director said. “It’s an experiment that has never happened on this big of a scale.”

And it’s an experiment that pits Coach Prime against the college coaching establishment.

Among those dozen scholarship players who played for Colorado in 2022, there’s not one quarterback, wide receiver, defensive lineman or cornerback. Anthony Hankerson is the only running back left. Trevor Woods is the lone returning safety.

“I can appreciate the aggression and the urgency to essentially bust things down to the studs and start over,” a Pac-12 director of player personnel (DPP) said. “My concern is the rapid hemorrhaging of personnel within specific position rooms. They have an unfathomably low amount of scholarship players in some rooms that demand high-volume personnel.

“I’d be less worried about culture and locker room dynamics right now in Year 1 than I would be about having enough players to line up and stay healthy.”

A total of 53 scholarship players have left the program since Sanders was hired in December. Only three other FBS programs have lost more than 30 in 2022-23: Ole Miss (32), Oregon (32) and Louisiana Monroe (31). Arizona State has pursued its own aggressive roster shake-up in Year 1 under coach Kenny Dillingham and will end up bringing in more than 50 new scholarship players. The Sun Devils have lost 29 to the portal to do so. College coaches and staffers recognize that losing 20-plus players in one offseason is becoming common. Losing 50-plus players is not common.

Colorado now has 66 scholarship players on board for 2023 after adding a commitment from Washington transfer edge rusher Sav’ell Smalls, a former five-star recruit, on Tuesday and landing transfer cornerback Omarion Cooper (Florida State) and receiver Tar’Varish Dawson Jr. (Auburn) on Monday. To get back to the 85-man scholarship limit, the Buffaloes would need to add 19 more.

There are more than 900 uncommitted scholarship players still available in the transfer portal. More than 400 left Power 5 schools, with 256 of them entering during the spring transfer window. It won’t be hard to pick 19 who’d happily accept a Colorado scholarship offer. The tricky question: How good are those players?

“It is just absolutely unreasonable to think you can sign 25 players out of the spring transfer portal and make your team better,” the Big 12 DPP said, “unless the players they had were just that bad, which I don’t buy. In the end, is the sum of the 25 new guys going to be greater than the sum of the 25 old guys? Man, I don’t know.”

“It has to be a significant upgrade in order to want to trade guys out,” one recruiting coordinator with Pac-12 and SEC experience argued.

Continue reading story here


May 2nd

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Further Big Ten expansion: “Not at the top of our list”

From The Athletic …  With USC and UCLA set to join the Big Ten next summer, the conference is about 14 months away from becoming a 16-school league. But will the Big Ten grow beyond that anytime soon?

Conference expansion is “not really at the top of our list at the moment,” University of Illinois chancellor Robert J. Jones told The Athletic.

“Our first priority is to successfully integrate UCLA and USC,” he said. “At the same time, we know that the landscape is shifting and, for us, it’s a time to be very thoughtful and analytical. … Are we thinking about (realignment)? Of course. We’re doing analysis, the cost, the benefits of staying at 16 or moving up. It’s not something we’re going to do just to react to what other conferences may choose to do. We’re only going to do what’s best for our current membership, and there has to be some value added for expanding beyond.”

Jones, the chair of the Big Ten’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors, represented the group at new Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti’s introductory news conference Friday. He said he’s “less concerned” about the travel and logistics surrounding the Los Angeles schools than he was initially after recent conversations with his peers at both schools. USC and UCLA already travel quite a bit in Pac-12 play, Jones said, and he expected the Big Ten to schedule strategically to maximize each trip in various sports, likely playing more than one opponent in one location.

… “I’d be lying if I said we weren’t thinking about it,” Jones said. “But it’s not at the top of the list. There’s no sense of urgency about it at this point.”

Read full story here


May 1st

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ESPN: Transfer Portal now closed – What to make of CU’s mass exodus? 

From ESPN … College football’s spring transfer portal window closed on Sunday, with more than 1,000 FBS and FCS players having added their names into the portal.

The transfer has become a fixture of college football roster management since its inception in the fall of 2018. During the first cycle in 2018-19, there were 2,405 NCAA football players who entered the portal, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. From August 2022 through January 2023, 6,202 NCAA players entered the portal, including 2,729 in December 2022 alone.

The winter window saw plenty of activity, including quarterback Sam Hartman transferring from Wake Forest to Notre Dame, defensive back Travis Hunter following coach Deion Sanders from Jackson State to Colorado, and linebacker Dasan McCullough transferring to Oklahoma after a year at Indiana.

There was no shortage of movement in April, either. Cornerback Storm Duck, who transferred from North Carolina to Penn State in the winter, reentered the portal last month and found another landing spot in Louisville. ESPN’s No. 1-ranked spring transfer Bear Alexander, a defensive tackle who had a sack in the national championship game, left Georgia for USC. Former Notre Dame starting quarterback Tyler Buchner committed to Alabama. And more than 30 Colorado players have entered the portal in the past two weeks.

Who are the biggest names of this transfer cycle? Which teams did a good job at filling needs? Which teams have bigger holes to fill? And what could the future of the recruiting calendar look like? Tom Luginbill, Adam Rittenberg, Tom VanHaaren and Craig Haubert break down the spring transfer window.

What do you make of the mass exodus from Colorado this spring?

Luginbill: I’m sure Colorado has a plan. At least I hope the Buffaloes do. But I don’t think folks truly understand how bad this roster was when Coach Prime inherited it. Yes, the additions of Travis Hunter, freshman Dylan Edwards and QB Shedeur Sanders are upgrades, but this roster has a long way to go.

More than 23 players have entered the portal since the conclusion of the spring game (I’m sure many by design), but the question has to be asked: How many players can Colorado get between now and the training camp who actually upgrade its roster? More than 50 players have entered the portal from Colorado since prior to the 2022 season. The Buffaloes don’t just need bodies, they need dudes.

Haubert: Godspeed to the individual updating Colorado’s printed program, because many changes are underway at the school. Dozens of players have entered the portal during this window, and as Luginbill mentioned, much of this is likely part of a big-picture plan by the new staff inheriting a program coming off a one-win season. It was clear watching the Buffaloes this spring that this was a roster with a decisive drop-off between some starters/stars and No. 2 or 3 on the depth chart, and the overall talent needs to be improved.

Can the Buffaloes make those needed upgrades, especially with the bodies needed to get through a long season, in terms of dealing with injuries and executing functional practices? There is a talent and cultural shift underway that will likely benefit this program down the road, but in the meantime with this type of turnover, there seems little room for error this coming season.

Rittenberg: No team has more holes to plug — not just in the starting lineup but throughout the depth chart. I’ve spoken to those at Colorado who insist this was the plan all along, and Sanders has been transparent about it. They say the team will pick up enough quality amid the quantity in May and June.

I’ve also spoken to sources who insist the staff did not want certain players to leave, especially starters like offensive tackle Jake Wiley and cornerback Nikko Reed. There’s little doubt Colorado will add some notable names, but will there be enough to fill out a roster?

VanHaaren: The focus has been on the players who were cut and asked to move on, but as Adam noted, there are players the staff wanted to keep as well. Some of this should be chalked up to a new staff with normal attrition when a change is made. But when combining the number of players who were told there isn’t a spot on the roster with the players who decided this wasn’t for them, it has put Colorado in a unique spot.

I have spoken to a few players who left the program who said they didn’t feel as though there was a family atmosphere at Colorado and wanted to seek other opportunities. If that wasn’t accounted for in Colorado’s plan, then Sanders needs to figure out a way to fill those holes. This isn’t just about the star players or the early contributors; the Buffaloes need depth on special teams and in case of injuries. Losing this number of players could impact the next few years if they continue to see attrition and can’t backfill the numbers.

Read full story here


125 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

    1. I think adding teams for the sake of #’s is a bad proposition. SDSU could be a good pick-up, but none of the others bring very much–and they need/want 12. You can’t add that 12th if they bring very little to the table.

      If you ask me, if the B-12 wants to expand so much, then have them bring in Rice, SMU and Tulane. Perhaps, the PAC could somehow wrangle BYU away and that would be a good fit with SDSU.

    2. “Fit: 7.5/10 … Likeliness: 6.5/10”
      “How much that is worth in this modern day of college football, is hard to tell. ”
      (The SI nimrod of nimrod’s words.)
      At the risk of beating a dead horse guys like him keep proving my point sports media is in the crapper

  1. Can we just move the Big 12 please and end this?
    ‘The dye is cast’…Have moved 180 degrees as a lifelong Pac10 follower, would rather it leave a solid legacy than continue as a watered-down entity, like an aging superstar.

    1. The speculation is like a never ending soap opera but I would much rather the PAC stay together than the Buffs return to the dust bowl conference.

  2. Derrick White has become the talk of the NBA… amazing to think how he was playing in Div. II when Tad recruited him.

  3. Although we all know the pitfalls of uneven distribution (and conferences being dominated by the loudest voices), that might be the likeliest mechanism for keeping the Pac-12 together with a weak media. I would insist, though, that the distribution percentages be ‘re-ranked’ either 1-2 years so teams like Oregon or Utah don’t monopolize their current high standing in football. I remember when Oregon was trash in the Pac-10 and there’s no reason they should be rewarded for just being Uncle Phil’s team… he won’t be around forever and they will likely regress in the not too distant future unless they are artificially inflated again by uneven distribution.

  4. The fact that Narduzzi didn’t have to deal with the current state of College football when he started makes it easy to spit out his “holier than thou” comments. In my opinion, what is really bad for College football is the nearly unlimited transfer portal. CU has been a major victim of this. I also believe that if the players want all of these benefits like NIL, which I believe is fair by the way, or the ability to transfer at pretty much any point, etc. then you also have to live with consequences, like what is going on at Colorado. After all, if you want to try to manipulate the system in life, be prepared to be manipulated (or simply stated as live by the sword, die by the sword). I no longer have any sympathy for any of these players if it doesn’t go their way.

    1. Agree completely. We watched CU being poached by the ranked schools year after year, some left with their coach who got a job at the same school; no tampering/talking with players before they left there?! (What is the proper punctuation for Sarcasm?)

      Year after year, coaching changes and transfers (out) kept CU as one of the younger roster in the conference. So we’ve been there and done that, and bitched about it, so not sorry to finally be on the flip side! For the first time in how many years CU is finally going to have a mature team?

      Per Howell’s chat: “They have 21 guys that are in their 5th, 6th or 7th year of college and another 14 that are in their 4th year.”

      That’s 35 guys with 3 plus years of playing /development time. A few spent time recovering from an injury and are in their last year to impress; nothing short of another injury is going to stop them from doing their best to get that NFL film! For the first time in a long time CU has a full class of seniors and older grad students (21! PLUS*), that maturity is going to make a big difference. The last time CU had 22 seniors (if memory serves) they won the South. Have they had a senior filled class since?

      It’s all because of the coaches that CU is attracting those players, they’re not lining up to play at Pit, so waaa.

      The coaches have more playing… Err head coaching and overall coaching experience too. Yes CU had a couple of older coaches, but they seemed to be destined to be position coaches at mid level programs, with an occasional rising star that would be poached too. But now CU has a successful ex-head coaches as their OC and other coaches with experience at major programs mixed with up and coming coaches, all following Prime here to do something special.

      *Note: Many of those have been through Covid’s extra year and some have a 4 game redshirt under their belt too, others a medical year, but that adds up to a lot of experienced at 22 & 23+ years old. Much better when demanding more from them than a team of 18-20 y.o. with small class of Jr & Sr. to try to lead the way.

  5. Nartuzzi is a nimrod. The rules are a ot different now than 8 years ago. Coach Prime didn’t make the rules and he certainly didn’t break the rules. I imagine the Pitt coach is still angry that the Internet was invented and longs for the day when 8 track tapes were the norm. What a wallower in the olden days of yore

    1. not just a nimrod but a pure bred female dog. I’m sure the team he inherited didnt go 1-11 and hadn’t been to bowl game in 8 years and got slaughtered in that one. Great ………one more team to root against. Add em to he list with Baylor, any team jumbo fisher coaches and of course the feedlot cobbs

  6. Sorry Pat Narduzzi if your virtuous criticism of Sanders registers a big fat Pfft with me. In 2015 he inherited a Pittsburgh Panthers team that finished 6-7 in 2014…missing a chance at finishing 7-6 when it lost to Houston in the 2014 Armed Forces Bowl. Aside from the fact that there was no transfer portal then for him to imagine what he would have done, he would do well to remember that he wouldn’t have even gotten the Pitt job had Paul Chryst not decided to go to the BIG and take the Wisconsin job.

  7. Stuart, I am going to have some fun with this post… at the expense of those Wile-E-Coyote Super Genius type writing for Heartland: “”Extra, Extra, Washington and Oregon “vetted” and “cleared” by Big 10.”” This reminds me of that Bob Knight interview when he was spinning the glass to see into the future…. Hmmm… Then the business lawyer gets the better of me– with what sort of “vetting” would be necessary:

    From the business “vetting.”:
    1. I guess the teams would have to make more money for the conference what lose money? (Off Bob Knight, I’m spinning and looking into the glass now…; I see dollar signs);
    2. We need to look into Uncle Phil and the UW boosters wallets;
    3. Vegas needs to think it is a good idea;
    2. The TV folks need to be on board;
    4. USC and UCLA’s models would have to work too…

    Legal vetting:
    1. Extra precautions need to be made so the Duck cannot bring Bird Flu or contract Flu in B1G country; Also, that Huskey will needs all its shot and to be on the look out of deer ticks and hantavirus. Good gracious, if the Huskey is ravenous, perhaps only the Wolverine or Badger would even be able to put up a fight (there are No Blue Lions, and CA Briuns have been extinct for years); I think the Duck would be okay, if he could fly!;
    2. It is agreed all new athletes must wear “the mask,” regardless of CoVid emergency status;
    3. When travelling in New Jersey (NY too) or certain parts of Penn, new admittees of the B1G need to be on the lookout for free money, gambling, and 55 gallon drums, as if they stray, they could float in the East River;
    4. If USC or UCLA have an exclusive, the other Presidents just vote to screw them and then litigate the liquidated damages.

    As for the “Clearance” portion there must have been a committee:
    1. Greg Shiano (Isn’t he Rutgers anyways);
    2. Some Cornhusker thing running around in chicken suit;
    3. Barry Alverez (I love this guy), but he would be 3 servings of pasta in;
    4. Someone even fatter than Gov Pritzker to represent ILL (they may run out of food);
    5. Jay Paterno (I think they got rid of the trustees);
    6. President, Iowa Farm Bureau;
    7. IU–the ghost of Murrey Spurberger;

    That must have been one heck of a Vetting and Clearance process!! LOL

  8. “It’s just a question of when, or if, the Big Ten want to add those schools,” McMurphy stated

    This is something new?

    And the infinity of rankings continues. Won’t be long before they are ranking the cleaners the maintenance crews use on the locker rooms. Breaking news!!! Ohio State has signed a contract with “Jock Itch Begone”

    Sports media is mostly crap

  9. …so the Big Ten steals away USC and UCLA (and is poised to also take Oregon and Washington), but they “don’t want to look like the bad guys”

    That dye has already been cast

    1. I too thought that was awesome spin.

      Ultimately? I think it is 65-80 teams, in regional divisions, competing for the super bowl, I mean college football championship. Brought to you by big fox and secspn. And their streaming affiliates.

      Go Buffs

  10. Having Oregon & UW to go along with USC & UCLA makes sense for the B1G, but that’s only three schools for each to play and still a lot of travel for the rest of the conference games. Man I wish that CU and Utah or another PAC school could get into the Big and that would give the conference six western state schools; one more and they have a whole pod, like the 14 that are now split into West & East.

    The Big12 after UT & OU leave is just a mirror of what the PAC will be like if the commish can’t get a good deal.

  11. On the Iowa State thing, it will be interesting to see if some of those betting is an unintended consequence of NIL money. The Bama baseball coach is a total idiot. I think that schools, administrative betting regulators, and the NCAA will probably find more of this, across a bunch of schools. IMO, betting issues can be the death knell of any athletic team or even athletic department as a whole.

    Also, the San Jose Mercury News article posted 3 down, has pretty good information on the headwinds of making a TV deal. The TV industry as a whole is just getting hammered financially and with the cord cutting. When we look at the early PAC projections for this coming season, the PAC has 5-6 teams in the top-25, albeit two of them are USC and UCLA–which is a resurgence. When those teams leave, if the PAC gets 4 in the top-25, I think the conference will be fine. For CU, so long as Prime is here and taking up so much oxygen, CU will find its way onto TV. The over-under wins betting numbers are so weird, as I read in one article CU is #7 in bets from them to win the playoffs; and no pronosticator is even really projecting a bowl game!

  12. A more realistic statement would have been “It’s a tremendous risk to keep all of those guys,” Deion said he was going to replace and he has. If Saban were brought in, he would have done the same and been declared a visionary genius.

  13. Of the PAC does have to dissolve one of these days I would much rather the Buffs go to the B1G. If covering time zones mean anything Utah and CU may have a chance over WA and OR. Prime not becoming the Buff’s version of Scott Frost would also help.

    1. It really sucks that CU fell while UW rose back to the Don James era in wins, had CU maintained their position after Mac left, CU would probable either be a candidate, leaving for (like USC) or already in the B1G. CU was yearly in the top 25 (top half and higher) of college football rankings. The Buffs were also in the top 25, I think around #16 in wins, both the total number of wins and the percent of wins and was loved by a national audience in their New Year’s Bowl games appearances and the Thanksgiving Weekend (Friday) games.

      I believe if Mac had stayed just one more year and tricky rick was sent packing (took another HC or OC opportunity), and the right coach (like a KW @ Utah) followed, that CU would have never fell the way they did.

      And whatever happened to that all important organization that Mac left CU to build? One more year and a different set of Head Coaches to follow could have been all the difference.

  14. I suppose its inescapable to talk only about the players in relation to 1-11 when flipping over 3/4s of the team. No one mentions the coaching contribution, which was horrid,.
    I understand what CP is doing with the big flip now that college football has come out of the professional closet. Still its hard to see a handful of players go who, in spite of the clown coaching last year, proved themselves in a miserable team situation. When the money is at stake there is no room for loyalty or legacy.
    The one thing I see improving the most is the depth albeit with some players who may not be all that much better than the best ones who left.
    Back to coaching. It looks and sounds like the OC position is in good hands. I just hope the tempo thing isnt the only arrow in the quiver. Lewis has been quoted as a run first coach. Of course that may not be the case with the HC’s kid being the QB. Thats also the reason Hunter appears to be a most time WR. That may have to change after a few games. If it does they may wind up missing MLC and/or JT.
    The D? who knows?
    In any case it will be the coach’s task to get 80 players who are on the same team for the first time together enough to avoid looking like the keystone cops in one preseason practice session.

    1. On the flipping of the 3’s/4’s on the team, for the guys that were here and played in some games and travelled with the team, it would be a bitter pill to swallow if a good prospect were told they could stay and be relegated to the Scout team. Some blame goes on the coaching, but CU was sort of stuck with Midnight Mel leaving. KD gave a decent CoVid season, but the lack of talent really showed against Texas in the Bowl game, as well as the 2nd half of the Utah game. CU might have stayed with Utah that game, had Nate Landman not got hurt.

      It think a bunch of it was CU just not being very good and not able to recruit for many years. Also, for whatever reason, this past season it did not seem like most of the guys were lifting year around and getting bigger/stronger etc… That is on the coaches and mostly the S&C coach. I think part of KD’s problems were his changes at the coordinator positions. The new guys were not dynamic.

      This regime’s coaches will be tasked getting 53-65 players on the same page with a new install on both offense and defense. That is a huge lift and may take 5 games even with better talent and experienced transfers.

  15. CU should at least receive some kind of Finder’s Fee for Blackmon and Gonzalez being drafted… we found them first (!)

    1. Agreed. Props to both of those guys– to me they are CU guys, even if they did one year of finishing school elsewhere. Special props to Blackmon, who battled through so many injuries. That is a feel good story for me.

  16. Here comes Dennis Dodd again. A previous poster described him pretty much as a paid schill for the Big 12. Starting look very true from where I sit too.
    And if the Buffs go 3 and 0 to start the season I know the TV rights will be worth more. Hopefully any decision to stay or go will be delayed until then.

    1. Agreed. Dodd’s article on Prime said the Buff’s looked “small” in the Spring game albeit from a tv lens. I guess he never watched a game from the sideline last year, or last years’ Spring game. The guys Prime is brought in are bigger and in much better football shape. Props to Louis Passarello, the kid looks like he put on 90 pounds of muscle! No wonder he got a number.

      On all the roster turn over he said: Don’t hate the player, hate the game. LOL

      On the conference stuff, it will come down to: 1) the TV deal–I think if it is somewhat close to ACC/B-12, they will stay together; 2) if the North teams (Ore and UW) have no place to go–(I have always got the feeling that USC/UCLA have an exclusive of sorts to keep the West Coast schools out for a few years; and 3) if the B1G is not interested in CU or Utah, they could make more sense in the short term for the B1G.

      Finally, IMO, the longer the PAC12/10 goes staying together, I think that they will ride it out. On the 4 corner schools going to the B12, I’m not so sure UoA or ASU are all that appealing in football since by state law the August, Sept and even some Oct games are required to be played at night. That sucks, because their OOC games are either on the road or at-night.

      1. Even at night I’m sure the temperature is responsible for some of their success. Every other team in the PAC aside from their state rival has to feel the heat. I had to spend a night in
        Phoenix when I missed a connection. Walked out of the airport at 10pm when it was still 102. When its dark it really feels weird and suffocating.

        1. Our family is from AZ, and it is just a tough place to play early season. I think UNLV suffers this in Vegas. They probably need a Dome/Retractable roof, but an athletic department cannot really afford that and the tax payers will not front the bill either. They cost a ton to operate.

          Also, specifically ASU that has to compete with so many sports down there, and they have Cardinal stadium.

    1. Whoever thinks we ARE NOT going to get national attention come September, are living life in a fog.

      BEING IN THE CENTER OF ALL THIS ATTENTION AND CURIOSITY is going to be positive or negative and we’ll have to live with it. 2024-25 and beyond could be determined by how well the Buffs do in the first 5-6 games.

      Recruiting – fortunately or unfortunately – might be affected one way or the other, even with Coach Prime commanding the coach’s office.

      I don’t mean to be a naysayer of doom, I’m just hoping the offensive and defenses get coordinated and that the talent we are hoping for surfaces.

      GO BUFFS

  17. All this conjecture is just that, and the reality is pretty simple. The PAC-10 (after UCLA/USC leave) will stand pat until they see a media deal and based on that (or they don’t get a media deal in the next year or so) it will either stay together or fall apart. There are two counterweights, Oregon and Washington in the North, and the four corner schools in the South. If either don’t like the deal and have an out with another conference then they will leave as a group. JMHO.

  18. Now they are hammering the cw? I remember when fox was an also ran network, with shows like in living color and the simpsons. There are plenty of other examples. Hulu, anyone?

    I guess this is where Kliavkoff makes his money. His reputation is as a media savvy, back room negotiator. Let’s hope he delivers.

    Go Buffs

    1. you are the money man.
      There must be a reason the PAC doesnt just upgrade the PAC network beyond the mediocre level the other broadcasters currently provide, get rid of the ESPN/Fox/ etazos conference agenda driven middle men and keep all that commercial money for themselves. I understand Direct TV is a thug entity but without ESPN etc taking the chunk out we should be able to afford them.
      If you cant join em, beat em

      1. You touched on this before, and I think it has to be part of their negotiations.

        From what I’ve seen – and heard and read – it seems that by all accounts, the production value of the Pac 12 Network is top notch (or was, until they had to cut costs, and went to remote broadcasts of live events, reduced cameras, etc.). Heck, like ’em or not, they had Bill Walton, Rick Neuheisel and a host of other talented on air people who’ve either come from and/or gone to much bigger platforms.

        The issue was, and is, the distribution. That kneecapped them financially. So, if Kliavkoff et al can enhance distribution, and leverage the existing production quality, that might be really appealing to the likes of streamers (apple, amazon, youtube, hulu, etc.), or lower tier (currently lower tier) networks looking to up their game (oh, sorry, couldn’t avoid the pun if I tried) who don’t really have the production quality systems in place that the Pac 12 network does.

        I think Rick is very much in favor of the Pac 12 staying together, as long as it’s not a financial dead zone. I don’t think it will be. I think the other members are on board, too. And SDSU has to be getting an invitation, right? And SMU, to pick up Dallas.

        To CU Alum’s points though, there really are only a few ways (ok, two ways) it’ll play out: Money’s good, Pac 12 stays together. Money’s not good, it ceases to exist as we know it.

        Here’s to hoping the money’s good. If the demand for the product is there, meaning if the quality is good – and it looks like it will be outstanding, at least in 2023, but I say that bodes well for the future, too – people will pay for it.

        Go Buffs

  19. So, Buffs are the ONLY Spring game on ESPN, yet are competing with Alabama, Nebraska and Washington for ratings?
    Coach Prime is must watch TV… the huskers with a retread coach? c’mon

  20. Not an accountant, stat guy or one of these “analysts” who keep spouting the party line…….but….
    I am wondering why not scrap the PAC 12 network or at least use it to rebuild in a professional and attractive manner. I think with the right people it could be done better than the pitiful “gold” standard of the mainstream sports media.
    Too many of the established guys are pap offerings and run of the mill personalities. It shouldn’t be that hard to attract fans with knowledgeable commentators with engaging personalities. I’m sure all the “gpld” standard guys would pay a pant load of money to farm in the best games even if their commentators find themselves a level below.

  21. NIL is so much bigger than pay for play, there’s no way Congress can put that genie back in the bottle. Any legislation will go right to court, that has already set precedent.

    I would bet Travis and shedeur’s sponsors, by and large, are not CU alumni money. Rather national brands hitching their wagon to those kids hoping to garner eyeballs.

    Does subway root for golden state and steph curry? Tom Brady? No. They just want eyeballs.

    Deion understands that. It’s in part how he got Walmart to spend money at jsu. Good pr and eyeballs.

    Ncaa can’t stop that at the player level, when every other aspect of the enterprise can do what they want, with non-public contracts.

    Go Buffs

  22. On the Congressional Hearings/Fed Oversight articles:

    As a general rule, I just hate the Feds getting involved in anything, as they are just too darn big and “out to lunch” as necessary to grasp this inherent issues and deal with them with a Common Sense Approach- yielding actual results. Certainly, I don’t want the head of a Fed agency every 4-8 years upsetting the apple cart every few cycles. Plus, politicians are the kings of graft/grifters, no matter what which party that they reside. Political campaigns cost millions and special interests always play an outsized role and that is the game. Plus, the Fed steps are akin to using a sledgehammer when a scalpel is needed. In general, I like the free market but somethings things go off their wheels completely. I think that we are at that juncture with NIL and the recent College Football landscape.

    1. I’m not real fond of the idea of these NIL talks and proposals being bantered around with 16-18 year old kids, although parent(s) presumably sign too. The age in Colorado for emancipation is 19, if all can believe that. Generally, I give the benefit of the doubt to the parents, but with NIL$$, in some homes this may be the largest check or revenue stream that they will ever see–and the family may reap all the rewards. I know some lawyers will review these contacts, but they have precious little bargaining power given wealth disparity. Heck, these trusted lawyers may have their eyes on becoming the athletes agent. That whole concept just leaves me a some sour gut.

    We know from broke Pro-Athletes just how their lawyers, agents, or sports management companies can leave them in bankruptcy in a hurry. Most of these instances were adults, not teens.

    For the younger kids, they really need an impartial to protect their interest– what about health insurance after football?; for high performance what about health insurance for injuries (Willis Magahee, even Marcus Dupree [who was older])?; and what about judging the financial shape of the NIL provider–can they go belly up and then the athlete is SOL? Should they have to post a bond, to ensure their obligations will be met? Side note, how may pro-sports teams have been temporarily left without naming rights for their stadium–Denver went a year. What happens if the coaches change and that player has to look elsewhere, is the NIL deal SOL/defunct via its very terms?–that is an impossible situation. In sum, the pressure is enormous, we are dealing with young people, a short window to complete things, and all the impact can be of an entire lifetime.
    These impartials should look at college only, and cannot become their agent for pro-sports too. Marcus Dupree was a prime example of that. Although the Sports Agency Industry has cleaned up since its early years, I believe that they have distances to force before they are signing teens, specifically football players who can be a major injury away. These folks cannot be housed in company groups, where one does college and then their partner PRO’s, vice-versa. Too much overlap.

    2. Given that we are in the wild-west phase, I fear the fine print in NIL contract and that these NIL contacts are all over the place. Either Congress, Fed or the Fed agency via the NCAA needs to promulgate a “uniform contract,” (much like in baseball) that has the standard legal ee’s necessary to protect the athlete–the disclosures, protections for the over-all welfare of the athlete–through college and beyond, if they do not go into pro-football. With CTE and other major injuries, they need medical insurance coverage past college. Remember: a fair share of 5*’s don’t pan out–Marcus Houston’s knee. A larger share of 4* don’t pan out–Lynn Katoa spend more time in state housing than he did on the football field; and 3* kids are a hodgepodge, so make it, many do not.

    3. Also, I think that the Feds need to protect the welfare of the overall game, as a whole. This can be done via the appointment of an Commissioner, whose sole job is to protect and promote the game of college football nationwide, rather than line their pockets. I suppose they could revamp NCCA having them step-up, but IMO it should have a specific football component (since this sport pays for most of the other sports on any campus) and another commission that protects the other sports. Maybe a 3-headed monster: football, all other sports (this may have a separate Olympic sports sub-chair) , and Title IX department??–since this overlays all college athletics.

    4. This appears to be the appropriate time to bring this up. You have TV and certain conferences colluding rendering it very difficult to be televised for their home audience. The PAC is in trouble, the Big12 was in trouble, and there are grumblings in the ACC. IMO, if a team sells out their stadium and are not on major TV, the game should go out to bidding to Local/Regional Market Networks for free network or streaming. They cannot slot you on ESPN+ which exacts an extortionate fee. The Team(s)/game earns that via sellout, and those athletes have a right to be seen. The commentating may be spotty, perhaps a simulcast–but you get to see your team in your home.

    5. Lastly, we had the recent article on CSU. Even if they are little brother, I would not like to see their teams or teams like them disbanded or relegated to Div.II. They have a place at the table even if it is the 101st ranked team in a smaller conference. Sure, it is much tougher to get into a playoff and they are likely to be crushed. However, they should not be in a position where less than 1/2 their games are even on TV. We someone to protect the national game, rather than a few regions with plump TV contracts. In this sense, they may have accept a dirty word/concept called Revenue Sharing–not just with their conference peers, but college football as a whole. We don’t need an equal sharing for the 134 schools in the BCS, but they should be compensated enough that they keep all their teams and can be somewhat competitive in the sport.

    In conclusion, I think this P65 conglomeration, their conference chairs, and 2 conferences (B1G and SEC) in particular have unfortunately: “taken the train off its track,” so something needs to be done soon.

    It should be the P65 with an outside shot for others, instead of the looming P20/21 (this is based on the TV $$) that owns a monopoly on the great TV rights. This renders major college football into Regional Coverage, where your local team is severely cut out. It should be Nationwide Coverage.

    This is where on the one hand I loathe federal intervention, but on the other feel that it is probably needed sooner rather than later. Any thoughts are appreciated??

    P.S.–did you know that the NTSB/FAA in their anti-trust provisions actually require major airlines to run some unprofitable routes, subsidized to the consumer (i.e. the tickets sold, and cardo delivered to not cover the cast.). All the value airlines love certain markets; however the smaller less profitable routes are necessary so we have Nationwide Airline Access as a matter public/national security.

    1. I like the uniform contract and health insurance thing. ….and the NCAA’s demise was because of their highly discretionary scalpel only.

      I dont have the time or inclination to study this NIL thing and it probably has more angles and openings for the lawyers to discover yet and exploit.

      I still think the best way out of this mess, if legally possible, is for the Alabama’s and Ohio States et al to form their own full blown professional college football league. Let em go into a full money war with each other and good riddance. This 16 team super conferences where they are headed now is just pissing in the wind by holding the perennial doormats hostage.

      For the rest of the college football world keep the levels as they are now with enough regulation to keep the money income somewhere level. I dont know if this is even legally possible now. If a player is in the new again “amatuer league” and a booster offers him instant retirement can anyone say No? Can a even a D2 or 3 college who wants to keep the money out of it altogether say no to NIL?
      Would avenues for players and teams to switch from the full pro league back to the new amatuer league and vis versa leave some room for money regulation?

      Herding cats looks a lot easier. Sour gut is an understatement

    2. An outstanding synopsis of the issues that lie ahead. I too cringe a bit when possible federal government intervention commences—someone once saying that for every one problem that government solves, it creates ten new problems in the process. Just look at how things have exploded since 2014’s Ed O’Bannon case that opened the NIL door. The judge in that case, Claudia Wilken laid out the first ground rules. Ground rules that now look like relatively “chump change…..At the time the ruling stipulated. ” Compared to what collegiate athletes can now command. Players at every position will be paid equal shares for their NIL rights from a trust fund after they leave college. It is not a free-market system where the star quarterback can make more than the backup linebacker.
      Though the NCAA can cap that amount, it cannot prevent schools from offering at least $5,000 per athlete per year. Once the cap has been set—the NCAA would likely keep it at $5,000—schools can choose to participate if they want. This is done to promote competition in the “marketplace” of college athletics.
      The NCAA is also free to cap stipends, so long as they don’t fall below the actual cost of attendance.
      Wilken prohibited athletes from making money for endorsing products/services”………..I have absolutely no idea where, when, and if the dust of this ever evolving whirlwind will settle.

  23. It’s always Oregon and Washington that have/add value… It sucks to know that back when Pat James pulled UW back up from a losing program, CU was also a national name with Mac at the helm. Both schools had risen out of the ashes from bad coaches and both schools were a national draw when they played each other; it was great!

    Oregon was a middle player in the Pac10 & Pac8 before that, and didn’t start their rise until Knight’s money came along. Same time as Mac leaving.

    Bad hire after bad, with a “good enough” hire followed by a “could have been good” hire if he stuck around and then another bad hire that was bad timing more than anything, CU finally has a good hire again. But too late for this round of talks.

    And, so far, CU has a great hire. Will he be great enough for people to remember when CU was great?

    CU can be great again, just start winning. I know that’s a big sentence with a lot behind it, meanwhile, Oregon is always going to be a smaller TV market. However, as long as Knight’s money and/or B1G money comes in, they can stay big. Shouldn’t a school like CU have value to the B1G if Prime brings them back to the national spotlight? And he sticks around?

    Really, if taking all of the schools with TV/market/fan/history value available in the P5s, from the B1G footprint to the West Coast and everywhere in between is the goal for the B1G, then they should want CU to go along with OU, UW, UCLA, USC? They need schools for those schools to play without major travel every game.

    And… Maybe, the desert’s schools too if locking up all Power5 TV markets, including Basketball.

    But Oregon isn’t a large TV market and it’s national draw is solely because of the money pumped into it’s recruiting, uniforms, coaching and facilities; it wouldn’t have it’s recruits or record if not for the money.

    So I’m tired of hearing about Oregon being a big dog while CU just seems a little late getting back to the party…

    But, as CP has said “They are Coming”

    1. Don James, not Pat. Sorry. And he had a winning record, but resigned after probation and problems. But CU’s fall lasted longer, but CU could return under CP. We’ll See.

    2. You struck a chord there that has bugged me all along. All this conference re-alignment bullcrap talk is about teams that are trendy now. A lot of them were nobody’s 20 years ago. So what does a mega conference do when they have schools with non-competitive sports programs that are actually costing them money? Do they eject them? How would that work? Nobody is thinking about that yet because the dollars are right in front of their noses and long-term thinking is not something greedy people tend to do well. It will need to happen someday because the current path is not sustainable.

  24. A true merger (even just in football) with the ACC makes no sense. Not if you are truly considering it a single conference with a single champion at the end of the season. That would take away spots in the newly expanded playoffs. As it is now, each league’s champion is most likely in plus one or 2 next in line. Merge and only 1 champion is guaranteed and likely not as many next in lines as would otherwise make it.
    Now, a TV network partnership (combining the ACC and PAC12 networks) and ensuring lots of cross conference games each year, that is a good idea. Just not at the expense of officially merging the conferences. If for no other reason than it would contractually allow FSU, Clemson, Miami, and UNC to freely leave the league as their contract and grant of rights would have to be redone. You really think the SEC and Big10 would sit around and not try to poach them?

  25. Well the AU prez didnt really clear anything up…did he? His optimism on the PAC deal may be setting himself up in an attempt to shed criticism when he runs the school into the arms of his good buddy Yormark…….if it comes in less than 31 mill per school. Yikes
    Surprised he is a doctor. Most doctors dont seem to make good businessmen….which is a good thing as they have enough complexity and responsibility taking care of the rest of us.
    I had a doc buddy who wanted to invest in oil so I set him up with another buddy who was in oil who proposed a conservative drilling prospect in order to minimize the risk. Instead the doc went with a con straight out of the old TV show “Dallas” and lost tens of thousands.

  26. I can’t wait for the TV and conference stuff to go down one way or another. If the PAC was looking for a “miracle,” I think that it would be an ACC affiliation + Notre Dame. Notre Dame would be the wildcard. Their $25M/year NBC deals goes through 2025. If the TV market continues to soften and weaken, NBC may not want to give them a better deal? Notre Dame may not be all that happy with NBC for partnering with the B1G; and just want to spur their advances? Not sure where those negotiations sit, but it sounded like ND wanted $75M a season from NBC. Those talks have sort of gone radio silent. What if NBC is like your 6-7 good games are on, the 5-6 remaining go to Peacock and they get a $30M number? ND just feels unstable in the climate.

    Doing an East/West deal with ND would be complex, and there would have to be special gives to ND (like Texas in the B12 with the Longhorn Network), but it would lead to a bunch of intriguing must watch games; and really force some TV hands.

    ND seems like a natural fit with the B1G and they have been invited many times, but never said yes. Maybe they are frenemies?

    The B1G is already cancelling home and homes with PAC teams, what if they threaten to do the same to ND unless they join the Mega-Conference, and ND just balks? ND being independent has always been about them: a) wanting to have nationwide appeal/brand and they have fans everywhere; b) a special TV partner; and c) the other special perks that they get which are substantial. Well if their TV partner softens; the B1G plays hardball; maybe ND considers the ACC with an affiliation

  27. Stuart,

    Thanks for posting my comment above. I thought the follow up comments were great.

    The only thing that I would add is that although the West Coast footprint is huge in terms of TV numbers; I how good the TV footprint is (poor/decent/good/great) in terms of fans numbers actually watching the games. Is it a great college sports footprint? I don’t think TV market-size is a driver, unless the WestCoast TV consumer is actually watching the games. In fact, conference wise I’m not sure how many rabid die hard fans there are about all Sports and College Football in general on the West Coast. I definitely think College Football is king in Oregon, and maybe Washington; and in general I think they are good/great sports states. I think the Utes, although a smaller market have an excellent following; as do the Jazz.

    I lived in SoCal in the mid-90’s and I was amazed at the lack of rabid/die hard sporting interest, where bars and the games would be packed–except for very few games, they were not. In CA, there is nice weather and just so much to do. Also, I think some of it comes down to travel time and ease of access. I’d say the same thing in visiting Stanford and Cal . . . they have fans but it is not like they are football crazy. When Stanford was good, I liked their fans a lot. The Alums show up. IMO, some CA fans, even alums won’t go out of their way to watch every away game or even battle traffic to attend certain home games; much less have a huge TV following for other PAC games. I do think part of USC & UCLA leaving to the B1G were the empty stadiums for home games–very embarrassing, especially when they had winning teams with tradition.

    The 49ers are the only CA pro Football team, I see with a strong constant following. The Raiders are 2nd and they moved to Vegas. The Chargers could not fill up a small soccer stadium after bolting San Diego and have had some decent team watchable teams. The Rams are not must see TV despite winning the SB 2 years ago. I hear similar things about their Hockey and Pro-Hoops teams, the storied Lakers have LeBron but it is not like they sell out most games. In baseball, the Dodgers are sort of the cream of the crop in MLB and they have the same Regional TV issues we have– one cable station has a monopoly so–like only 1 in 8 Angeleno’s can watch the games? Many fans don’t want to battle traffic into downtown LA for a Dodger night game. In Denver, the Altitude–Comcast etc… conflict is ongoing news and people are not happy about it. In CA, those TV issues are an afterthought.

    I get the same feeling with Arizona–I think some of that has to do with their lack of success on the college gridiron. UoA has never made it to a Rose Bowl. ASU looks to build and then collapses without a huge local out-cry. The Arizona Cardinals are like an afterthought, since the stadium is so far away. I think the NHL still owns the Coyotes. I think the Suns do pretty well. I don’t think the Diamondbacks draw anywhere close to the Rockies, or even have a huge local TV following.

    IMO, certainly, huge TV market is great, unless the fans don’t truly tune in. The bars etc… don’t buy the package. Are the teams in the PAC footprint Sport’s towns? There are always exceptions for great teams, but except for the Teams/States listed above, the sports fans are just not rabid, consistent or committed in numbers elsewhere. They are nothing like the Broncos fans, where we have suffered sustained poor seasons, yet they are still topic #1 and must-see, even when they are bad and we just complain. Support for the Av’s has been great if their product is good. I think the same for the Nugs. The Rox are just awful, but fans still flock to Coors field. The Buffs fans made a decent showing for last years 1-11 team, although many left early for good reason. This is sort of why, I doubt the PAC TV contract will come close to the Big-12’s, although IMO the PAC probably has more compelling teams even without USC & UCLA.

    When we look at TV markets the total size is one thing; but the quality/quantity of the fans has to come into play. The TV people know this–it is all about advertising revenue. The more households predicted to be watching, the more expensive the ad buy.

    Again, IMO, the night games, specifically the Sat night games don’t help the PAC. For a college football fan, unless your team is playing and/or it is a great game (USC v. Utah, Ore v. UW etc…) it is easy to snooze that game away. If you are a college football fan in general, you are on game #4 or maybe #5 to watch the after-dark PAC match-up. Myself, unless CU is playing, I am sort of football’d out by the time the 7:30/8:30pm PAC game comes on.

    1. USC & UCLA will still have empty stadiums… that won’t change. No one is flocking to the Rose Bowl to see UCLA vs. Indiana or USC vs. Minnesota

      1. I think for a period of time, Big-10 opponent fans will flock and fill the stadiums. Even when CU was decent in about 2005, went to the Alamo Bowl v. Wisconsin, it was like 7 to 1, Wisco to CU fans and a sell out. If USC and UCLA’s performance drops off, certain opponent fans may outnumber the home fans!

    2. I’m not sure how anyone can justify moving to the pac-12 after only one good year. It was a horrendous decision that played a huge part in the decline of the program. West coast may be talent rich but when it comes to tv or excitement for college football, it isn’t in the top 10 list of priorities. We left Texas where football is #1,
      just so that the alumni could travel to California at the expense of losing week in and week out. They can make excuses all they want, but wanting to be a west coast team cost us losing our identity and almost the entire program. Thankful to Coach Prime for bringing a national stage back to CU.

  28. Like I’m sure was the same for most of us, my initial gut reaction to CSU potentially being considered to join the PAC12 was basically open disdain and disbelief. After giving it some thought and letting the possibility marinate a little bit, I think I might actually be a smart move.
    Yes, while CU has the Denver market, that would only be 1 game a week. Denver will be the 4th largest PAC12 market once LA is gone. The conference needs to maximize viewership. Adding a second team to a decent market, adds value and increases the interest in the conference at large by having 2 teams (2 of the 3 DIV1 teams) playing in it.
    It also adds more non-pacific time timeslots to schedule games in.
    Plus it was finally add a real rivalry to CUs conference schedule. For the rest of the league, it gives another winnable game to the schedule, at least for the first few years.
    If it adds value to the league (new teams will need to have a partial distribution for this next contract for that to be the case), and also stabilizes the league, then I’m up for it.

    1. The rivalry part goes past Colorado. Fort Fun has been inundated with cobbs who love the elevated culture they can get there that is missing in the truck stops and feed lots back home and still feel safe with.
      They even brought some of home with them….Runzas.
      If the cobbs dont give you enough willies, giving CSU a bigger element of recruiting draw, within the state too, might not be that desirable. Right now they can barely get more than 2 stars.
      Not kicking them while they are down. Just not letting them up. Be the bigger fan (man)?

      1. I don’t think CSU to the PAC-12 is going to happen. They do not have a Medical, Law School or other post-graduate programs that the PAC-12 academics are looking for, at least that I know of. CSU has a world class Vet school and are great in some other graduate areas (Natural Resources?) Do they have a Business School? The lack of academic fit is exactly why UNLV is an after-thought in PAC discussions. Although the Vegas market is large, it has a great geographical location, and I’m sure facilities could be upgraded; academically they are a world apart. They did get a Law School about 8 years ago. I do a ton of business in Las Vegas and have for years, and although UNLV has made some strides academically, it is just not close. Closer academically to Northern Colorado than the PAC schools academically.

        Also, I think that for exposure reasons, Teams/Presidents etc… may block neighboring schools that sharing a larger TV market, this being Denver. I have been surprised with BYU’s movements, and staying away from Utah–vice-versa. That screams rivalry, but I just don’t think that they want to share the Salt Lake market.

        I don’t have the vitriol that I used to have with CSU. I guess our teams being so down for so long is part of that and it makes you look back fondly at the Sonny Lubick days. I’m no Bradlee Van Pelt fan. I am impressed with the new stadium and facilities. I am impressed with how FOCO has grown into a nice large college town. It is cool.

  29. GR and MAB bring up some good points. I saw a recent story about the demise of the regional sports networks that I almost posted here. But basically, that puts all the conference networks in a similar category, I’d think. And, streaming is definitely eating into the pie of eyeballs.

    As to the Pac 12? My opinion has evolved. At first I thought when USC and UCLA bailed, they’d be toast. But, as the dust settled, and the season played out w/ some fun football again, that view changed. Even more so with the return of all the stud QBs from last year, plus the addition of Prime Time in Boulder. If only 2023’s season were the first of the new media rights deal, not the last of the old one.

    But, what it illustrates is that the quality of the programming is not forever dead, as some may have us believe. Even without USC and UCLA. If the Pac’s games are fun to watch, people will watch them.

    The West Coast is a market everyone wants to own. That helps. Even if a lot of us who live here do other things w/ our time than watch sports.

    I also believe Rick George is all in on the Pac 12 – as I think he should be – at least until/if it’s dead. CU’s move to the Pac has been huge for fundraising. Doubt they get the Champions Center funded without it. There’s a litany of other reasons too.

    I still think once this thing fully evolves into the College Football Playoffs brought to you by Big Fox, SECSPN and Apple Pie (or Amazon) there will be something like 65-80 teams, split into divisions, that some will think look a lot like the original conferences. Regionality will play a role after people tire of flying the tennis team across the world. Or even just the football team, if that and/or men’s basketball break out into their own, separate from the olympic sports. Hell, the pros don’t even like flying across the country for interdivisional contests, whether NFL, NBA, Baseball, Hockey, etc. They’re all regionally based. And they fly private and stay at the Ritz or Four Seasons. Oh, and they don’t have school.

    Go Buffs

    1. Eric–

      I like your comments. I struggle to find how the Conferences evolve back into practical Regional type Conferences, with even 40-60 schools. I do think the Euro-soccer model with relegation could be a good thing. It would permit large schools that are bottom feeders to turn things around in a lower division and jump back up; and schools that struggle go back down. I just have a hard time finding the scenario where it happens:

      1. I guess it could happen team-wise if the travel of the overall entire athletic department becomes too expensive and a headache to justify chasing larger TV revenue. Perhaps in some non-football sports they find it harder to recruit and compete because of the travel burden. 6 football games is one thing, but 12+ hoops games, golf tourneys, tennis, baseball could be a travel headache. In this, UCLA and/or USC try the B1G for 10 years or whatever their commitment is, and then they get back to the West Coast. Nebraska says we tried the B1G and it has been a rough run, so we want back into something like the Big 8-12. Maybe other teams just fold–Rutgers and Maryland has had a tough go. I just know West Virginia has stayed in the Big 12, not seeking a way into the ACC.

      2. Another scenario is political pressure/legislation likely federal to require the NCAA to step back in or something appointing a national commissioner (like MLB, NBA, Golf–any pro sport) with broad sweeping powers whose sole job is the protecting/promoting the welfare of all College Athletics as a whole. In that, I think you head down the road of National revenue sharing or a luxury tax of sorts. However, we know Congress cannot get anything done, plus for the States that are in the SEC and B1G political pressure and major donor money will come into play. If it breaks certain conferences financial advantage, that would be a hard sell. It would be interesting to just see Congressional Hearings on the subject, akin to what McCain did in standardizing boxing commission standards.

      The hurdles are high and entrenched. The power Conferences are well funded with powerful conference boards backed by big money interests; so it is much more than just stripping a conference commissioner or putting “them into line,” so to speak. I not sure how well-received the federalization of College Athletics would be in many States, specifically the ones benefiting with the current lay-out. You need a majority in the House and 60 Senators to go along. A vote for such a thing, a yes vote could spell a political end for certain members of Congress, regardless of what party they reside. I would say in really Red States like Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Alaska etc… it may be good for them football-wise, but the “States Rights/Small Federal Government” arguments could rule the day.

      Certainly, it is interesting times.

  30. With the Rockies and 3 other teams losing their TV deal to ATTRM’s: “we need to split or we do it in bankruptcy,” I am starting to wonder just how much of the PAC’s woes are really the state of some collapsing of the TV industry. MLB says it can bail out the Rox and their other teams via overall revenue sharing. Could it just be overall TV revenue decline across the entire industry? Too many teams splitting a smaller pie, and doing it unequally.

    Face it: ESPN is nowhere close to what it was 10 years ago; just look at the website content; and filler shows that they sometimes put in. ESPN had to slash so many good personalities and reporters just to slash costs. Other sports TV stations have failed local or national. Now even some daytime slots on the big channels are filled with infomercials–not 10 years ago. LIV golf is probably a bad example of a bottom feeder, sure they have the CN deal, but they are paying CN and covering all the production costs, then splitting the ad revenue– this will be a huge loss; which the Saudi’s will just pay. It used to be the other way around, the TV networks paid you for their airtime. In College Football it was many conferences . . . now it is less and less.

    Sure there is a huge market for the reconstituted SEC and B1G (TV mega-plums) but aren’t they just plucking-off individual TV plum teams (USC, UCLA, Texas and Oklahoma) and leaving , in contrast to supporting a Conference. Isn’t TV is now actually supporting less teams? Clearly, the ACC and B12 are just becoming weaker, and the PAC-12 is now sort of an afterthought. From a TV perspective throw pennies at it…

    A thing I found amazing is that CBS, NBC, FOX + their secondary channels and streaming are all sharing the B1G & B10 the network still exists. They split the games taking the best, and the rest are shuttled to secondary networks. The crap is shuttled to the cheaper streaming and B1G network. For the SEC, ABC and ESPN are all in, with ESPN’s various channels.

    Although they made a deal, the Big 12 deal really looks like scraps from ESPN and Fox, certainly 2nd fiddle to the other 2 Prime conferences. The ACC is still in their old deal until 2032, but who says ESPN does not gradually make them 2nd fiddle and they are screwed when their TV contract ends? The Clemson and FSU noise seems to forecast this scenario.

    I think sometimes we look at it is the Conferences poaching teams, but aren’t the moves that just based on TV. We went from 5 major networks (ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, ESPN [who played to all the conferences] + all their secondary conferences) all bidding for one Major conference + ND to now these 5 jointing together to set up TV rights sharing 2 Prime conferences. It is not 4 major networks taking 4 conferences, and ESPN in with the other + others–it is just 2.

    I sort of take a very basic wide view– presuming TV is slumping, don’t they really drive the re-alignment: 1) they need to bet on sure things; (2) have the best; and (3) for college football doesn’t this mean plucking select teams into their power conferences, rather than paying a bunch of conferences for the whole conference.

    If TV plays the TV scenario plays out, Clemson, Florida State, maybe Miami and one more head to the SEC. If ND sees a declining TV deal, don’t they join the B1G or SEC? Maybe you see both Prime conferences 20-24 teams with very select brands?

    TV and college FB maintain they are doing great because they set certain record deals (SEC and B1G), and just downplay the rest. In the end, isn’t this a strategy for TV to pay more to less teams for TV rights… + buy scraps, rather than support the Power 65 much less all of DivI. For CU, I am not sure that going to the B12 or staying in a perhaps disintegrating PAC is the wrong or right move–I don’t think they have choices–except if Prime makes them a Plum they will get picked. I don’t know which is better, as I think the ACC, Big12, and PAC are all on the shrinking end of this TV game. I’m not sure adding SMU or SDSU will yield a larger TV share, it my be less. Thoughts anyone??

  31. Dennis Dodd aside, I too have a growing sense of foreboding about the future of the PAC 12’s present situation. While I hope there is an elusive rabbit out of the hat scenario that could develop, that possibility appears to be more and more fleeting. I feel bad for Kliavkoff as Larry Scott left him with a heck of a mess. While it’s easy to be dismissive of Dodd, I’m hardly dismissive of the thoughts of the former coaches. In the name of due diligence I also hope that AD R.G is keeping the private backchannel lines of communication open with the BIG 12 and his 4 corners AD cohorts.

    1. I have the same foreboding feeling. Not much talk about Conference expansion now. I just hope the expanded B12 can yield a large tv partner or partners, or it will just be 3rd or 4th fiddle and just diminishing on the TV exposure side. I used to hate the idea, but if Prime makes a ton of noise and the B1G comes calling, they may need to just jump on that bus. If you are a good team in that conference, you will get on major TV!

      1. Your description of ESPN fits right in with the rest of the economy. With groceries and other areas of food service including restaurants you get smaller portions with increased prices. No doubt inflation had a covid supply chain and oil price (Ukraine war) springboard but it seems to me it is maintained by the attitude that the sky is falling if a company ….or a conference….or a network…..and a team …..cant keep on make more and more money.
        hey, I certainly wish I could have made more money but at some point will all this money grab make the whole football economy collapse? or at least recede to a point that increases parity and competitiveness? not holding my breath
        Even if the B10 and SEC grow to 24 team conferences there are still going to be the perennial big dogs and at least 3/4 of the rest of the conferences fighting for scraps. Will Ohio State and Alabama be on TV every week while Vandy and Rutgers become occasional beer league viewing? The same scenario thats happening right now with the big dogs in the ACC wanting a bigger share of the pie will probably happen in the 2 superconference scenario, The rich will keep getting richer. Out of control greed usually only dies by its own hand.
        I guess I am speaking in hyperbole because the whole thing makes me ill. The charm or intrigue of college football is history.
        As far as the Buffs go you nailed it. Prime may be what keeps the Buffs relevant in this entire debacle….and if Lewis can keep the offense on steroids moving.
        Then again that situation will be very temporary when the next Michigan State comes calling. and the road goes on forever

  32. Another day, another Dennis Dodd hit piece. At least the media sharks are starting to circle around the ACC too, now that they smell blood.

    1. Blood and money
      Florida State and Clemson are climbing aboard the greed band wagon. They are trying to make enough wiggle room in their ACC contract straight jacket to demand a bigger share than the equal part thing now.
      Bood, money and the stink of a mountain of fresh excrement….. made even more disgusting by this dodd creature

  33. Not whining as much as stating the facts
    I live in the sticks. My phone reception and internet connections arent powerful enough to stream. If it comes to streaming I will have to drive as many as 35 miles to get to a friends house or a bar with cable that is willing to accomodate my viewing selections.
    As the money train picks up speed it wont stop in places without enough consumer power.

  34. It’s time to move on if Cu wants to be relevant.
    Prime time and CU want to be a national presence and you don’t get that on a streaming service

  35. I sure hope the steady drumbeat of the death of the pac 12 that cbs is pushing is wrong. Hell, if the 2023 season was part of the new media package, it may qualify as must see tv. Loaded qb’s. Loaded talent. And prime time in Boulder, baby.

    Go Buffs

  36. PAC 12 Is turning into a failed conference. They can’t seem to do anything right. This TV deal just shows how out of touch they are. They spent years fighting with DirectTV and forcing their own network. Now they thought they could compete with other conferences and waited thinking they were in the catbird seat. Ridiculous. If they sign a deal that forces me to pay another subscription fee to another entity, I will be highly annoyed. Most sports fans already pay for espn one way or another. Many will choose not to pay for another service. They need to get this figured out and stop looking at short term money and actually strategize how best to build the conference over time.

  37. So this is definitely a risky take but I might consider an Apple TV liscence if, and only if Apple (or the pac-12) stands up a real college football program that competes with ESPN. Fox sports built out a college and nfl experience that I often like better than ESPN. Sure I think never having ESPN gameday at Boulder or a PAC school would be a huge blow. But then do your own damn version. I will watch college gameday without actually watching the game there. Do the same. Apple is big enough to take that risk, without Apple committing to that risk though I think you have to have ESPN…..

  38. Washington should try to schedule a set of games with an ACC team. Same for any other PAC school that has a Big Ten game/series cancelled. Start getting those cross conference games going with the ACC. I’d include the Big 12, but they’re annoying at the moment, so not really wanting to reward them.

  39. Holy buckyeyehola!!

    Bucks cancel dogs
    2024 EYES ARE now gonna have EIGHT (8) home games.
    You mean they already had SEVEN (7)

    alo kornholers weed

    Just a shame. Really

    When do the Buffs get 8 home games let alone 7

    Deon needs to go buy out the away side of all those games home and home ganes
    Buffs should 7 or 8 home games every year.
    Get the “highers” attention!!
    Get the earwax out!
    Beat the eardrum!
    Cause the earache
    they capitulate

    Go Buffs.

    Note: Funny how you can nickname em and they become well trained pups

  40. So is he PAC circling the drain?
    Not sure how this works but wouldnt taking the 4 corner schools or any other school thin out the media money for all the Big 12 conference schools? which doesnt sound all that great to begin with.
    Is it possible that there is a conspiracy afloat to eliminate the PAC.? Big 12 gets the 4 corners and Big 10 gets OR, WA, Stanford and Cal? Be funny if they take the Beaves in place of Cal.
    No matter what happens we get more commercials. You can add more commercials to the death and taxes thing.

  41. 100 million……yikes…for one stinkin season
    Now that CP is here Osborn’s voodoo woman might be looking for some work. Maybe I will ask her to throw a spell on USC and UCLA. She might want too much to include TX and OK. Better yet the entire Big 10 ans SEC. Maybe not total failure but a return to mediocrity.

  42. My vote is to keep the conference at the existing 10. San Diego State might be ok but if we have to take any team from Texas to even it out forget it.

      1. looks pretty stiff compared to CU. Hopefully they keep the AC on in the summer and keep the grid from freezing up in the winter.
        Oil money is a wonderful thing….eh? Remember last time we were in a conference with Texas teams? almost more arrogance than oil. Tech was the only team I would watch. Still remember the last second catch by Crabtree to beat UT.

    1. Hear Hear ep. Totally agree. After the old Big 7 let those TexA$$ schools join the conference it was never the same or better for CU. The arrogance & egos that emanate from TexA$$ will never change. There are a lot of other schools to conference with and things would be just fine minus those TexA$$ schools.

  43. I have to say that I am relieved that Rashada did not come to CU. With his history so far, it just seems that he would have been problematic for team chemistry.

  44. As everyone says, it has to help the PAC12 media rights deal to have Prime in the fold. Only question is will someone come give him a bunch of money/NIL/something else to move on? I think the money would be matched by CU, if CU starts losing recruits becuase they do not have enough NIL backing that could be one, the facilities are nice keep them up and that will be good.maybe if the path to the National Championship cannot be done in Boulder? Strangely enough a USC and UCLA less PAC10 would have an easier path to the the playoff and national championship than the SeC or Big10. I could see him staying if we can figure out enough NIL to get the recruits he wants.

  45. open letter to Mr. Mandel.
    Glamorous is a strange word for a football game but If I have to use it glamorous is in the eye of the beholder. I dont get paid to fatten up watching football games all day so pardon me if dont watch SEC, ACC or few big 12 games. The last time I can remember ever watching LSU was when Joe Burrow was the QB, and only because. Virginia? pfftt. Tennessee? pfft, Definitely never Alabama or Tex A&M
    The way things are going these days in college football I may get cut off watching any of it because I dont watch enough…and when I do watch the max 2 a week I record them first so I dont have to get nauseous watching the same lawyer, pharma and insurance commercials 16 to 20 times.
    Gosh there must be millions of folks out there without any other spare time interests.

  46. Rumor mill is spinning harder that CU won’t have to play against rashada next year. He will be a Buff.

    As the rumor mill turns.

    Go Buffs

        1. Yo how is he rumor mill treating ya. You were pretty firm on the gerbil spinner eh?

          Keep the wax out the ear aches less.

          Go Buffs

    1. I was thinking about Rashada this morning. 2 Blue-chips are in Phoenix this weekend. Rashada is visiting ASU and presumably Duce Robinson is 5* TE (#1 TE) is in Phoenix where he lives. Robinson is crystal-ed to GA for quite a while. His warm teams are: GA, TX, SC, BAMA and Ore. His four visits were before Nov 12th. He has not visited ORE, so that could be this weekend or he is just a silent commit…

      CU is not even listed as an offer, which I find a bit odd. IMO, Duce Robinson would be an instant great get for Prime and the final “Shock the World” signing day NLI out of nowhere. At 6-6 he is big enough to start in a 2 TE and move to the slot. He would see playing time right away. He could beat out our transfer, or just be #2 with some specific packages. He’s listed at 230 and could put on 10-15 pounds upon hitting campus if he came for just the summer, so he could block some and have enough durability to hopefully not get hurt. I know some of the returning TE’s are well liked, but none are close to 6’6″ 230+ come game-day A total nightmare match-up guy.

      The question is, does Duce have any interest in CU? Does he want to play right away? Does he want to stay somewhat closer to home? At Bama and GA he probably red-shirts–they have so many great developed TEs. Perhaps, the same at TX, depending on how developed they are at the position. SC he may play, but does he want to go to the PAC for 1 season then the B1G.

      Phoenix to me is interesting, since it is drive-able and there are a ton of flights to/from DIA, which are generally pretty cheap. If his Parents want to see their kid play, Colorado is easier than all of the teams he lists as Warm. At SC, he loses playing in his home state after 1 season. At CU, he always has one game his parents can easily drive to.

      IMO, if Prime were to pull a Feb 3 rabbit out of his hat, it would be signing 1 if not both of these guys. I just can see it. Some would depend on the dead period, and when Rashada ends his ASU visit. I could see a quick Sun-Mon or just Sun trip to Boulder. Commercial it is an hour fifteen min to Denver, less if they went private and landed at Rcy. Signing Robinson would be the most insane Signing Day coup possible.

  47. A massive – allegedly – nil deal gone wrong? Who saw that coming? And massive is of course relative. A million dollar nil deal sounds massive to me, for a high school kid. $90k seems about right. Or cars, housing and pocket cash, like the good ol days.

    Go Buffs

    1. somethings are just too good to be true…Santos syndrome. Sure hoping our dynamic duo at corner play out.
      million schmillion…. if his receivers cant get open he might as well be a 2 bit QB

  48. I really woud like to see a 3rd legit conference for the west, Big-Pac.
    Would be a distant 3rd to SEC and Big 10 after recent defections, but there would be enough good teams that could make it viable and who knows what happens over time

  49. I applaud the Washington legislature with their effort that might somehow contribute to keeping the PAC together…..but please dont give the big wigs at fort fun any ideas

  50. Daniels…sheeesh. 4th school. I read somewhere he has helicopter parents. Apparently he doesnt mind the ride. Even if the kid shines at Rice if I was an NFL GM his gypsy factor would weight heavily on his draft potential.

  51. I’m a little indifferent on letting kids transfer multiple times with immediate eligibility, or not. It definitely changes the game to a more mercenary style, vs kids being at a school for most, or all of their careers, but it seems that train already left the station. And I sort of expect with portalling losses – kids transferring to nowhere – that may settle down. My question is, will someone challenge that restriction in court? Probably.

    Go Buffs

  52. “way too early…” is absolutely correct. Why bother? These guys need to find another job in the off season. Something that doesnt require much brains or brawn

  53. Perhaps the demise of pac 12 and particularly pac 12 football has been over stated.

    Pac 12 may have the best qb’s top to bottom they’ve ever had.

    Go George. Grab that bag.

    Go Buffs

  54. 16 team playoff means a 4 game post season to the NC. Strength and conditioning, if it really does help prevent injuries, is more important than ever,

  55. Utah reminds me of the Huskers . Run up scores against weaker teams. If they play a strong team OOC they lose. They lose their bowl game. And they wear red. The fans are also starting to get a little cornholish so the resemblance is more and more apparent.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Red is bad. Players getting too cocky and not playing with class. While I wanted the Pac to look good there was something gratifying watching the Utes get pounded. It was only a matter of time for Cam to get pummeled too.

    1. How about the Buff offense as good as USC’s? …and it wouldnt take all that much improvement for the Buff’s D to be better than theirs.

  56. There are 4 quality QB transfers with great potential coming west, add them to the 3 big dogs returning and the 2 others for WSU and UofA and why would Cam Rising stay to face many of those guys in next year’s daft?

    So I’m thinking Cam goes this year like he originally said he’d planned and I can see Utah bring in a transfer too. The west has lost a lot of QBs to schools east of the Rockies/Denver and this year looks to be stacked with transfer talent coming west, some came last year. I guess it all depends on the lines, the supporting skilled players and the OCs, but the competition in the Pac12 looks pretty solid for 2023.

  57. Stinkin’ Lincoln Riley can’t coach defense or find an assistant that can, thus the Spoiled Children will never win the Big 10 title and will be an afterthought in basketball. UCLA will go the way of the Cornholers path in the Big 10, never really in contention in football. However, in basketball they will probably be very successful.

    1. My thoughts exactly. Except for basketball I think it will be a negative, not a positive, because 2 games in a week played 1-2 timezones to the East, week after week, is not going to be good. For UCLA football? Bruins will probably get steamrolled except the Big10 west you never know. Although from the looks of it, ChipK really likes to eat, so maybe all the regional meat ‘n potatoes and fried food will make him a happy camper.

  58. Thanks for the Leach collage Stuart.
    There have to be hundreds more funny and off the wall things
    If you didnt know he was a football coach you never would have guessed it let alone one of the most innovative. Death to cookie cutter football…..and sounds like it might die here at CU with Lewis

    1. Agree with you ep. Leach was an entertaining personality and an excellent coach. Few are able to say that. Thanks Stuart for posting this.

  59. Is there an easier team to hate than U$C? Watching them get blown out was cathartic even if slightly self destructive, at least from a money standpoint.

  60. dang
    I have been too busy working . Overlooked this game was last night.
    Gotta love it though
    the bigger they are the harder they fall.
    The best team money can buy went down like a sack of potatoes when their main guy couldnt play. You dont think they have been full of themselves all season do you and thought this one, along with 2 more were already in the books?
    I imagine getting ready for next year the spoiled children will simply buy 2 more of the nation’s best QBs for back ups and a plethora of new D players who wont collapse when the going gets tough. Overrated Mr. rice might then get at least a PAC ring.

    1. It was a good game.

      Chances are, usc still makes the playoff. That is good for the pac and CU for the cash.

      I am sure mekhi and Brenden have zero regrets.

      Let’s hope Deion comes to Boulder so we can get even higher tier players.

      Go Buffs

      1. After that showing on prime time there is no way usc will be in the playoffs. They were an embarrassment, have fun getting your ass kicked in big 10 smashmouth football Trojans

  61. Choosing a college football head coach is a crap shoot. Fisch is a prime example of beating the odds. When he was hired my first thought was another annual precious and rare win for the Buffs. the guy never played the game and never had any experience as even a coordinator.
    And as such when hired he had to be the least paid coach in the PAC.
    I’m certainly not saying he will keep bringing the team on the uphill climb to the conference championship but he did make the team competitive in 2 years.
    I’m also not saying that the Buffs make that big of a reach but they need to look a little deeper than some guy who was a fired former HC at the G5 level. They wont have the fire in their belly that obviously also missing in KD. In one of them you most likely will have someone who is coasting with millions on his last buyout and has a certain degree of arrogance.
    Some folks to will point to Bilema as someone who proves me wrong but his success was more attributed to a Leavitt like performance by Walters. When the big “B” was at Arkansas I heard him whine about making up tempo no huddle football illegal. That was enough for me to decide I didnt want that dinosaur anywhere near CU football.
    I have heard the Admin will be willing to make Prime one of the highest paid coaches in the conference. That is also a crapshoot even though I think he will be a good hire. Speaking of money, Prime should bring enough “jazz” and attention to the team to get more money bags to contribute to the NIL.

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