Pac-12 Notes – Fall Camp

August 26th

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WSC President: No $400 million pot remaining for Orphan Four

From … Washington State President Kirk Schulz offered clarity on an important financial aspect of the Pac-12’s collapse in an exclusive interview this week with Media speculation that as much as $400 million could await whichever schools remain in the conference in 2024 is way off base, he said.

“We need to just put that one to bed – that’s simply untrue. The conference bylaws state (certain) dollars have to be distributed among (the 12),” he told on Monday. He said lawyers are analyzing the particulars of it all and much is still unclear but there’s no massive war chest sitting at the end of the carnage.

He added, “Now, there are other assets like NCAA basketball units and other things that are not quite as clear. And so we have the attorneys working toward clarity and we’re continuing to ask questions on what the governance could look like for (any remaining Pac-12 schools).”

The unprecedented dissolution of the conference creates muddied waters “on what the board function looks like … It is clear from some of the initial conversations there are still some decisions that will need to be made by all 12 members, which could put a damper on the way some of the finances are spent,” Schulz noted.

WSU is hiring a legal expert, who is expected to be in place any day, to ensure WSU has the best legal advice to maximize all options and distribution dollars, Schulz said. He didn’t have an estimate on what the range was but whatever the final figure comes out to be for WSU, it won’t be close to the potential windfall first reported.

Continue reading story here


August 25th

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ESPN Bottom Ten returns (without CU!)

From ESPN … Here at Bottom 10 Headquarters, located at the back of the very long line of coaches impatiently waiting to share inside information with Pete Thamel, we don’t work year-round — it just feels that way. We do, in fact, take offseason trips with our families.

For instance, just last month I took the McGees to Boston, where we did all the touristy stuff, including an historic boat tour of Boston Harbor. I was standing on the top deck of the ship when I was approached by a very large human in a Minuteman costume. I’m assuming he was on a break from his period-accurate tour-guiding, because as he sidled up to me port side, he was burning a Marlboro Red.

“Hey, aren’t you the effing Bottom 10 guy?”

“Yes, I am.”

Here with ya family, are you?”

“Yes, I am.”

“You see that ship over there?”

“Yes, I do.”

“That’s where the Boston Tea Party happened. Those guys threw 340 chests of British East India Company tea overboard into that water. 92,000 pounds. That’s 46 tons of tea. That’s a helluva lot of tea.”

“Yes, it is.”

“If someone does something stupid to make a bunch of other someones mad, those angry people, they will do anything to get their message sent.”

“Yes, they will.”

“Like, say, overtaxing tea. Or, I dunno, putting my effing alma mater back at the top of the effing preseason Bottom 10 after they also had my effing alma mater at the top of the effing Bottom 10 pretty much all last effing season, too. Throwing you into the harbor would be a lot easier for one Minuteman as big as me.”

“Yes, it would.”

“Just something to think about before we play New Mexico State on Saturday. Have a nice effing day.”

With apologies to Sam Adams, John Hancock, Rene Ingoglia and Steve Harvey, here’s the 2023 Preseason Bottom 10.

1. UMess

Sorry, Minuteman Tour Guide Guy, but hey, I’m an excellent swimmer. And yes, UMass opens the season with the Pillow Fight of the Week of the Year: Episode I with a trip to natural regional rival New Mexico State.

4. North by Northworstern

When the Wildcats finished last season 1-11 and wound up No. 4 in the final 2022 Bottom 10, no one thought the situation in Evanston could get any worse. Then the vaunted Northwestern student newspaper said, “Hold my Helles Lager from Double Clutch Brewing Company.”

5. Rand-McNally

Traditionally, the Coveted Fifth spot goes to an organization that has enjoyed great success and esteem earned over decades of excellence, but has suddenly and inexplicably suffered an unforeseen series of losses. After this latest round of conference realignment, no one looks more useless and out of touch than mapmakers.

10. FI(not A)U

Mike McIntyre’s first head coaching job was at San Jose State. Then he moved 1,300 miles east to be head coach at Colorado. Then he moved 2,100 miles east to Florida International. By our calculations, his next job should be at Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, 4,000 miles east of Miami.

Read full story here


August 24th 

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Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 (?) announce an historic alliance

Press Release from the Big Ten … The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 today announced an historic alliance that will bring 41 world-class institutions together on a collaborative approach surrounding the future evolution of college athletics and scheduling.

The alliance – which was unanimously supported by the presidents, chancellors and athletics directors at all 41 institutions – will be guided in all cases by a commitment to, and prioritization of, supporting student-athlete well-being, academic and athletic opportunities, experiences and diverse educational programming. The three conferences are grounded in their support of broad-based athletic programs, the collegiate model and opportunities for student-athletes as part of the educational missions of the institutions.

The three conferences remain competitors in every sense but are committed to collaborating and providing thought leadership on various opportunities and challenges facing college athletics, including:

  • Student-athlete mental and physical health, safety, wellness and support
  • Strong academic experience and support
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Social justice
  • Gender equity
  • Future structure of the NCAA
  • Federal legislative efforts
  • Postseason championships and future formats

The alliance includes a scheduling component for football and women’s and men’s basketball designed to create new inter-conference games, enhance opportunities for student-athletes, and optimize the college athletics experience for both student-athletes and fans across the country. The scheduling alliance will begin as soon as practical while honoring current contractual obligations. A working group comprised of athletic directors representing the three conferences will oversee the scheduling component of the alliance, including determining the criteria upon which scheduling decisions will be made. All three leagues and their respective institutions understand that scheduling decisions will be an evolutionary process given current scheduling commitments.

The football scheduling alliance will feature additional attractive matchups across the three conferences while continuing to honor historic rivalries and the best traditions of college football.

In women’s and men’s basketball, the three conferences will add early and mid-season games as well as annual events that feature premier matchups between the three leagues.

The three conferences will also explore opportunities for the vast and exceptional Olympic Sports programs to compete more frequently and forge additional attractive and meaningful rivalries.

The future scheduling component will benefit student-athletes and fans by offering new and memorable experiences that will extend coast-to-coast, across all time zones. The competition will bring a new level of excitement to the fans of the 41 schools while also allowing teams and conferences to have flexibility to continue to play opponents from other conferences, independents and various teams from other subdivisions.

“The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 recognize the unique environment and challenges currently facing intercollegiate athletics, and we are proud and confident in this timely and necessary alliance that brings together like-minded institutions and conferences focused on the overall educational missions of our preeminent institutions,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips. “The alliance will ensure that the educational outcomes and experiences for student-athletes participating at the highest level of collegiate athletics will remain the driving factor in all decisions moving forward.”

“Student-athletes have been and will remain the focal point of the Big Ten, ACC and PAC-12 Conferences” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “Today, through this alliance, we furthered our commitment to our student-athletes by prioritizing our academics and athletics value systems. We are creating opportunities for student-athletes to have elite competition and are taking the necessary steps to shape and stabilize the future of college athletics.”

“The historic alliance announced today between the Pac-12, ACC and Big Ten is grounded in a commitment to our student-athletes,” said Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff. “We believe that collaborating together we are stronger in our commitment to addressing the broad issues and opportunities facing college athletics.”

The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences include:

  • World-leading academic institutions committed to the shared values of supporting the next generation of leaders.
  • Innovative research that benefits communities around the world.
  • 27 of the 34 Autonomy 5 members in Association of American Universities (AAU).
  • 34 institutions ranked in the Top 100 national universities by US News & World Report.
  • Broad-based athletic and academic programs.
  • A long heritage of leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Over 27,000 student-athletes competing on 863 teams in 31 sports.
  • A combined 1,019 NCAA Championships.
  • Longstanding relationships across bowl partnerships, men’s and women’s basketball challenges and Olympic Sport events.
  • 194 Olympic medals won in Tokyo by current, former and future student-athletes.
  • Some of the most iconic and historic venues in college sports.
  • Hundreds of millions of dollars in direct annual institutional support of student-athlete scholarships.
  • Over $15 billion in annual federal research support, nearly one-third of the total across all colleges and universities.

ACC talking again with Stanford and Cal (and SMU)

From CBS Sports … The ACC has renewed conversations of adding California, Stanford and SMU, according multiple reports. There is renewed optimism that Cal and Stanford can make a deal with the ACC, sources subsequently told CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander.

A group of ACC presidents met Wednesday morning to discuss potential financial models that could make sense. If admitted, the schools would come at a far lower price point: Cal and Stanford would receive an equal lesser shares, while SMU is supposedly willing to abstain from media payouts for up to seven years, per ESPN.

The addition of three schools would unlock further compensation from television partners, according to ESPN. But with the three potential additions willing to take less money — one of them none at all — additional funds could therefore be distributed to existing members. The ACC distributed nearly $40 million per school for the 2022 calendar year, and numbers should continue to go up with escalators in the league’s lengthy television contract with ESPN.

Several ACC schools have been openly lobbying for additional revenue pathways in recent months after the Big Ten and SEC signed massive new television contracts. The ACC previously endorsed an incentive-based initiative to reward high-achieving programs with additional revenue based on postseason success. The details are still being worked out, but the incentive programs is expected to start in 2024-25, the first year of the expanded College Football Playoff.

The ACC requires 12 votes out of 15 schools (including Notre Dame) to admit a new school. Four schools previously held out: North CarolinaNC State, Clemson and Florida State. Only one school must change its vote for the three new schools to be admitted. A decision could come within the next week, according to ESPN.

Continue reading story here


August 23rd

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Pac-12 implosion and its impact on Stanford’s non-revenue sports

From Stewart Mandel Mailbag at The AthleticOther than trying to get enough money to save their jobs, what could Stanford’s athletic administrators possibly see as good reasons to try to join the ACC? It certainly is not in their student athletes’ best interests. — Jeff P.

Well for one thing, lack of a better option. The difference in total revenue distribution in the ACC ($39.4 million per school last year) versus the AAC (around $8.5 million for the football schools) or Mountain West (varies by school, but around $6 million) is so staggering, I don’t know how any school could pass up Power 5 money if those are the only options. As far as we know, the Big Ten is not saving a spot at the table.

And while I agree it is insane to constantly send non-revenue athletes from California to the East Coast, there’s another factor in considering the student athletes’ “best interests.” Stanford recruits some of the best athletes in the country in those sports, and as such, they want to play the best competition. Just the other day, I passed a billboard off the 101 just south of Palo Alto with women’s basketball star Cam Brink in a New Era jersey. (Another win for NIL). If Stanford basketball was in the Mountain West, does Brink, a McDonald’s All-American from Portland, even consider playing for the Cardinal? How many members of its Final Four-caliber program will enter the portal if/when that day comes? Not just in basketball, but baseball, softball, lacrosse and many more.

All four left-behind Pac-12 schools are in full-on panic mode right now, but the stakes are particularly high at Stanford, which has won the Director’s Cup (a ranking of success across all sports) in 26 of the 29 years it has been awarded. Failing to land in a Power 5 conference could decimate most of those sports, financially and competitively.

Football might actually be the least affected because that program is not generally a national title contender to begin with. If Troy Taylor proves to be a great coach, the Cardinal could regularly go to bowl games wherever they play and maybe even win their league and reach the 12-team Playoff. But most of those other sports do compete for national titles. I don’t see how they maintain that without the draw of a Power 5 schedule.

Therefore, even with the travel, it’s a tradeoff they have to take if there is an offer, which, if UNC women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance gets his wish, isn’t going to happen.


August 22nd

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WSU President: Fox and ESPN conspired to keep Apple out of college football by destroying the Pac-12

From the San Jose Mercury News … One of the Pac-12’s longtime media partners had strategic reasons for taking the step that decimated the conference, according to a university president with knowledge of the media rights negotiations.

Washington State’s Kirk Schulz, chair of the Pac-12 board of directors, suggested late last week that Fox might have lured Washington and Oregon into the Big Ten in order to prevent the Pac-12 from signing an agreement with Apple.

“We’ve got just a couple networks that are making the real decisions about who goes where based on the dollars they want to put into it,” Schulz said during a conversation published on the university’s YouTube channel.

“I do think if I was Fox and ESPN, I’m not sure I want Apple in the marketplace, frankly. I don’t want somebody with pockets that are that deep as a rival if I can afford it.”

Pac-12 presidents were expected to sign a grant-of-rights contract with Apple that would have kept the conference together. But a few minutes before their crucial meeting on Aug. 4, Washington and Oregon announced they were joining the Big Ten.

The tectonic development prompted Utah, Arizona and Arizona State to seek shelter in the Big 12, leading to the collapse of the conference.

Fox owns the Big Ten’s media rights and was responsible for the $375 million (approximately) that Washington and Oregon will receive over six years (2025-2030) of the conference’s media contract.

Fox has not made a deep push into the streaming market, preferring to focus on delivering sports content over its linear networks. Meanwhile, Apple has distribution deals with Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer and was attempting to break into the college football space through an agreement with the Pac-12.

“Was it a strategic move on their part to say, ‘If we kill the Apple deal, that gives us five or six years without them in college football?’” Schulz said.

“People can say, ‘Kirk, put on a tin-foil hat; that’s kind of (a) conspiracy theory.’ But on the other hand, I can see making a business decision — I’m not talking about the value of the schools or any of that — that might be seen as more strategic to have a corner on the marketplace.”

The theory that Fox wanted to block Apple has traction across the Pac-12 footprint and support in the broader sports media space. But Schulz is the first Pac-12 executive to address it publicly.

During a wide-ranging discussion with former journalist Enrique Cerna, a member of WSU’s board of regents, Schulz acknowledged that the Cougars were “standing in line like everybody else to collect that check” from media companies. But he expressed concern over the role Fox and ESPN play in conference realignment.

(The full interview can be found here.)

“The more you pull competition out of the marketplace, the easier it becomes for some of those funders to really, really call the shots,’’ he said.

Continue reading story here


August 18th

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Oregon State AD envisions of a rebuilt conference including “eight to 10 schools to start with”

From the Oregonian … Oregon State may soon have an answer as to where it is headed in conference alignment.

Athletic director Scott Barnes told The Oregonian/OregonLive on Wednesday that Oregon State is committed to rebuilding the Pac-12, starting with the remaining four schools of Washington State, Stanford, California and OSU. Those four schools were left out on Aug. 4 when five Pac-12 schools accepted invitations to join the Big Ten and Big 12 beginning with the 2024-25 school year. That followed Colorado’s departure for the Big 12 the previous week, and USC and UCLA’s announcement last year that they would leave the Pac-12 at the end of the 2023-24 school year.

“Nothing’s easy, given the circumstances, but I think it’s our best path forward,” Barnes said. “It is a solid option in terms of building back. All the more need to have the four of us as the foundation of what we build.

“Will it be perfect and will it be the same? No. But the opportunity to build back and keep originality in play to a degree is important. With less choices, you have less of a path to stay completely on the West Coast.”

Barnes said the timeline begins with solidifying Stanford and California’s commitment to a new Pac-12. Asked when that might happen, Barnes said, “soon.” When pressed and asked whether soon meant days, a week or a month, Barnes elaborated.

“We can’t wait a month,” he said. “I’m hopeful that it’s days.”

If Cal and Stanford join forces with Oregon State and Washington State, Barnes said “we build from there immediately.” Barnes declined to say what schools a new Pac-12 would target. His vision of a rebuilt conference includes “eight to 10 schools to start with.” Barnes said the remaining schools would use the Pac-12 assets — existing media rights, emergency fund, NCAA men’s basketball shares, the Pac-12 Network — to “attract high-caliber programs to build this back.”

Securing California and Stanford’s commitment is the current order of business.

“The waters are less murky than they were, but they’re not totally clear yet,” Barnes said. “Once they are, I think we have a chance to put us in a good spot.”


August 17th

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Stanford and SMU pulling out the big guns to try and gain ACC membership

From CBS Sports … Stanford, Cal and SMU tapping some powerful allies in their bid to join the ACC. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on Stanford’s behalf, and former President George W. Bush, for SMU, have been in contact with officials around the ACC in a bid to get those respective schools into the league, Yahoo Sports reports.

The ongoing negotiations include Cal, though it is without its own representative for the time being. Rice, who served under Bush, is a professor at Stanford. She is also the director of the school’s Hoover Institution, an American public policy research center.

Bush’s wife, Linda, graduated from SMU. The school also boasts the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which contains his presidential library and museum. Bush was raised in Texas, served as the Governor of Texas and moved to Dallas when his presidency came to an end in 2009.

Stanford and Cal are searching for new homes after their current conference, the Pac-12, lost eight members over the last year. SMU has long lobbied for inclusion in a power conference and showed interest in the Pac-12 before its dissolution.

In order to start the process, 12 of the ACC’s member institutions (including Notre Dame) need to support extending invitations. In a recent straw poll conducted by the ACC’s universities, the expansion agenda failed to receive enough support. Reports indicated that Florida State, Clemson, NC State and North Carolina were opposed.

Money a sticking point

As Yahoo Sports points out, and as most can surmise, money is at the heart of the issue. Stanford has one of the nation’s deepest endowments, while SMU has a strong booster pool that is ready and willing to financially support all the aspects of a move.

Additionally, the ACC’s television contract with ESPN dictates that the network increases the value of the deal for each additional member, according to Yahoo Sports. If Stanford and SMU join, they can afford to forego their shares for a time, allowing other schools in the ACC to benefit monetarily.

Continue reading story here


August 16th

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Kansas announces $300 million in stadium upgrades

From CBS Sports … Kansas football announced plans for a significant renovation of David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium and the surrounding area on Tuesday. The wide-ranging facility upgrades will cost more than $300 million and are expected to be completed by the 2025 college football season.

The unveiling of the plans comes less than one year after coach Lance Leipold signed a contract extension through 2029 with provisions in the deal specifically targeting facilities. If “meaningful and substantial” progress was not made toward renovations of the Anderson Family Football Complex and Memorial Stadium by Dec. 13, 2023, Leipold had the right to terminate his contract without a buyout owed to the university.

Facility spending is a given in the sport, but this level of investment in football is off the charts for Kansas athletics. Until 2014, Memorial Stadium had a track around the football field. Moderate renovations took place in 2017. However, the upcoming renovation signals a different level of investment, including mixed-use development in the new Gateway District, major sports medicine facilities and a student services center. Development of the football facility began with new locker rooms and a weight room revealed earlier this month.

“The cumulative impact of a world-class football operations complex and one of the finest game day venues in the country catapults Kansas football, and our entire athletics program, into this critical next chapter,” Kansas athletic director Travis Goff said in a statement. “We have a proud history, but this unprecedented investment makes a powerful statement about an even brighter future and provides far-reaching impact for our university community, fans and football program.”

The university has already raised $165 million for the project, which will not include any general state or university funds. The university may also issue bonds to cover unpaid parts of the stadium, which would be recouped by stadium revenue down the line.

Kansas football will continue to play at David Booth Memorial Stadium during the renovation, which will last through the 2023 and 2024 seasons. In 2024, the stadium capacity will be temporarily reduced. The build will be managed by Turner Construction Company and will begin construction in December 2023.

Continue reading story here


August 15th

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Orphan Four Willing to Take Less Media Money in Exchange for a New Home

From CBS Sports … In many ways, this upcoming round of conference realignment is more uncertain than the last one. At least last time — all the way back to earlier this month — we knew the participants, where the money was going and who was throwing it around.

Consider this rarity as the four remaining Pac-12 schools try to figure out where they’ll be playing in 2024: The priority for California, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington State — at the moment — isn’t money.

In fact, for perhaps the first time in realignment, Power Five schools are assured of losing money by changing conferences. That’s a function of the Pac-12 all but dissolving and the remaining Pac-4 having limited options.

The priority now is finding a conference to call home in 2024. Clearly, Oregon State and Washington State have little value — at least compared to the $21 million they are set to earn in the last year of the Pac-12 contract. It’s almost assured they won’t match that sum no matter where they end up.

The Mountain West and American are both in competition for any combination of the Pac-4. The MWC pays schools approximately $4 million per year in media rights with three years left to go on its deal with CBS and Fox. The AAC pays approximately $7 million per school and has 10 years to remaining on its deal with ESPN.

In both cases, rightsholders for those conferences would have to go back to affiliates and ask for additional subscription fees.

Stanford, and perhaps Cal, might have a bit more juice than the others, but it’s doubtful rightsholders will pay much more for those four brands. The Bay Area schools came one vote shy of landing a spot in the ACC last week where a full media rights share approaches $40 million annually. (It’s possible Stanford and Cal, if approved, would have been offered less than a full share annually.)

So, what is the priority these days? Branding. That’s why the best rivalries in the game (arguably) reside in the 34 teams that comprise the Big Ten and SEC beginning in 2024.

That highlights suggestions within the industry that realignment has reached a sort of critical mass. Not that it’s over forever; it’s over for now.

Industry sources repeat that there is not much desire by either conference to add the likes Clemson, Florida State, etc. Not that the ACC’s seemingly “ironclad” grant of rights agreement would allow such movement.

That says loads about the reality of the market compared to how those schools view themselves.

Down the food chain, survival — not a big payday — becomes key.

Even if Oregon State and Washington State get admitted to the Mountain West for the current $5 million payout, that’s an extra $10 million per year that CBS and/or Fox would have to shell out.

(It is debatable whether the Pac-4 create incremental value for existing rightsholders in the MWC, currently the dominant Group of Five conference. MWC sources would not comment whether the league might have to turn to a streaming partner, such as Apple, to get a deal done.)

The reality: No matter what happens in realignment, those schools will be forced to undergo massive budget cuts just to survive in the FBS. Washington State already faces an $11.5 million annual athletic shortfall. Even Cal, which might be able to slide into the ACC if the temperature changes, needs a massive amount of institutional support for athletics and faces annual debt service on stadium renovations.

Continue reading story here


August 14th 

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“Pac-4” hires Oliver Luck as a consultant

From John Canzano … In the course of trying to figure out what comes next for Oregon State, Washington State, Stanford and Cal, I learned something interesting.

Oliver Luck is on the scene.

He’s been hired as a consultant.

The 63-year-old has held a variety of positions in his career: NCAA executive, college athletic director, NFL quarterback and commissioner of the XFL, among them. He has four children, three of whom attended Stanford (including Andrew).

Luck declined comment for this piece but I’m told by sources that he’s been hired to serve the Pac-4 schools in an advisory role. The four remaining members are in a dicey spot with limited options, but Luck’s involvement in the dilemma is interesting.

Could Luck help save the Pac-4?

It’s a long shot, but I sure feel better about the conference’s chance to survive with him around.

Stanford and Cal explored membership in the ACC this week, but appear to have met some resistance there. The Big Ten doesn’t appear to have an appetite to expand to 20 schools, yet. Meanwhile, OSU and WSU are waiting to see if the four remaining schools can find footing together before moving on individually.

“Are there four schools when all the dust settles? Is that three? Is that two? Is that one? Is that none? Your instincts are correct,” Washington State AD Pat Chun told me this week. “That’s the first step.”

That’s where Luck comes in.

He was a candidate for the Pac-12 commissioner job when George Kliavkoff was hired. Luck is a terrific back-channel operator who is deeply connected on a variety of levels. His initial task, I’m told by sources, is to evaluate the Pac-4’s assets and options.

The conference’s CEO Group now has only four board seats. The remaining members may feel adrift, but they do have some interesting and sudden control. Also, the conference still has “Autonomous 5” status and the automatic postseason berths that come with it.

The Pac-4 members may attempt to keep an imbalanced share of conference revenue in the next year. The conference expects to receive $420 million in television and postseason funds. There’s also an “emergency fund” that had more than $40 million in it before the pandemic hit in 2020.

How much is left in the fund? Could the Pac-4 justify the use of revenue to pay San Diego State’s $34 million MWC buyout? How about SMU? Also, is there a media-rights deal out there for a reconstructed conference?

Luck will help the remaining members sort out those answers in the coming days and weeks. Meanwhile, I reached out to an executive at one of the four remaining schools with a follow-up question: Am I being naive to think rebuilding the Pac-4 is a viable option?

Continue reading story here


August 11th 

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Canzano on the fall of the Pac-12: “How so many smart people can make such stupid decisions”

From John Canzano … None of the presidents and chancellors wanted to see the 108-year-old conference die. The members of the Pac-12 Conference CEO Group liked being together. The schools were a solid cultural fit. They shared academic missions. The geography worked.

So why is the Pac-12 dead?

What doesn’t the public know?

“How so many smart people can make such stupid decisions,” a conference insider told me on Wednesday.

Oregon and Washington defected to the Big Ten Conference on Friday. They’ll join USC and UCLA for the 2024 football season. The Big 12 scooped up Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah. And Stanford, Cal, Oregon State and Washington State are still scrambling for cover.

The downfall of the Pac-12 should be used as a case-study for business schools and leadership courses. It’s a tale laced with hubris, strategic mistakes and mistrust. The Pac-12 as we once knew it is gone.

WSU athletic director Pat Chun told me on Wednesday: “The Pac-12 failed because of failed leadership. College football is fracturing right before our eyes because there’s no leadership. When there’s a void of leadership these are the outcomes you have to deal with.”

Did Fox play a role? Sure. Has college athletics lost its mind? Absolutely. But if a few things had gone differently the Pac-12 might still be a viable, living, breathing college conference.

Several Pac-12 presidents and athletic directors spoke publicly this week. And a handful of conference insiders shared new details with me from behind the scenes. Those in the inner sanctum of the conference pointed to a hurricane of broken promises, shaky gamesmanship, blown opportunities and old-fashioned arrogance.

The person in the eye of that storm?

Commissioner George Kliavkoff.

Kliavkoff assured his bosses for months that a satisfactory media-rights deal was just around the corner. “I just need your patience,” he told him. “A little more time,” Kliavkoff said. The presidents and chancellors believed him, right up until that Tuesday meeting when the commissioner unveiled a $23 million-a-year Apple deal that required his membership to take a leap of faith.

They’d hoped for a big bang.

“The gun was empty,” one person said.

Continue reading story here


August 10th

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Mountain West Conference: “We’re open to everything. Nothing is being shut down at this point”

From ESPN … As Stanford and California await a decision from the ACC about possible membership, the Mountain West Conference remains on standby, ready to respond however those dominos fall.

After the collapse of the Pac-12 last week, the MWC has found itself in a position of strength and stands as a potential landing spot for the remaining four Pac-12 schools: Cal, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington.

How quickly the trickle-down effect reaches the MWC will be determined mostly by forces out of its control.

“It is about what’s happening with the ACC or whoever [Cal and Stanford] are talking to,” MWC commissioner Gloria Nevarez told ESPN on Thursday.

If Cal and Stanford are accepted into the ACC — a possibility that hit roadblocks Wednesday evening — there is a widespread expectation that Oregon State and Washington State would move to the MWC, sources told ESPN.

If the ACC does not add Cal and Stanford, however, it’s less clear how things will play out. Since Friday, when five of the remaining nine Pac-12 schools announced they were leaving, the MWC has been gaming out various scenarios.

“A lot of it is just trying to sort fact from fiction out there,” Nevarez said. “There’s just so much information about what’s going on, and not all of it is true. From my perspective, it’s been a matter of connecting with our athletic directors and presidents and contacts that I have in the industry to try to provide our board the best information out there.”

The American Athletic Conference would also be willing to consider adding all four remaining Pac-12 schools, sources told ESPN.

On Tuesday, Stanford coach Troy Taylor expressed optimism the Cardinal will remain at the highest level of college football.

“I think the players that committed to us and came here, they want to play Power 5 football, and that is what our intention is with this university,” Taylor said. “I can’t imagine anything else.”

If the ACC passes, he might be forced to. The Cardinal could perhaps keep its Power 5 status as an independent, similar to Notre Dame, but the school would then have to decide if that is a better existence for its student-athletes, fans and bottom line than a move to the MWC.

Read full story here

Cal and Stanford to ACC? “Significant roadblocks” remain

From ESPN … After ACC presidents met Wednesday night, the pursuit of Cal and Stanford for conference membership “hit significant roadblocks,” sources told ESPN.

No vote was taken, but conversations about expansion among the league presidents are expected to continue as they wrestle with the best way to position the league into the future, sources said.

Talks about Cal and Stanford picked up after the Pac-12 broke apart last week, but there had always been long odds the schools would join the conference because there is not a significant financial value add. For a league that is staring at a looming revenue gap with the SEC and Big Ten that could reach $30 million annually, adding revenue must be a major factor for consideration.

SMU also had been bandied about as a potential addition to the ACC, and those conversations aren’t headed anywhere, either, sources said. Cal and Stanford remain far more appealing to a faction of league presidents because of their academic and brand value, even though they would not bring in a financial windfall.

Sources confirmed one school that has been pushing for the addition of Cal and Stanford is Notre Dame, which is a member in the ACC in all sports except football. Notre Dame does get a vote on expansion, and it has a long history with Stanford. The fit from an Olympics sports perspective is attractive, too. But multiple athletic directors have questioned why anyone in the league would listen to Notre Dame because the Irish remain so steadfast in remaining independent.

That was just one of the dynamics at play Wednesday. The day began with multiple sources indicating they believed presidents could be ready to vote Cal and Stanford in because their discussions had already encompassed several days. One source indicated expansion could help bolster the security of the league long-term. “It’s a numbers game,” the source said. “Number of league members.” Given the way some ACC schools have studied the media grant of rights, it could be reasoned that adding members could help bolster the league if there were any defections — even though their additions would not be a huge financial win.

By Wednesday evening, however, it became clear there were not enough presidents willing to say yes to even take a vote. With 15 schools of various sizes and different interests, there was not enough to coalesce around one plan. The potential of programs leaving has the more entrenched schools within the league pondering what the next iteration of the ACC could look like, making unanimity nearly impossible to reach within the room. For the ACC to vote in Cal and Stanford, it would require the approval of three-fourths of the conference’s presidents/chancellors, which means 12 of the 15 schools.

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Four corner schools to receive full Big 12 share; four new 2023 teams won’t get a full share until 2025

From USA Today … There was speculation the Cincinnati Bearcats might get a full share of TV revenue from the Big 12 in their first year of conference membership, but that won’t be the case.

After four current Pac-12 teams – Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah – decided to move to the Big 12 starting in 2024, they were granted full shares of the conference’s TV deal. That led to speculation the Bearcats, UCF, Houston and BYU might also get full shares immediately, but the conference put that speculation to rest with the following statement Wednesday:

The two-year revenue distribution phase-ins for BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF remain unchanged by the Big 12’s expansion to 16 members.

UC’s media rights revenue will increase from roughly $7 million to somewhere between $18-19 million with the partial share for the next two seasons until they become full-share members in 2025.

“Then, it’s the full share (nearly $32 million per school), which is a true windfall for us,” Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham said. “We’ve had to be very strategic about our budgeting as we want to continue to grow the right way. We budget on a seven-year plan and talk about what that would look like.”

Will the Big 12 add a fourth time zone?

As the league stands now, UC, West Virginia and UCF are Eastern time zone teams, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor and Houston are Central time and BYU, Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah would be Mountain time. At Big 12 Media Days outside of Dallas, Commissioner Yormark expressed interest in a fourth time zone that would obviously benefit his ESPN/Fox media deal.

“You hope it slows down,” Satterfield said. “I have no idea where we’re headed or where we’re going. I’ve heard a few things about realignment, but really and truly, I can’t control any of that. All I can do control is how these kids come out here and perform and play and that’s what we’ve been worrying about. How hard can we come out here and play and put together a team that we’re going to be very competitive (with) this fall?”

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August 9th

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Washington State President: “We’re in a bad spot”

From ESPN … Washington State president Kirk Schulz acknowledged his school’s athletics program is in “a bad spot” as it faces a harsh new reality in the wake of the Pac-12’s defections last week.

Schulz, in his first interview since the conference dwindled to four teams, recalled the tense moments in the Pac-12 presidents call on Friday morning. Entering the day, optimism had emerged that Oregon and Washington might commit to a new television deal and save the league.

Schulz said that Oregon and Washington essentially ended the call before it began, revealing their intentions to finalize a deal with the Big Ten.

“It’s like a breakup; its awkward,” Schulz said. “No one wants to sit there for too long.”

The pivot point came as the call unfolded, when Schulz texted veteran athletic director Pat Chun: “We’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”

In a wide-ranging interview with ESPN, Schulz assessed Washington State’s options moving forward as “keeping all the irons in the fire.” He stressed he and Chun’s engagement with student athletes in the wake of such a seismic day and acknowledged “anger” from his fan base.

Schulz worked as Kansas State’s president during the Big 12 tumult in and around 2010, and he distilled Friday’s hairpin turn from a potential deal with Apple to the current scramble.

“I don’t ever remember a single day unfolding that was so dramatic in changing the landscape,” he said.

He added later: “College athletics is at its worst with this realignment stuff. Everyone is truly looking out for themselves. What it also does is changes behavior and people stop being honest with each other.”

Schulz made it clear that, regardless of conference or affiliation, Washington State will continue to “invest” like a Power 5 program. He also said Washington State will not cut sports, even facing a very real budget crunch that he estimated would represent 40% of the school’s athletic revenue disappearing. (The school already faces a budget deficit of more than $11 million and he said that utilizing a student fee, which is low at the school, may be one way to help raise money for athletics.)

He stressed the human side of a moment like this for Washington State’s athletic department and athletes, as he predicted the next two years “would not be pretty.”

“I don’t want to minimize it, that this is some budget exercise,” Schulz said. “You’re laying people off. Your best coaches are always on the market. All of a sudden, one of those offers [to a coach that] didn’t look so good a year ago [looks different].”

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August 8th

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San Diego State fails in attempt to create a new Power Five Conference 

From CBS Sports … An initiative led by San Diego State to essentially create a new conference that would have sought “Power Five” designation in the aftermath of radical conference realignment failed this week, sources tell CBS Sports.

SDSU president Adela de la Torre was leading a push to assemble what would have amounted to a breakaway of the best schools from the Mountain West and American conferences along with some combination of Pac-12 leftovers California, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington State, sources said.

However, the idea died after Monday night after Mountain West presidents held a call that ended with the leadership showing unity.

“Everything that is out there is from San Diego State,” a Mountain West source said Monday of the breakaway attempt. “They’ve been wanting to be part of the Pac-12 forever. They have a hope and dream that they can take the best of us, the best of some other leagues, re-form and keep, honestly, the [College Football Playoff] designation, reap the 10s of millions of dollars in distributions and resurrect the Autonomous Five in the West.”

The development could clear the way for Oregon State and Washington State to join the MWC, industry sources tell CBS Sports. The AAC has expressed an interest in the schools as well.

SDSU’s de la Torre did not return a request for comment; however, athletic director JD Wicker later denied the program’s involvement in a statement to CBS Sports.

“SDSU has been actively involved in conference realignment discussions before and after the latest round of Pac-12 defections. However, SDSU has not sought to create a new conference or seek A5 status for a new conference,” Wicker said. “SDSU has had no communication with the American Athletic Conference, nor any of its member institutions. SDSU continues to be an active participant with the Mountain West Conference as the conference assesses the best path forward during this turbulent time in our industry.”

The next round of realignment seems to be on hold until the fate of Cal and Stanford in the ACC is decided. CBS Sports reported Monday both schools were being considered by the ACC on a preliminary basis. The academic giants represent half of the Pac-12 leftovers.

ACC athletic directors met Monday and had another call scheduled for Tuesday to consider Cal and Stanford. The conference will also consider expansion with SMU, according to multiple reports.

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August 7th

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Report: Exploratory discussions on Cal and Stanford joining the ACC 

From ESPN … ACC leaders are set to begin exploratory discussions on the potential additions of Cal and Stanford to the conference, sources told ESPN on Monday.

Sources cautioned that the two scheduled discussions are in the embryonic stages — one call slated with the ACC athletic directors and a separate call with the league’s presidents that will play out on Monday and Tuesday.

With the Pac-12 down to just four schools after the defection of five universities on Friday, the four remaining schools — including Cal and Stanford — are scrambling to find places to land. Both have elite academic reputations and Stanford consistently has the country’s best top-to-bottom athletic department, but the reverberations of realignment have left them at a crossroads.

There will be headwinds to a move for Cal and Stanford to the ACC, as sources on Monday cautioned about the complexities involved.

“It’s complicated,” an ACC source said. “There’s a significant travel expense. I think it’s going to be all over the board with both the ADs and the presidents in what they may want to do. [Cal and Stanford] would likely have to take a reduced share. Eventually, though, they’re going to want to become a full share.”

Finances will be pivotal in the discussions. The ACC is locked into a television deal with ESPN through 2036 that multiple members have publicly griped about being constrictive financially for long-term success. The deal projects to put schools like FSU and Clemson nearly $30 million annually behind schools in the SEC and Big Ten.

The latest outburst came last week from Florida State, whose president and board members orchestrated a rare public outcry — threatening to leave if more money from the ACC’s current deal isn’t shifted toward FSU.

The potential additions of Cal and Stanford do not project to be financial game-changers, per sources. And while the addition of the academic prestige of schools like Cal and Stanford would certainly excite some ACC presidents, the fiscal upside appears limited.

“There’s no windfall for the current members,” the ACC source said, indicating that it’s hard to envision any scenarios where it would be significantly additive for the current schools.

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CBS Sports: CU rates as one of the realignment “winners”

From CBS Sports … The 2023 summer of realignment surprisingly emerged as one of the most chaotic in recent memory. The Pac-12 as we know it could be on the verge of collapsing after more than 100 years, and now its members are scattering in what has become the latest reshaping of college football.

Following the Pac-12’s lackluster media rights presentation, Oregon and Washington opted to take partial shares to join the Big Ten. Soon afterwards, the remaining so-called “Four Corners” schools — Arizona, Arizona State and Utah — followed Colorado to the Big 12. Oregon State, Washington State, California and Stanford remain in a holding pattern as Pac-12 leadership attempts to learn what’s next.

Ultimately, all six members that left the conference — eight including USC and UCLA — will make more money in their new homes. However, the consequences for every athletic department could be wide-ranging. Here are the winners and losers of the most recent round of realignment, perhaps the most destructive session yet.

Winner: Colorado

The Buffaloes have quietly been one of the headiest programs in realignment over the last 15 years. When it looked like the Big 12 could go under in 2010, Colorado allied itself with the then-safe ground of the Pac-12. Now, Colorado ran back to its old friends in the Big 12 right before the foundation started crumbling in the Pac-12.

Unlike every other team on this list, Colorado’s move actually reunites it with a handful of historic rivals from the old Big Eight. The Buffaloes have played Kansas 70 times and Iowa State 65 times and built rivalries with schools in Texas and Oklahoma during a stint in the Big 12.

Perhaps most importantly, rejoining the Big 12 also allows coach Deion Sanders to go down into Texas and recruit. Sanders spent nearly a decade coaching high school players in Texas after playing for the Dallas Cowboys. Creating a recruiting pipeline out of the Lone Star State appears be a priority and could pay off for Coach Prime.

Losers: Oregon and Washington

The Ducks and Huskies have been among the most watched and successful athletic departments in the country over the past 30 years. Both programs earned a rightful place in one of the top conferences in college football. However, their arrival comes through the back door with a diminished share.

Oregon has won a College Football Playoff game and played for national championships in 2010 and 2014. Washington has four top-15 finishes in the past seven years, including an 11-2 season with an Alamo Bowl victory in 2022. Now, both programs will make substantially less money than Maryland and Northwestern to play in the same conference.

To make matters worse, the Big Ten is a logistical nightmare for the newest West Coast additions. The nearest current Big Ten member is Nebraskamore than 1,600 miles away from both schools. While USC and UCLA provide a Western wing of the conference, even those schools are more than 800 miles away. At least USC and UCLA earn $75 million per year to make the nightmare trips; Oregon and Washington will be struggling on a budget.

Frankly, these programs deserve better.

Loser: Utah

Life has been good for Utah over the past decade. Kyle Whittingham has built up one of the top programs in college football and comes off of back-to-back Pac-12 championships. Perhaps equally as important, Utah has left rival BYU in the dust since moving up and playing the best and brightest of West Coast college football programs.

When Utah joined the Pac-12 in 2011, it represented a turning point against its rivals at BYU. The Cougars held a 29-20 advantage against the Utes when each were members of the WAC and Mountain West, but that flipped when Utah got a Pac-12 invitation. The Utes have won eight of nine against the Cougars since joining the Power Five with seven AP Top 25 finishes in the past nine years.

Now, the two biggest Utah schools are set to become conference-mates once again, and the balance of power in the state is up in the air. Granted, the Utes are still in great shape under Whittingham, one of the top coaches in the sport. However, BYU’s elevation to the same conference as Utah has massive long-term implications for both programs as attempt to claw their way onto the national stage.

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August 6th

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Washington President: Move “not just about dollars and cents – It was about stability”

From ESPN … University of Washington president Ana Mari Cauce said Saturday that the program’s departure from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten alongside Oregon was “not just about dollars and cents” but rooted in myriad factors, one being that the proposed TV rights deal between the Pac-12 and Apple did not provide the long-term stability the school was seeking.

“When you have a deal that people are saying that one of the best aspects are that you can get out of it in two years, that tells you a lot,” Cauce said in a conference call with news media. “This was about national visibility for our players, being on linear TV so they can be seen, so they could have the national exposure. It was about stability. It was about having a future that we could count on and built towards.”

Cauce went on to say that the TV deal the Pac-12 presidents had been discussing a few days before was not the same one that was on the table at the end, and that the opportunities and stabilities provided by the Big Ten were “simply unmatched.”

“I have to say this was heart-wrenching,” Cauce said. “For more than a year, all of us worked really, really hard to find a viable path forward that would keep us together.”

Arizona State President Michael Crow, who also spoke to the media Saturday in the wake of ASU’s departure to the Big 12, had a different outlook despite also leaving the conference. According to Crow, ASU was heavily interested in the Apple deal, which would have allowed for instant digitization of ASU football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball games and could also have enhanced the viewing experience as well as the athletes’ ability to use game tape for their own purposes.

“There was some risk but huge opportunity,” Crow said. “Some of the schools were committed to that but it created this another destabilizing moment of sort of tradition vs. this modern thing, so a lot of back and forth.”

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Lackluster Apple deal which accelerate the Pac-12’s demise: “(The deal) was not the deal that we had been discussing just days before”

From The Athletic … According to three people with knowledge of the terms, Apple offered the members a five-year deal with an annual base rate of $23 million per school (a subsequent counteroffer lifted it to $25 million), with incentives based on projected subscribers to a Pac-12 streaming product akin to Apple’s MLS League Pass.

At 1.7 million subscribers, the per-school payout would match the $31.7 million average that Big 12 schools will reportedly receive from ESPN and Fox beginning in 2025. But Kliavkoff encouraged the room to think much bigger — at 5 million subscribers, the schools would eclipse $50 million per year, closer to the deep-pocketed SEC and Big Ten than the ACC or Big 12.

The league also had an opt-out clause after three years if the deal didn’t reach a specific revenue target.

But there were no guarantees whether Apple would simulcast certain games on a linear network, as it does with Fox for MLS, in which case conference games would reach a much smaller universe than other major conferences. ESPN currently has 75 million subscribers, far more than the most optimistic projections for a Pac-12 product on Apple+.

Kliavkoff updated the 10 presidents throughout the negotiations, so neither Apple’s involvement or a streaming-heavy deal came as a surprise; the New York Post first reported the possibility in February. However, three participants said they’d been expecting to be presented with a second, more traditional option as well. Just as Kliavkoff and others had told reporters at the league’s Media Day on July 21, they were under the impression a new major player had emerged in the last six weeks.

But that deal, which involved multiple partners, fell apart at the 11th hour, shortly before the presidents’ self-imposed July 31 deadline for bidders to finalize their offers.

“(The Apple deal) was not the deal that we had been discussing just days before, and it was not going to secure (our future),” Washington president Ana Mari Cauce told reporters Saturday. “When you have a deal that people are saying one of the best aspects of it is, ‘you can get out in (three) years,’ that tells you a lot.”

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August 4th

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The demise of the Pac-12: Hubris, apathy, astounding mismanagement

From Stewart Mandel at The Athletic … This is the story of how 12 years of hubris, apathy and astounding mismanagement turned a once-shining mansion into a smoldering vat of ashes, with Oregon and Washington now following UCLA and USC to the Big Ten and Utah, Arizona and Arizona State set to join Colorado in the Big 12.

Just months after that 2011 Stanford-Oregon game, the conference broke ground on a San Francisco studio facility for the soon-to-launch Pac-12 Networks. Former stars like Ronnie Lott and Marshawn Lynch joined commissioner Larry Scott in lofting ceremonial power drills. This was to be a seminal moment in Scott’s rebranding of the old, sleepy, Pac-10 Conference into a cutting-edge national trendsetter.

“It will feel ‘West Coast.’ Modern,” Scott said of the network that day.

But the conference’s next 12 years felt a lot like that studio building — a vacant space full of unrealized potential.

Upon the retirement of longtime Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen in 2009, Pac-10 presidents looked outside their industry and hired Scott, then CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association. Their mandate: Raise the profile of a proud conference long hindered by its time zone and an outdated TV contract (remember Fox Sports Net?).

Almost immediately, he wowed them. First, with an audacious and nearly successful attempt to lure Big 12 powers Texas and Oklahoma out West and form a 16-team conference, ultimately adding Colorado and Utah to become the Pac-12. Then, he stunned the industry by luring ESPN and Fox into a bidding war with Comcast that quadruped the league’s previous annual TV revenue.

From that point forward, the presidents, led by Scott’s principal champion, Arizona State’s Michael Crow, gave him anything he wanted — and what he wanted most was to launch a media company that he would run for a princely salary (eventually $5.3 million).

Scott’s ill-advised strategy to launch the Pac-12 Networks without a proven media partner like ESPN has been well-documented. The bizarre seven-channel model struggled to gain distribution and never came close to delivering its projected revenue figures. It became an albatross from which league members could never escape.

But it wasn’t just Scott who screwed this up. As The Athletic recounted last year, the league in 2015 had a deal in hand to finally get the network on DirecTV — and the presidents, led by Crow, rejected it. Were this the SEC, they would not have been allowed back at work the next day. But that’s not how they do things out west.

It’s a lazy stereotype to say that West Coast fans “don’t care” about football. They absolutely do. They’re just not as devoutly religious about it as, say, Auburn fans, who will show up and tune in whether the Tigers are 10-2 or 2-10. And many of the Pac-12’s football programs gave their fans reason to tune out for much of the 2010s.

Continue reading story here

**Utah and Arizona State to join CU and Arizona in the Big 12**

Big 12 Press Release … The Big 12 Board of Directors has voted unanimously to admit Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and University of Utah to the Big 12 Conference.

“We are thrilled to welcome Arizona, Arizona State and Utah to the Big 12,” said Commissioner Brett Yormark. “The Conference is gaining three premier institutions both academically and athletically, and the entire Big 12 looks forward to working alongside their presidents, athletic directors, student-athletes and administrators.”

Beginning with the 2024-25 academic year, the Big 12 Conference will be comprised of 16 members – Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, Colorado, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech, Utah and West Virginia.

From the Action Network … Arizona, Arizona State and two-time defending Pac-12 champion Utah are leaving the Pac-12 and joining Colorado in the Big 12 in 2024, pending formal approval by the Big 12, sources told Action Network.

The Big 12 presidents’ approval is expected in the next 24 hours, followed by an announcement of the three new members sources said.

This is the latest blow to the Pac 12 and puts the conference’s future “on life support,” sources told Action Network.

The departure of the Pac-12’s “Four Corner” schools, plus USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington, means eight of the Pac-12’s members have left in the past 13 months. The Big 12, meanwhile, will become the third Power 5 league with at least 16 members, along with the Big Ten and SEC.

The departures of Arizona, Arizona State and Utah from the Pac-12 come hours after Oregon and Washington left the conference for the Big Ten.

Action Network first reported last August that officials with the Ducks and Huskies met with the Big Ten about potential membership. Both schools had already been “vetted and cleared” to join the Big Ten if it made financial sense for the conference.

Sources told Action Network that the Big Ten did not want “the Pac-12’s blood on its hands” by taking Oregon and Washington before any other members left. However, the Ducks and Huskies eventually decided to join the Big Ten, paving the way for Arizona, Arizona State and Utah to join the Big 12.

Wilner: What are the options for the four orphans of the Pac-12?

From the San Jose Mercury News … USC, UCLA and Colorado have already given notice.

Oregon and Washington are leaving for the Big Ten.

Arizona, Arizona State and Utah are likely headed for the Big 12.

The remaining quartet — Stanford, Cal, Washington State and Oregon State — is facing a Defcon 1 scenario.

What are their options?

Can they maintain competitive football and basketball programs without the massive revenue that comes with membership in a top conference?

How will their Olympic sports and athletic department employees be impacted?

First, the schools have a morsel of time to spare. The Pac-12 will remain intact through the upcoming academic year, with all 12 schools competing.

More importantly, the money will keep flowing to each campus thanks to a media rights agreement with ESPN and Fox that remains intact until next summer.

But as the situation stands, the Pac-12 likely will be reduced to the Pac-4 by the start of the 2024 football season.

Because commissioner George Kliavkoff failed to finalize a media deal before the breakup of the conference, the remaining entity might not have cash to fund operations. (Could bankruptcy be an option? Perhaps.)

There is also the not-insignificant matter of leadership.

Will Kliavkoff remain in charge through the upcoming sports season, or resign? An interim commissioner would need to be appointed to oversee operations and competition and find an escape hatch for the remaining schools.

Campus leadership is another issue for the remaining quartet. Cal chancellor Carol Christ is retiring next summer, Oregon State president Jayathi Murthy has been on the job for less than one year, and Stanford’s Marc Tessier-Lavigne is stepping down at the end of this month following an academic scandal.

Only Washington State’s Kirk Schulz, current chair of the Pac-12 board of directors, has the necessary tenure and grasp of college sports to provide strong leadership.

We see a handful of scenarios for the schools:

— Washington State and Oregon State join the Mountain West while Stanford and Cal compete as Independents.

— WSU, OSU and Cal join the Mountain West while Stanford alone goes the Independent route.

— The quartet sticks together and attempts to reform the Pac-12 through expansion, using a handful of Mountain West schools and perhaps SMU (from the American Conference) as the building blocks.

One of many challenges with this strategy is the timing: It’s unlikely the Pac-12 could add schools in time for the 2024 season because of logistical issues and exit fees in other conferences.

— The schools move en masse into the Mountain West, creating a 16-team mega-conference under the leadership of current commissioner Gloria Nevarez.

At that point, the next step would be the media rights piece. The MW’s current deal with Fox and CBS runs through 2026 and spins off an average of $4 million annually to each school.

Continue reading story here

**Report: Oregon and Washington to the Big Ten**

From the Action Network … The Big Ten is getting even bigger with Oregon and Washington becoming the latest schools to join the conference from the Pac-12 starting in 2024, sources told Action Network.

The departure of the Ducks and Huskies increases the number of schools leaving the Pac-12 in the past 13 months to five (UO, UW, Colorado, USC and UCLA) and could be the fatal blow to the Pac-12.

The Big Ten will grow to 18 members, the largest in college football history, and must decide whether to expand even further. The Big Ten is contemplating whether to stand at 18 or consider adding Stanford and Cal, or possibly any ACC schools that may leave, sources said.

Oregon and Washington will not immediately receive full shares in the Big Ten’s new media rights deal with FOX, CBS and NBC but will still make more than they would have by remaining in the Pac-12, sources said.


August 3rd

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Report: Barring an unexpected turn – Arizona to the Big 12

From ESPN … Arizona is in deep discussions about joining the Big 12, sources told ESPN, with a deal expected to be finalized in the near future.

The school is amid the final steps, including detailing the move in an Arizona Board of Regents meeting on Thursday night. Big 12 presidents and CEOs met Thursday to vote on approving the move, sources confirmed to ESPN, another sign of the likelihood of it happening.

Barring an unexpected turn in the Board of Regents meeting, Arizona’s decision is expected be formalized soon.

Arizona would be the second Pac-12 school to leave for the Big 12 in essentially a week, as Colorado announced last Thursday that it was heading to the league.

The expected move would reduce the Pac-12 to just eight schools, and it emerges on the same day that the Big Ten presidents and chancellors authorized commissioner Tony Petitti to formally explore adding Pac-12 members Oregon and Washington.

The expected move by Arizona has been viewed as a key fulcrum for the future of the Pac-12, which presented a primarily streaming-based deal with Apple to its membership on Tuesday. That doesn’t appear to have rallied the league together, as Arizona’s intentions to attempt to finalize the deal with the Big 12 have emerged since that Pac-12 presentation. It’s unknown how the expected move would impact that deal.

The spotlight will quickly shift to Pac-12 members Arizona State and Utah, which could take a few days to come to a determination on their future. The Big 12 also has courted those two, the final of the four so-called Corner Schools. But they’ve always been on a separate timeline from Colorado and Arizona, which both had meetings with the Big 12 in recent months before jumping aboard.

Continue reading story here

Stewart Mandel: Is the money there to pay for all of this potential realignment?

From The Athletic … The now 13-month saga of the Pac-12’s media rights deal reached full-on panic mode Tuesday when commissioner George Kliavkoff finally presented a deal to his members. Initial reports were not encouraging. Apple would become the league’s primary distributor, with an unconventional revenue structure in which the schools might make more than the Big 12’s $31.7 million average but only if they help drive an unspecified number of streaming subscriptions.

Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormak already has poached one Pac-12 school, Colorado, and would love to have another, with Arizona the presumed frontrunner. Could the Pac-12 survive one more defection if it turns around and brings in San Diego State and others? Probably. Could it survive two or three more? Absolutely not.

This brings us to Wednesday’s first mini-bombshell. As The Athletic confirmed, a subgroup of four Big Ten presidents began “exploratory discussions” about potentially adding two (Oregon and Washington) or four (add Stanford and Cal) of the remaining Pac-12 members. Privately, Big Ten administrators had shown little interest recently in further expansion, but, like us, they’re watching the fragile state of the Pac-12 from afar.

And then came Florida State’s wild board of trustees meeting/pep rally. Athletic director Michael Alford has aired his frustrations publicly with the ACC’s revenue situation for some time, but few have taken it seriously because, like the other 14 ACC members, FSU supposedly is bound by a grant of rights through 2036. That did not appear to concern university president Richard McCullough, who, in addressing the school’s “existential crisis,” came out Wednesday and said the quiet part out loud.

“I believe that FSU will have to, at some point, consider very seriously leaving the ACC — unless there were a radical change to the revenue distribution,” he said.

He then was followed by a string of trustees, including former Noles quarterback Drew Weatherford, who all effectively said some version of, “Yeah, let’s do it!”

As crazy as it sounds, I could see all of the above happening.

I also could see none of it happening.

Because while all this is going on, the TV companies that have funded every previous round of realignment are undergoing their own existential crisis.

When the Big Ten announced its record-setting $1 billion-per-year deals with Fox, NBC and CBS last summer, it seemed like yet another milestone in the never-ending bubble that is sports TV rights. That number marked a nearly 250 percent increase for the Big Ten in just six years, and only partially because of USC and UCLA.

Kliavkoff, perhaps naively, figured his league could expect much the same bump when the Pac-12 opened negotiations shortly thereafter. During the past year, however, he has learned those rules no longer apply. ESPN’s parent company, Disney, is going through massive cost-cutting. CEO Bob Iger sent a shudder through the industry when he declared in February that the company would be “more selective” with sports properties. The NFL? No-brainer. NBA? No-brainer.

Pac-12 football? Not so much.

But it’s not just Kliavkoff’s conference feeling the squeeze. Even the mighty SEC got a humbling taste of the new recipe when ESPN declined its request for more money in exchange for moving from eight to nine conference games. The network is under no obligation to pay a dollar more than it already does for the league’s entire inventory, but the conference’s leaders mistakenly believed it would do so anyway for the opportunity to show more LSU-Auburn, less LSU-McNeese State. Thus the SEC is staying at eight for now.

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August 2nd 

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With Pac-12 imploding, Big Ten taking a new look at expansion

From CBS Sports … The Big Ten has started considering further additions to its 16-team conference with league members holding preliminary conversations surrounding expansion to as many as 20 teams, sources tell CBS Sports. While Oregon, Washington, California and Stanford — all Pac-12 members — are the programs under consideration by the league, it is Oregon and Washington that are the primary focus should the Big Ten chose to expand by two programs and become an 18-team conference.

These exploratory talks are at their earliest stages for a league that had seemingly closed the door on further expansion after moving to 16 members following the additions of USC and UCLA from the Pac-12. The Trojans and Bruins will join the Big Ten at the start of the 2024-25 athletic season.

No further additions are imminent. However, with the Big 12 adding Colorado from the Pac-12 last week and a proposed media rights deal from Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff not appearing to be financially lucrative enough for other teams in the league, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah are now pondering similar moves to the Big 12.

Should one (Arizona) or all three programs defect, the Pac-12 could be down to as few as six members with Oregon, Washington, California and Stanford the most prominent universities remaining. (Oregon State, Washington State are the others.) At that point, it may become more prudent for the Big Ten to increase efforts towards acquiring the best remaining programs.

Continue reading story here

Nebraska’s second-leading tackler leaves team

From ESPN … Nebraska defensive back Myles Farmer entered the transfer portal Wednesday after coach Matt Rhule suspended him for the start of preseason practice.

Farmer was the team’s second-leading tackler last season and had been expected to be the anchor of the Cornhuskers’ secondary. A Nebraska spokesperson confirmed Farmer’s name is in the portal.

Rhule didn’t disclose the reason for Farmer’s suspension other than to say it had to do with a failure to adhere to team standards.

The previous coaching staff suspended Farmer for the game against Michigan last November after he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.


August 1st

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Pac-12 Meetings: Apple Streaming with “Escalator Clauses” presented

From ESPN … After months of negotiations and uncertainty, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff on Tuesday presented the conference’s presidents and chancellors with a primarily subscription-based Apple streaming deal for its potential television contract that expires after this school year, according to multiple sources.

While several options were presented, the Apple streaming deal emerged as the likely leader at this point, bringing some clarity to a lengthy process that frustrated many within the league and ultimately played a role in Colorado’s decision last week to join the Big 12. Monetary and exposure questions still loom, though, and outside pressure from the Big 12 remains.

There’s not expected to be any imminent decisions on whether this TV deal is enough to appease Arizona, Arizona State and Utah, which are being heavily courted by the Big 12. The Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees both Arizona and ASU, is scheduled to meet later Tuesday, but no decision is expected Tuesday night after the meeting.

According to sources, the first year of what’s expected to be a relatively short-term contract with Apple would start in 2024-25 and begin relatively low to the league’s hopes. But the deal, sources said, would incrementally improve and potentially be competitive with its peers in the Big 12 and ACC down the road, provided certain subscription numbers are met.

When the Big 12’s new TV deal begins in 2025, those schools will see an increase to an average of $31.7 million. That’s long been the barometer at which the Pac-12 deal was expected to be measured.

After the meeting Tuesday morning, there remained ambiguity about the potential value of the Pac-12 deal because of the unknown variance of subscriptions. Sources familiar with the negotiations told ESPN the Pac-12 is in a better position now than it was a month and a half ago to sell digital subscriptions thanks to changes in the media landscape.

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From KSL Sports (Salt Lake City) …  After a large buildup of Tuesday being do or die for the Pac-12, it appears they have given the most anticlimactic answer they could muster. No media rights have been agreed upon but expect another meeting soon.

First reported by Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger in a Tweet, Pac-12 presidents and athletic directors met for about an hour this morning. No agreement on a media deal has been reached, but apparently there is confidence in a deal eventually concluding.

Dellenger finished the statement by adding another meeting is planned for “soon”, but no further details appear to be known on the matter yet.

Apple TV Rumors

ESPN’s Pete Thamel recently Tweeted a few details of the media deal presented to the Pac-12 CEO Group, but no solid numbers were given. Based on Thamel’s Tweet and some other industry experts, it appears the deal presented to the Pac-12 largely relies on Apple TV with incentivized tiers. No word on any linear components yet and how involved they could be if part of the deal.

Thamel … No decisions on the deal or any schools pondering other options are expected immediately. Campus leaders are digesting the possibilities of a stream-centric future and the variance in potential income. The money piece is tricky because of the variables of subscriptions.

Brett McMurphy … Biggest blowback on Pac-12’s possible primary Apple media rights deal w/incentive bonuses is it’s “very challenging” for schools to accurately budget annual revenue, sources told @ActionNetworkHQ. Another Pac-12 meeting scheduled to discuss further

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Wilner: Future of the Pac-12 could be decided this week 

From the San Jose Mercury News … The future of a 108-year-old college athletic conference could be determined in the next 24 hours as the Pac-12’s existential crisis reaches its tipping point.

Commissioner George Kliavkoff on Tuesday is expected to present a media rights proposal to the nine remaining university presidents for approval, concluding a saga that began last summer when the Los Angeles schools announced their departure to the Big Ten in 2024.

But how will it end?

If the proposal carries satisfactory revenue and media partners, the schools are expected to plow forward together for the remainder of the decade, perhaps with replacements for the three outgoing members, USC, UCLA and Colorado.

If Kliavkoff is unable to secure a media deal that satisfies the presidents, the conference as we know it would cease to exist.

As many as three schools could join the Big 12, which is currently targeting Arizona but is believed to desire Arizona State and Utah, as well.

That would leave six in limbo: Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State.

At that point, with the so-called Four Corners schools gone, the six West Coast universities would have two options:

— They could attempt to reform the conference, in a lesser form, with the aid of expansion. San Diego State likely would be the top choice, along with SMU and perhaps Colorado State. But the options are few, largely because of the paucity of schools west of the Rockies. Of the 10 conferences that play major college football, only two are located in the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones.

— Oregon, Washington and perhaps the Bay Area duo could attempt to join the Big Ten and form a West Coast division that would include USC and UCLA. However, that scenario likely would require the quartet to enter the Big Ten with reduced revenue shares compared to the 16 existing members. And it would leave Washington State and Oregon State with no home.

Both scenarios would result in the schools facing massive resource deficits relative to their competition in other Power Five conference, thereby impacting the competitive experience for their athletes in all sports.

Continue reading story here


56 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. No Buffs in the bottom 10 but the author sure provided a number of degrees of separation.

    Where is Mickey Mac going to go after Dakar shows him the door? Become a hedge fund trader with all of his buy outs?

    I always liked that joke about why Nebraskans dont water ski…..becaise they cant find a lake that goes downhill
    You would think some of these coaches found a carousel that goes downhill

  2. I agree that Wilner is a USC homer and preached USC first for the PAC12 to succeed, well mister wilner, what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket and that basket leaves for another farm?

    Agree his predictions and field analyst sucked, and that his reporting from records requests and financials was better than the two dolts you guys mentioned. And that he was bias about USC first and then West Coast over the rest and the other half of the conference jobs were to just to make the top schools look good.

    Agree the arrogance of the presidents and PAC12 regarding expansion and TV deals led to their demise. They messed up long before failing to add schools this round and their arrogance and ridiculous counter offer and being late to the table caused them to miss out on a TV deal. They messed up when they didn’t kill the Big12 during the last round of conference alignment. When UT & OU left the Big12, the PAC12 could have taken the other top schools and grab a big TV deal with Big12 out of the way; and those earlier time zones for Saturday mornings would have been better than the PAC12 after dark.

    But I don’t agree that the way it was being developed that the streaming deal was better in the long run or the “future”. What I mean is while people are “cutting the cord” and many going to streaming like hulu, the content is still coming from espn or FS1 or ABC or CBS or Fox or… you get what I mean?

    Was the PAC12 a strong enough conference for a new “network” to start a sport’s broadcasting, err streaming company?

    Agree, that the networks didn’t/did have something to do with the PAC12 demise. They didn’t at first, that’s on the PAC12 for their ridiculous counter and their long time failure in partnering up their PAC12 Network with one of the sports networks and developing that relationship.

    But, then the networks did have a hand in the PAC12 demise when they realized they could just relocate key teams from the PAC12 to the B1G & the Big12 instead of dealing with all of the schools in the conference, but the PAC12 put themselves in that position and the networks made a business decision.

    The networks probably had a long term plan or outline of how they wanted the future rounds of alignment to go, but the PAC12’s arrogance and mismanagement caused it to happen faster and accelerated combining the TV pie.

    The people in charge dropped the conference in the lap of the networks and allowed for the “sell off” of key assets; why the four schools were left behind.

    1. Agree with most all your thoughts. I thought the Streaming deal, even with Apple backing it was a still long-shot for the PAC12, since they flailed so bad with the PAC12 Network. I’m sure more than a few of the PAC12 committee members were apprehensive about getting back into the TV business, in any form or fashion, even with a great partner like Apple. The failure of obtaining a Direct TV deal is one thing, however the quality of the network/content was quite a few steps below the other conference networks.

  3. Had to drive into Durango for a blood draw so I listened to full ride where Mike Farrell was being interviewed. What an arrogant POS. He is the poster turd for what is wrong with college football.
    He started off with the broken record of how CU was going to maybe win 2 games and Shedeur wasn’t going anywhere near the NFL.
    That was bad enough of course but then
    he went off on high school football calling it garbage and saying things basically to the effect that anyone who watched anything besides the top ten teams was insane. He mocked college football fans who watch more than one game in a day….but then briefly caught himself and weakly said they do pay the bills.
    Then, much like the drunk at the end of the bar, claimed he, Childers and 9 guys off the street could beat UMass. On that note, let me say if I was on the UMass team I would hit him so hard….like Ali once said….they would arrest him for speeding in El Paso.
    I’m sure the kids on my local 8 man team would appreciate the opportunity as well. They play their hearts out.
    Might be a problem though. I never listened to the guy so I googled him and found out he is a slob who might be fatter than me.
    I will give Neuheisel some credit thought for calling Farrell out on his negativity…..much politer than I would have been.

  4. A few quick comments about the Wilner article and Kick Schultz interview.

    1. Schultz and Apple’s Tim Cook look like they could be brother’s from another mother. IMO, they bear quite a resemblance. They talk in that silicon style way with similar mannerisms. Rather, than lamenting what might have been, maybe they should have just passed a collective PAC collection plate a year ago?

    2. Jon Wilner is a PAC12 and NW homer but he will be missed. Now we have Dennis Dodd! Wilner’s job is to sell newspapers, and his content has been good, and he has to present headline material. He did that, and his recent article fells well within the bounds of good journalism. That said, Schultz’s interview (an hour long slog) does not come across in the manner reported, it had much more depth and less headline material, that in Wilner’s article. Personally, I wish Jon Wilner well and would be happy if moved to Colorado promoting the B12 and Buffs.

    3. Sounds like Schultz and the Cougs are holding on for dear life to keep their AD Patrick Chung. Looks, like he is a hot commodity and a rising star.

    4. Schultz confirmed their budget will be less, but they will endeavor to persevere.

    5. It was a interesting interview to listen and to Schultz’s credit, he expressed great candor on many issues: (1) the Commish, Chancellors etc… were indeed were living guilty of living in Ivory Tower too, with their head in the clouds believing their own pumped sunshine (i.e. riding too high on their hobby horse); (2) they severely overvalued the initial PAC TV offer/counter with ESPN and that was a major FUMBLE–that was over early a GK should have been straight with them; (3) Schultz also protected GK to a large degree, putting the blame back on the Presidents and Chancellors–he admitted the Conference exhibited undue “elitism” in considering adding new schools to the PAC; (4) they continued to over-value the PAC’s rights at every juncture; (5) Apple presented opportunity, but the linear portion was a killer; (6) he even admitted his own shortcomings–to the effect of ‘I may have f’d up too’; (7) WSU and OSU just want to salvage what they can; and (8) WSU and OSU want to be in a conference that they can actually win, not just be decent. That was refreshing, and overall Schultz was candid.

    6. UofA was a goner early, which made sense. ASU wanted to stay in the PAC to the bitter end, however ASU had their own special interests at play. Did you know, in 2020-22, ASU established a satellite campus in Los Angeles?

    7. Both Schultz, the interviewer and Wilner missed the obvious about Linear TV, although they may have been accurate about cord-cutting and future opportunities, they failed to mention that many great games are not on cable channels, rather you can get some with a digital antenna. ESPN+ you can just buy a digital subscription. On August 2nd, I posted about the Covid impact which had more to do with ESPN being burned–I’m not sure ESPN was interested in helping the PAC from day 1 in the TV negotiations. The $50M counter was pie in the sky. FOX’s decision was to go all in on the B-12 and I don’t really blame them . . . why split with the PAC anyways? FOX went with the best hoops conference and then a stable football conference, so why should they be harshly blamed. Schultz did call it a business decision, and not necessarily collusion.

    8. Schultz was firm on equal revenue sharing for the old PAC and whatever happens if there is a new PAC. I respect his position. They could not have Ore, UW and Stanford enjoy larger shares, and expect WSU to remain competitive. As for USC and UCLA bolting, I will only address UCLA. The brass fact is absent a state government bailout, UCLA had to bolt to the B1G just to keep their AD financially afloat. They lost too much money beginning before the pandemic, i.e. 2017-18. He made it clear going forward that they do not want to tied to what other larger schools within their conference are doing.

    9. I found the focus on FOX torpedoing the PAC very specious/disingenuous, however Schultz still placed much of the blame on the PAC itself including the Presidents/Chancellors, so this was more a footnote that a shock headline. I think that they know deep down it was the B1G’s deal with NBC, CBS and ESPN that really doomed the linear tv side. The SEC deal too. FOX and ESPN were singled out, but they were just at the end, and perhaps they could have given the PAC a life-raft. Schultz did make a good point that the TV networks are probably wielding too much power in college athletics.

    10. A final side note, Schultz mentioned that WSU and none the PAC12 schools had really extracted or figured out the value of college football in terms it’s indirect impact on the schools as a whole– i.e. applications, exposure, contributions, etc… I found this to be an astonishing admission.

    Finally, he called the failure a entire “debacle.” The Presidents and Chancellors needed to meet more than 3 times a year to be successful, so they screwed the pooch too!

    1. Sorry but Wilner is not a PAC 12 homer. He is a west coast homer with the emphasis on USC, although he backed off that recently with their move. Wilner has only rarely mentioned the Buffs and 90 percent of the time it was in a derogatory manner….some what deserved I know but hey….
      I will admit he is better than Dodson and a number of other big outfit big mouths but only slightly.
      I will give credit for reporting on the admin level in the conference but when it comes to on the field analysis he is a lost soul with a horrible prediction record.
      I grew biased when I lived in SF for a year. It was like anything East of Tahoe didnt exist. It was also before the internet but it was still zip zero squat on any thing happening in football anywhere else including the Broncos and Buffs. The only time a team was mentioned east of the promised land was when a big ten team was coming to the Rose Bowl.
      With Canzano and Wilner its still mostly that way. Colorado was an afterthought. Its like…..”oh yeah, ……. Colorado……I almost forgot.
      The 2 LA schools doomed the conference by leaving. FOX and Espn might as well have conspired to pound in the last nail. Why should they give the PAC any money when they knew other defecting schools would enhance the the Big 12 and 10 that they already had under control. Giving the PAC mo money would have turned out to be wasted.
      The whole condition of college football makes me sick. One of these days, hopefully soon, I will be done venting and begin to ignore the media manure.

      1. Thanks for your insight on Wilner. I did not know he was an SC homer. I thought that was Petros and Yogi Roth–who may just follow SC to the B1G? I thought Wilner was an Ore guy because most of the reads are on the San Jose Mercury News, and there was little coverage of Stanford and Cal either. You SF perspective is cool.

        1. Agreed, Wilner and Canzaro rarely covered CU–afterthought is a great word for it.
        2. Agreed, they are West Coast homers, thus PAC homers too. I think it killed them each time Utah won the PAC. Even the Arizona teams seemed to be afterthoughts too. I do think they had to cover CU when we left to B12!! To my knowledge, neither really blamed CU (maybe an article the day after CU left is out there).
        3. Agreed, USC and UCLA leaving was the death blow. Outside of adding Notre Dame, it was not like the Ivory Towered PAC was going to be excited about adding SMU, SDSU or any MWC school. If they did, I’m sure that they would have tried to spin a great narrative…, but once the seasons started they would be an afterthought too.

        I have little doubt that FOX/ESPN probably conspired, but this is just like all the other networks conspire too. You watch Sports or anything on TV, the commercial breaks are almost always the same time. Schultz said the move really furthered FOX’s business interests in College Football, but why would they–they have: a big stake in the B12; a small stake in the B1G; and a MWC deal too, which is mostly streaming. I think the ESPN is really bad blood going back to the Covid year, the PAC spurning the initial offer, and then the laughable $50M counter-offer. They said buh-bye! Also, ESPN/ABC paid a ton to be exclusive for the SEC. The B1G had to split things with 4 TV entities to make their huge contract number, whereas the SEC went to basically one entity.

        Network and Cable TV have been colluding for years. Altitude not playing the Avs or Nugs on Comcast or Dish is a joke. I think they have been mediating for like 4 years now. I’m sure they conspired with Direct (Direct basically got an exclusive) with terms rendering adding Altitude on Comcast/Dish so be some expensive that they could not even really package it. Given the days of cord cutting, on the Cable side you have to hold on for dear life for your dwindling customer base (i.e. protect your business interests), so practically speaking to get full sports coverage of all your local teams the normal Joe/bar needs to buy packages from all the Cable companies. LA has/had something exactly the same concerning the Dodgers. One provider got the contract–then endless disputes with the other 6-8 providers, thus only 1 in 6 Angelinos could even watch the Dodgers.

        Agreed, the whole condition of college football is sickening, however I’m not all the mad about it. I’m a CU guy, so I like that we landed somewhere and for once our AD/Administration were out in front on something. IMO, I think this whole debacle or foray into Super-Conferences will probably blow up in 10-15 years anyways–it may just drive College Football fans away in general. Sort of like some of the strikes in professional sports. Eventually, they will need parachutes and it will go back to regionalism, and regional contracts. I do think that streaming will gradually take over and become the medium.

        The PAC12 debacle is fascinating to me, as there were just so many screw ups on multiple levels/fronts to even allow this to even occur. One last thought: think about what might have happened if the Apple deal was really in the works a year+ ago (i.e. Apple was already vested), rather than a last minute Hail Mary? The PAC would have just been looking for a supplemental Linear partner for their great games . . . not trying to extract $30-$50M for the conference as a whole? If Apple was already invested and involved, they might have funded an anti-trust lawsuit on these TV monopolies, if Linear tv balked. Once the season starts, I’ll be off this topic.

        1. Wilner used to say that everyone else in the conference had to lose to USC and that would be good for the conference.

  5. I like the OSU guy’s thinking. Getting SMU and SD State would be a great start. Gets kinda sketchy after that. Fresno? Decent team but no decent screen. SJ State? another bay area team….too many?
    speaking of which, I can see and hear HWSRN screeching at the left over 4 to let UC Davis in. I doubt if his immediate family will cut it with viewership.
    I’m done.
    back to reality
    aint got the dough? You aint gonna go.

  6. I sensed after the Buffs had been in the PAC-12 for a few years that there was a feeling that the Buffs were “not really one of us’, that they were “outsiders from over there”. This was particularly evident in comments in The Oregonian and from OU and OSU. In addition to what was said by OSU AD Scott Barnes (above), he said “We got better, not worse when Colorado left”.

    I am not going to miss OU or OSU after the Buffs go to the Big-12.

    1. I did not know he said that.
      Who are the outsiders now?
      Now Scott Barnes looks like a nervous chiken scratching in the dirt.
      Even though, in the past of course, the PAC was a top conference it was, in whole, an outsider itself. It was separated from the rest of the football country by over a thousand miles of football desert.
      It was in that bubble that media munchkins like that twerp Wilner and whoever “writes” for the Oregonian developed. Wilner is one thing I aint gonna miss .(snicker) but he sure will miss the PAC

  7. The pundit machinations circling the fate of Stanford and Cal have been interesting, and sometimes not interesting to read. I note that Wilner is now reporting that in the next 24-72 hours the door could swing open for the 2 Bay are schools to go to the ACC. I take his stuff with a big grain of salt. After all in late July his bets were leaning toward the 9 remaining PAC schools staying together after CU bolted–even surmising that the pending at the time media deal could come within 10% either way of the BIG 12 payout–anywhere from $28 to $34 million. Meanwhile I was reading with wide eyed fascination a piece from a reporter on a platform called VC Star that entertains the creation of the California Conference featuring Stanford, Cal, Fresno State, Sacramento State, San Diego State, San Jose State, UC Davis, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and the University of San Diego. The dreamer even scribing so far as to indicate if proven successful it could lure USC and UCLA back home after a few fruitless years in the BIG…This ambitious reporter gets my nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction !!

    1. Crazy talk for sure, but hey…. teaming up with UC Davis brings in Idaho Jones (aka Dan Hawkins)… what could go wrong ?!? 😉

  8. Oliver Luck
    Three strikes and your out?
    Third time is the charm?
    tune in same time tomorrow for
    “As the Conference Turns”

  9. I will wish Oliver luck (pun intended) in his new consulting role with the PAC quartet. Meanwhile we still have a PAC-12 season of sports to conduct. The recent collapse has left me puzzled as to what is going on presently at conference headquarters in regard to Public Relations/Marketing. As some may well know, the Pac-12 Conference has always engaged robustly in social media platforms like Facebook. One can scroll back on that platform to this time last year and find numerous posts daily on fall camp football and the upcoming season, along with posts highlighting the upcoming fall sports seasons of women’s volleyball and men’s soccer. Fast forward to now and I note that the last social media post dates to that fateful Friday August 4th and the conference statement re: the collapse. While it’s understandable that recent events have no doubt cast a pall on business as usual at their offices, they would be well served to keep a stiff upper lip and resume promoting the teams, athletes, and coaches in this final year of the 12 team conference.

  10. Wow. I just saw that SMU is allegedly willing to forgo 5yrs of conference distributions to join the ACC. Damn. The Pac 12’s leadership void, and/or incompetence, just continues to amaze.

    Go Buffs

  11. I have a hard time not seeing Cal and Stanford in one of the Power 4 conferences. ACC is in talks but that may bring the Big 10 Presidents to the table. Personally I see a 60/40 chance that they end up in the Big 10 at a drastically reduced share ($20M) and if not, then something close to the same amount in the ACC. It makes far more sense for them to be in the Big 10 geographic wise, and academic wise (although I believe this is simply a non factor, money (ESPN/FOX) is the real driver) and frankly they won’t get much of a choice on what their share might be. That will be a tough pill to swallow.

  12. I would argue that none of the teams that left for the B1G or the Big12 can be called losers considering the alternative if they’d stayed in the conference. Look at what they’d get if they’d stayed in the PAC10.

    No national TV deal, but instead a streaming deal that doesn’t make money if subscriptions are not sold and WE THE FANS would have had to subscribe to see our teams and for them to make any money at all. Add the conference would have had to produce content including pregame and post game shows and pay for all production costs on all content. So we have a loss of TV exposure, a loss of national exposure in general, with a major hit in recruiting, all with less monies netted?

    Yes, Utah has to deal with BYU in their new league, but better that head on with same exposure and opportunities v. being in a defunct conference trying to keep up with BYU who is now in a Power conference; one with a national TV deal that the PAC10 wouldn’t have. Utah would have been at a disadvantage in the PAC10 with a lame streaming deal instead a national TV deal. How would that have help recruiting and keeping up with BYU?

    Yes, Oregon & UW only get half shares, but they are IN! They are in one of the two conferences a school wants to be in come the next round of alignment, but they’re in NOW! Yes, at half shares, but that’ll still net out to more than the net of the streaming deal with way better exposure and recruiting. AND THEY’RE IN NOW!

    So how did they really lose, because instead of sh!tty revenue and sh!ttier exposure with a fall in recruiting, they are in now in at less than what Maryland or Northwestern will receive, please… They are in Now! Where they want to be, Knight will foot the travel bill for OU, and UW fans will be tickled to be in the B1G and one of the “Big Dogs” [I had to go there] in one of the two wealthiest conferences, they’ll be fine too with the support of their fans.

    The losers are OSU & WSU for sure and possibly Cal & Stanford. But Stanford has enough money that they could go independent and if they schedule their games well, read with top opponents, they will get on TV because of who they schedule. Play USC, ND with a couple of others from the B1G & SEC with the rest from the Big12, and maybe the ACC and Stanford would be on TV a lot. That could actually help recruiting.

    I don’t know about Cal, they’re kind of like UCLA, but compare TV numbers and fans travel wise, and they are less enthusiastic about football; they’re out skiing in Lake Tahoe come Nov. When football or basketball are doing great, there’s plenty of enthusiasm, but it wanes fast when they fall.

    1. Thats a pretty good assessment. The other factor is the Big 10 and SEC have football behemoths slugging it out with each other for supremecy while also have some real dog programs. The Big 12 has a much more wide open conference where parity is across the board. That should make it interesting as to who comes out on top. The winner gets an auto bid but the next 1 or 2 teams really can’t take more than two losses to be in the running for the CFP.

  13. …and so the whittling has begun, with OSU and WSU sure to fall out of the Power X, possibly Stanford and Cal too. Albeit Stanford has the money to go independant but who would watch?

    1. If Stanford sucked, no one… But use that $37B endowment to fund the football program into an elite program like it was just a few years ago, to attract the best players possible. Hell there’s gotta be talent that wants a degree from a private school like Stanford if they’re: 1. getting on TV playing ranked schools and 2. are ranked themselves.

      For a while there Stanford playing USC & ND were big games that went down to the wire and I remember being at a party, an all afternoon BBQ into the night affair (a family member coming home from military service) to find more than 50% of the attending watching or constantly check the game. It went down to the last play and by the last few minutes of the game most were watching the down to the wire game.

      NIL would be their biggest hurdle, that and admissions, but they can change their admissions like CU did. I don’t know how much they would need to be adjusted, but that’s on them and ND has pretty high standards and have religious rules too, but they compete. A high profile coach and a ranked program with a winning record would attract some NIL monies and there’s that $50k in tuition (or whatever) from a private school; they just need the right coach and they have the money to hire one…

      Just not CP! Stanford just not the right fit for him anyway, he’s more of a Rock Star in a town like Boulder compared to Palo Alto, CA

  14. Ok, so all 8 teams that left the pac are getting full shares of the current agreements in place. Evidently the networks do have the $ to give the pac12 schools deals on par with the Big 12
    So the networks simply didn’t want to deal with Kliavkoff and the pac 12, and they were terrible negotiators.

    I like the one large conference (nfl) divided by geography (divisions). What if the networks rotated around the divisions to keep things fair over time?

    1. Oregon and Washington are decidedly not going to get full shares from the Big Ten …
      Sources confirm @Matt_Fortuna report that new B1G members Oregon and Washington will enter the league at a reduced revenue share of around $30 million, which would increase by $1 million each year during the current media rights deal with FOX/NBC/CBS.

      1. Which has just got to bother the heck out of both of them (but especially Oregon) since USC and UCLA are full share members. USC probably has the athletic pedigree to get that, but UCLA? 6 years of reduced payouts to UO and UW, that has just got to be painful.

  15. From Chip Kelly, per ESPN “I’d be for, we’re all in the same division. Put 60 of us in the same division,” Kelly said. “Do it like the NFL where there’s NFC West, NFC north, NFC south. I think we should all be in, there should be one conference in all college football and then just break it up like they do the professional game. Based on geography. That makes the most sense. There’s your travel question. There’s all those other questions, but no one asks me.”

    Makes sense to me too. But only EP asks me. Nobody else cares.

    Go Buffs

    1. So basically break it up in divisions or conferences like the ACC B10 B12 and PAC? Makes sense, like nothing changed but the naming. There will most likely be divisions, just like the SEC

    2. Darin kind of said it already, but I’ll add that all this bluster and drama is just going to end up with regional divisions anyway and in 10 years we’ll all be thinking CFP is just the OG regional conferences of big10 + sec + big12 + pac12 but with a better and expanded playoff. Doh. Humans always find a way to waste time and energy.

      1. Exactly!!! Heading back to regional divisions/“conferences”. We will be going thru this all over again in a few yrs….smh

      2. Yep. I think that is exactly what will happen. They lose too many fans by leaving out the wazzu’s, bsu’s, etc. and you better believe the rowing and water polo, golf and softball teams (and all the support staff required) won’t like traveling from la to New Jersey, and Seattle to Maryland for too long.

        Silly humans.

        Go Buffs

        1. I’ve been writing that the TV execs are consolidating P5 schools into one less power conference by eliminating the PAC12 since CU announced it was going to the Big12, and to eventually get down to two super conferences and a move [back] to geography scheduling, next is the ACC. But they were in no hurry to break up the ACC due to the long TV & poor agreement with large buy outs, and the geography within their conference.

          I don’t think the TV execs care about WSU’s & OSU’s or Boise State’s fans, those are really G5 numbers and, more importantly, G5 TV markets sizes. Will they merge the two super conferences, like the NFL? Maybe. But, if the two can keep more money while having a third little brother P3 conference, like the Big12 who gets half of what they get, well they just may try to hold onto that for a while.

          Consolidating and scheduling by geography makes sense for the networks too, less travel costs for production teams, but think about it, that can happen with three conferences too. Two super conferences, the B1G & SEC, and a third one for all the rest of the Power3 teams, the Big12. So if say $20B is available (example only), the two big conferences would get $8B each while the third would only get $4B.

          This way the big boys keep their current revenue share/split of the pie, while the TV execs have a more manageable TV schedule and production travel costs. And the two bigger conferences could still beat up on the third P3 and the G5s conferences for 4 games a year with an FBS thrown in to avoid too much cannibalism of their own in their chase for a NC… And Money!

          1. Yeah, we basically agree, Marcus. The super conference model and momentum towards it has been building since at least 2010. And, the Pac, ironically, was an original catalyst. It’s an obvious conclusion for the sport, based on money.

            Where we differ is that although I agree the TV execs don’t care about the little guys, and for the most part conference leaders and institutional presidents/chancellors don’t either. However, they all want money. That means eyeballs (whether at games, or from couches).

            Check this out:

            Other than last year, when we had an upstart cinderella story out of nowhere, (looking at 270 yards, with a nine iron) viewership looks flat to down. Those money people? They don’t like that.

            Now, there are myriad reasons for that trend. But, I would posit that one of the larger reasons is the lack of parity, and seeing the same handful of teams – literally – playing in the playoffs and championship year in and year out gets stale. That’s one reason, allegedly, they shifted from the BCS to the playoffs and championship.

            But, that downward trend in viewership is WHY the little guys matter. Not that anyone cares about them, specifically, but they want the eyeballs those upstarts garner. At least I think, and hope they do.

            And that’s why I’ve been saying forever that all this is a place holder for a 60-80 team College Football Chase for the Championship. Now, is 60-80 still not all 131 currently in D1 (or 133 now)? Yep. But, it’ll include most of the traditional teams, including OSU, WSU, BSU, etc. as well as some of the newer upstarts like Cincinnati, Houston, etc., and, there will be path for those last 50-70 to get into the mix, too.

            That’s also why I believe some form of revenue sharing will occur, eventually. It has to, or power and the ensuing boredom, will consolidate further. It’s what professional sports realized a long time ago. And, no surprise, but college football and basketball are professional sports (which, by the way, probably generate enough revenue to share across every major state institution across the country, if the revenue were shared, not horded).

            Another interesting thing I’ve been thinking about – and I don’t know if this would’ve changed anything – is that when did state legislatures back off of financially supporting their major colleges and universities? So, to some degree, that drove a need for money from other sources. Enter, TV.

            Now, TV money would’ve flowed anyway, but… it’s an interesting side note.

            Go Buffs

          2. Your right that people like a Cinderella story, with 12 making the CFP, it’s gotta come from there and the first 10 will come from the Power4 (use to be P5, but it’ll still be the same pool minus a few teams like WSU & OSU) with the SEC & B1G leading the way with probably three teams each, sometimes four, so the two remaining Power conferences would get two each, that leaves maybe two spots for your Cinderella coming out of a G5, sometimes none. They care about the millions watching teams 5-12 along with the die hard fans of the first 4.

            12 games is fixing that for them and giving 8 teams a chance to be “Cinderella” stories… OK only 4 to 6 are really long shots, but it’s more than the 4 team playoffs we were dealing with.

  16. This is not mine. I wish it were. It’s from my brother, who pulled it from uw dawg pound, he’s a husky, but the Pac 12 remnants should merge w/ the Mountain West and call it Broke Pac Mountain.

    That’s funny. Thought I’d share the schadenfreude.

    Go Buffs.

  17. It’s time to blow taps on the PAC. Ducks and Huskies >BIG….Wildcats follow Buffs >BIG 12…And now not surprisingly UT and Sun Devils “showing interest” in BIG 12…Assuming the BIG 12 gets the corner quartet to become a 16 team conference will the 4 leftovers go to the current 11 school Mountain West and make it a 15 team conference? Stay tuned….

    1. …cool thing is that Texas will be gone from the XII by the time CU arrives (going to miss Oklahoma, though). Most of the other schools should be on reasonably parity for football. After a year building up the Buffs, Coach Prime could have the team peaking at just the right time

  18. Eric calls himself a cave man but when it comes to all this money shuffling I’m still swinging in the trees. Probably because I’m a tight SOB to begin with.
    Back in the cretaceous times when I was watching howdy doody with diapers on the connection was free and all you had to do was put up with maybe six 30 second commercials for a half hour show. Even the commercials were novel then and not that much of a problem.
    Fast forward out of the time warp and now I have to pay 80 bucks a month for the sat connection which gives me 300 channels, of which 100 are shopping channels (nothing but commercials), another 100 are pay extra for movie channels, another 25 or so are same old free movies that are on a loop that you have seen already. The few sports, news and old sitcoms that are left are stuffed with around 1/3 of air time rapid fire commercials most of which are repetitive to the point of Chinese torture
    Turner Movies are the only safe harbor.
    I’m not sure if paying what might amount to twice that much a month would bring any relief.
    Enough digression.
    The end game seems to me to be nothing more than a subscription for any and every channel you watch all of which would still carry more commercial airtime than the programming you signed up to watch.
    Which makes me think the PAC’s offer of a subscription service contract the thing of the future. Once the current linear contracts run out I see all the sports media contracts going that way. It seems it’s risk free for the media folks. You pay the schools whatever comes in and not a penny more. Too late for the PAC 12 though.
    Unless the Infrastructure bill does actually bring decent broadband to my slice of boon dock heaven its all moot for me.

    1. Streaming is the future, really? You do know that ESPN and FOX sports already have those channels (ESPN3 and FOXSPORTS LIVE). Apple TV is a newcomer along with a slew of others trying to make it in a very competitive landscape (Hulu, FuboTV and a bunch of others). Apple TV has Apple behind it but how much money do they want to throw away on a marketplace that has very low barriers to entry? If the PAC12 decides to stay together it won’t be for long, the streaming model (as a standalone) just won’t generate the income needed for the PAC12 to survine. Phil Knight has the Big10 on speed dial.

      1. Like I said its not here nationwide in time for the PAC 12 and too your point maybe never but only because there just aint the concentration of obsessed football fans that there are in other parts of the country.
        But the advertising backed money grab will continue in all aspects of entertainment broadcasting all across the country. Subscription streaming will eventually take over all of college football.. You pretty much made my point describing the stuff thats already happening.

        1. Then we are in agreement, especially on football on the West coast. BTW Oregon and Washington should be thanking CU for the Big10 invite. Possibly Cal and Stanford too, it’s hard to believe the Big10 Presidents will leave those 2 out to dry.

  19. Is the money there to pay for all of this potential realignment?

    Yes. Absolutely there is. They just have to realize revenue sharing is the path forward, like the NFL, NBA and MLB have. College football, specifically FBS, generates roughly $20billion/yr in revenue. Where’s it all go? I’ve no idea. But, you add that and the five or ten billion college basketball brings in, every year, and that’s a lot of jack, Jack.

    I’m just a simple cave man, but it seems that amount of money could support the entire industry, athletics, and academics, everything, if rearranged correctly.

    And, to those that think it’ll end up being 40-50 teams? I don’t think that way. Heck some corners want to expand March Madness from 68. Why? Because the Cinderella stories are fun, and they bring in eyeballs. The BSUs, Cincinnatis, Wazzus and UCFs of the world are fun when they break through (as the Buffs will be again, before long).

    Gonna be interesting to watch the saga unravel.

    Go Buffs

    1. March Madness is way different than football. Every park can have a hoop and all you need is a ball AND college basketball teams are 12 scholarships or so, so it easy to have talent everywhere. But football requires pads and helmets and etc… Schools have 85 scholarships and blue chip talent is not available to as many schools/teams. Above a certain number of schools, the money and pipeline of talent won’t be there.

      What exactly that number is I don’t know, but I can see it being two super conferences and still have the Big12 for the “rest” of the original P5 schools for the two super conference to schedule some non-conference games and to keep the number of (current) G5 and FBS games in check.

      The remaining P5 conference could stay as above or in a few years be a play in for the finial round for teams like the Buffs to make it into the super conference. Time and money will tell, but make no mistake, the TV executives are consolidating the TV pie and the P5 teams into less conferences and the PAC12 didn’t get a piece of the TV pie from the normal players. Even the MWC has a TV deal with TV time slots, so why move to the failing PAC12?

      Be glad we’re not WSU or OSU fans, after decades of being associated with a power conference just for being the #2 school in their state and the fact they got in early just to be possibly left behind by your big brother.

      1. Fair enough. But, whether it’s TCU, or Cincinnati, or Appalachian State, or Boise State, or CU in 2016 – although that ended with a thud – there’s still always one or two teams that seemingly come out of nowhere during the college football season. And that’s good for viewers and dollars.

        And, a big reason for the consolidation of power/success is the consolidation of funds.

        That’s my point. The NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. realized that some parity was good for the organization, drove interest, and revenue. So, as Art Model said of the NFL ownership, we’re 32 republicans who vote socialist.

        I think college sports (and the media money that drives them) will end up coming to a similar conclusion. Could I be wrong? Absolutely. But, after these gyrations of realignment, I still see the whole thing going into some form of revenue sharing model, geographic divisions (travel will be an issue for the non-revenue sports if they don’t), and the entire D1 enterprise part of the college football championship chase. And maybe, just maybe, Dartmouth, Yale and Harvard will buy their way back to the top of college football?

        Go Buffs

  20. I know Dennis Dodd is a B12 Homer, but the $20M number for the PAC9 does make some sense to me.

    Presuming no further defections, the reason $20M makes sense is that Apple is providing the media platform + potential subscription escalator/fees and paying off the $70M Comcast claim. However the Conference/Member schools must pay for ALL of the actual TV production costs (i.e. cameras, commentators, pre-game, post-game, and all other production costs etc… etc…) across all of their sports, and they must do so in a manner that their TV product is somewhat on par with the other P5 conferences. $10M year/per school seems reasonable to me. So $30M in revenue drops to $20M given the substantial added costs of TV production. Also, if streaming only, they will not have the same athletic exposure as the linear TV big boys for recruiting or other purposes. The production costs cut huge into any PAC teams bottom line/AD budget–i.e. $10M a school.

    Also, the PAC would have to produce a conference-wide a streaming channel to promote the league 24/7 year-around, perhaps that is included in the $10M costs. This model could put OSU and WSU out of business, as their budgets just could not cut it for 5 years. Their stadiums are too small. The same would be true for G5 schools stepping up. IMO, the PAC almost needs Angel investors to prop up each school, except maybe Ore, UW and Utah presuming they keep the lion’s share of any CFP pay-out and bowl payouts. Ore and UW would probably be fine on the subscription end, however I don’t think even if successful they sniff B1G or SEC payout range year-in and year-out; plus they could be need to subsidize the league member for a few years going forward.

    The others schools I’m not sure about. Utah could make it presuming their football team remains stable on good/great trajectory, and they run their budget lean and mean. Stanford probably makes it on endowments and is private. Cal probably has Angels or the State bails them out. So that is a stable 5, if OU and UW pass on B1G/SEC range dollars.

    For the other 5-7 teams (OSU, WSU, UoA, ASU, plus 1-3 additions) needed for a 10-12 team league they need additional $$ elsewhere. There are no funds for huge conference buyouts, and if expansion teams take a reduced share for the initial years, they would need serious financial assistance on their end–Angels.

    Finally, what do the negotiated exit fees look like for schools that would want to leave?? Is there leverage to extract a $50M+ exit fee out of UW or Ore to ensure long term stability.

    1. Not following your math GRII. the schools are recieving 20M from Apple TV and they are covering there own production costs, so to me its 20M from Apple minus production costs (using 10M), leaving them with 10M a year. Compare that to CU getting 31M a year and no production costs. The PAC12 is done, AU/ASU/UU to Big12 OU/UW to Big 10 (and probably Stanford and Cal since its the B10 presidents that will want to rescue those two). OSU and WSU to MWC. This will be the first of the Power 5 to go, and most pundits think it will eventually end up in the Power 3. Just my opinion.

      1. Your math could be better than mine, but if it is $10M, then UoA is moving to the B12 tomorrow as it is a no brainer. Get their full share and be done. They bring the major basketball clout. UU and ASU may have to go to the B12, but perhaps at a reduced rate; as they really have no other choice. ASU is an NCAA headache and BYU may not want UU, unless they are brought down a few rungs. This is as cut-throat as it gets.

        I think all the Pac9 knew last night that producing television is not even an option. Then the subscriber math was too damn difficult. Stanford and Cal, they may be literally begging the B1G to enter at a huge discount, as they have attendance and competitive issues in that conference. Sure they bring academics, but empty stands too. For UW and Ore (or all 4), I would love to be a fly in the wall in the B1G discussions as USC/UCLA will not be happy. It is one thing to say they make a logical sub-B1G division, but another if they have to wrangle over the CA recruiting footprint starting Day 1. I think USC/UCLA thought, hoped, or guaranteed that they had an exclusive for X# of years to get in front of UW/Ore on the recruiting front, but that may not happen. Think of it too for USC/UCLA’s attendance woes, if there are 4 CA teams and 2 NW teams, where to the B1G fans flock to for visitor games? One of the other PAC schools. That is a total nightmare when they want to pack the Rose bowl and Coliseum.

        OSU and WSU to the MWC makes sense as although their shares may not be as big, and they do not need all the overhead of being in the PAC12 with smaller stadiums. Their budgets will probably fit decent in the MWC; and they may find football success earlier rather than later.

        It will be an interesting few days. I still think it could be the Power 4 if Notre Dame throws in with the ACC. For whatever reason ND has never really wanted into the B1G, and still may want to still stay out. ND has been courted many times by the B1G. The ACC could remain a P4 and be top-heavy with ND, Clemson and the Florida schools deciding that is their best path into the CFP.

        I think Covid of all things may have done in the PAC12. In 2020, the PAC sent CU and Ore to bowls and the other big market/good PAC teams opted out–5-6 spots for Stanford, USC, UCLA, UW and UU. From a TV or bowl executive’s standpoint, I can see where ESPN just said no deal even at a discounted rate, if ESPN has exclusive times slot filled with cancelled or poor bowl match-ups. The Bowl sponsors would feel slighted as well. Those execs do not like being left out in the cold, and 2020 may have led to grudges on the TV front + burned sponsors.

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