The last two years have been crazy in the world of collegiate athletics. It’s fun if you’re a fan of conference realignment.
Colorado announced that it will be leaving the Pac-12 returning to the Big 12 conference, 13 years after it left for the Pac-12. This was on the heels of the Pac-12 losing USC and UCLA to the Big 10 (I’m still shudder at the future logistic and travel issues), which occurred shortly after Oklahoma and Texas announced they would be leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.
So if you’re keeping score at home, the Pac-12 has lost three teams in a year.
One could say it’s hubris. Others would say it’s naivete and lacking a sense of urgency. All of those would be correct.
One thing all would agree on is that leadership, specifically commissioner George Kliavkoff, dropped the ball — big time.
I mean sure, former commissioner Larry Scott started the landslide by foolishly deciding the Pac-12 should navigate the Pac-12 Network on its own instead of partnering with ESPN and Fox. That led to carriage issues and several millions of dollars left on the table. Those issues left USC and UCLA wanting more from a monetary standpoint, setting the stage for them eventually announcing their departure from the Pac-12.
As for Kliavkoff, WOOO CHILD…
First, Kliavkoff saw Oklahoma and Texas announce their departures from the Big 12 to the SEC. People thought the Pac-12 would work and pounce on the remaining desirable schools in the Big 12.
Did they? NOPE.
Kliavkoff also had a shot to negotiate a new TV deal with ESPN and Fox before the Big 12 after the OU and Texas news. But did he?
He, for reasons only he himself would know, fell asleep at the wheel and allowed Brett Yormark and the Big 12 to leapfrog them and get a sweet deal with ESPN and Fox, leaving the Pac-12 to scrounge for possible STREAMING DEALS.
Look, I know Colorado sucks ass in football, but in this case it’s less about football and more about two things: TV market and perception.
Colorado will be taking the Denver TV market with them from the Pac-12 to the Big 12. And as for perception, if lowly Colorado lost trust in the Pac-12 brain-trust, what would the higher profile programs like Oregon, Washington and Utah be thinking?
How could the Pac-12 possibly exist going forward? Who in the hell would even do a new TV deal with them? Would any of the Pac-12 schools even sign a grant of rights — and why would they? Hell, who would even want to join them at this point?
Seeing the Pac-12 in its current mess should make any fan of college sports very sad.
Categories: college football