LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 29, 2022 - - Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliwkopf makes his opening remarks at the start of Pac-12 Media Day in Novo at LA Live on July 29, 2022.  The one day program has all the features.  12 head coaches and two student-athletes from each university, plus representatives from the Pac-12 Conference staff.  (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Pac-12 is learning about college football’s new landscape the hard way

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliwkopf spent his media day early Friday remarking about the profiteering and professionalism of college athletics — yes, yes, bless his heart.

He talked about being “disappointed” that USC and UCLA are heading to the Big Ten “after a century of tradition and rivalry”. He said college sports “have lost sight of the student-athlete collectively.”

He urged the industry to “reorganize” because “our long-term measure … may not be how much money we can consolidate … we must measure how many lives we can change.”

He then mentioned that the Pac-12 was actively looking to expand and took a shot at a previous Big 12 comment about being “open for business.”

“We appreciate it,” Kliavkoff said. “We haven’t decided whether we’re going to shop there or not.”

In other words, what are the Pac-12 schools that are going to raid the Big 12. (If anyone is interested, which, of course, we’ll get to later).

Kliavkoff said it was an offensive line, but added that he had no choice.

Kliavkoff said, “I have spent four weeks trying to defend against the grenades that have been trying to destabilize the rest of our conference from every corner of the Big 12.” “When you look at the relative media value among conventions, I get why they fear.”

It’s modern college game in a nutshell, back and forth from sepia-toned ideals and modern cutthroat capitalism. People who run college sports – mostly football – can’t figure out what they want to be… other than well-compensated, of course.

Threatening to be a hunter convention, Kliavkoff was mourning hunter conventions. And if he thinks it’s dishonest or treacherous for USC and UCLA to jump from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten, doesn’t that all apply to the Pac-12 as well for someone jumping from the Big 12 or the Mountain West?

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 29, 2022 - - Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliwkopf makes his opening remarks at the start of Pac-12 Media Day in Novo at LA Live on July 29, 2022.  The one day program has all the features.  12 head coaches and two student-athletes from each university, plus representatives from the Pac-12 Conference staff.  (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Pac-12 Commissioner George Klivkopf makes his opening remarks at the start of Pac-12 Media Day at The Novo in LA Live on Friday. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Words are words. Media rights are media rights.

“Sometimes you just have to punch back,” Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens told reporters.

really. And the Pac-12 needs to do a lot of punching to survive. Which is why Kliavkoff must scrap the heart-and-flowers approach to describing college athletics.

It is a fight for money and only money.

“We are behind,” Kliavkoff said. “We have to close the gap in revenue.”

So can the Pac-12 really be poaching the Big 12?

A year ago the answer was yes. It was the Big 12 that were reeling and weakening after Oklahoma and Texas announced that they were heading to the SEC’s monetary environment. Any of the remaining eight schools would have jumped on the Pac-12 lifeline.

However, Pac-12 did not call. The Big 12 schools formed a strange bond born out of being unwanted, adding and re-grouping four new schools (BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston). They are not what they were, but they seem unified.

That’s why new Big 12 commissioner Brett Yourmark made it clear that his league was “open for business”… a clear nod to any Pac-12 school seeking stability in the past.

So the question now may be who wins this tug-of-war and whether the Pac-12 will regret not “destabilizing” the Big 12 when given the chance.

The Big 12 is offering calm waters more than anything. Everyone in the Pac-12 knows that Oregon and Washington are doing their best to get into the Big Ten and will jump on an invite. Meanwhile, Stanford believes that if Notre Dame ever moves to the Big Ten as the 17th team, the Cardinals will be invited to come as well.

So the future of the Pac-12 is based on the expectation that desirable schools are not desirable, because once they are gone, a la Bruins and Trojans, the moment their grant of rights ends.

Which is why the Big 12 is trying to draw in the remaining schools that are tired of the gap. Will Arizona and Arizona State see that league as a better fit? How about Utah or Colorado, who was a former Big 8 member?

It’s definitely like Jenga Tower. If you get one, the whole place can collapse and then you can pick whatever you want from the rubble.

The Pac-12, meanwhile, suggests Clivekoff may try to break into the best of the Big 12 by waving a rich television deal and access to the populous West Coast (even Los Angeles). .

But will anyone go when loyalty begins to waver?

Or will the Pac-12 be forced to grab some Mountain West schools like San Diego State, UNLV or Boise State? Or – more likely – just stick to 10 and hope for the best?

In any case, the commissioner is saying the silent part out loud. Alignment often happens in silence. Not at this time.

There is no collectivity, no equality, no equality.

It’s a fight, so ignore all the high and mighty rhetoric in the beginning because none of it applies here.

This is college athletics, after all.

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