“In Memoriam–Pac 12 Conference”
It was like a lightning bolt that came crashing thru my computer at 11:30am on Thursday.
The first bulletin of the story that would dominate the rest of the day and the sports topics going forward.
USC-UCLA filing application to leave the Pac 12-Conference and join the Big 10-Conference.
So much for history, legacy, tradition between schools that have been linked as far back as 1915 on gridirons up and down the West Coast.
My heart sank thinking of its impact on the history of the Rose Bowl. Thinking of the great rivalries, Trojans-Bruins…Cal Stanford’s Big Game..the Apple Cup…the Civil War-Oregon-Oregon State..
I thought of a cemetery with a head stone that would read ‘Conference of Champions;
I thought too of the disgraced fired Commissioner Larry Scott, who led the Conference into financial ruin with his misguided decisions about the Pac 12-TV Network and other bad choices. He by the way earned 23M in salaries and bonuses. Did you know there were 9-employees in the conference office making 400,000 or more last year before he was removed?
In a college football landscape ever shifting, big dollars drive everything. The Pac 12 fell into a sinkhole it will never recover from, and thus this move as the Big 10-expands to 16-teams effective in 2024.
No one saw this coming, but maybe we should have. When Texas-Oklahoma angrily walked out on the Big 12,heading to the SEC and taking that league to 16-schools, you knew someone else would have to respond.
Of course in prior years, we have had 2-major shake ups in sports. The near death of the Big 12…the two middle of the night runs by the SEC-stealing Texas AM-Arkansas, then the Sooners-Longhorns arrival…the dissolving of the Big East Conference with Syracuse-Pitt-Penn State all moving…the arrival of new people in the ACC…and now this earthquake of upheaval.
The mega conferences’ TV media deals are driving all this, and as each school’s media deals escalated yearly, the Pac 12’s impact and profits decreased.
Big 10-revenue in 2019-pre pandemic (768M)
Pac 12 revenue that year (533M)
Big 10-Media revenue this year (688M)
Pac 12-Media was worth (344M)
SEC payouts (56M) per school in 2020
Pac 12 (19M)
Pac 12-Revenues in 2020-last reporting year (234M)-down 36%
Pac 12-Media share (19.8M)..down 41%
Pac 12-Network revenue (43M)..down 64%.
The conference has been on a 5-year skid in terms of profits, visibility and respectability.
Football, the Pac 10 money maker, went (0-5) in bowl games last year. The Big 10-had 10-schools in bowls recording 6-wins.
Estimates from TV sources indicate the new Big 10-TV deal, up for extension a year from now, could be worth 1B by adding the lucrative LA market and West Coast TV sets.
It’s shocking to think of where this conference came from, what it grew too, and now what has happened.
And now, like a 9.1-earthquake, come the aftershocks. What becomes of the legendary Oregon Ducks and Washington Huskies? Left behind Cal-Stanford.
Wounded by all this Utah-Colorado. Out on the edge Arizona-Arizona State. Where to next Oregon State-Washington State?.
Rumors are flying of the next set of changes. The Big 12, which just added 4-schools, makes a run at Oregon-Washington, ASU and UA.
Whatever remnants of the Pac 12, Oregon State, WSU, CU, Utah, Stanford, have to pick up the pieces. Will they disappear completely? Go all independent? Try to build a new conference?
Do they make a run for Boise State and San Diego State to come on board? But if that is what the new look Pac 12 looks like, it sure doesn’t sell me as big time, but more like Conference USA, or the old WAC, or just a watered down MWC.
Just not sure I can get excited about USC facing Rutgers, Nebraska (last place) ,worn out Maryland, or Northwestern in a brace of Big 10-games. Not sure how UCLA would do playing Michigan-Ohio State-Penn State-Iowa-Wisconsin and others in a steady diet of conference games.
The Trojans have never been the same since Pete Carroll left. Wonder what John McKay would say about this? UCLA has never accomplished anything under Chip Kelly. Are they prepared for what is next.?
What an uneasy feeling at this hour after experiencing so many highs covering, broadcasting, watching the Pac 8-grow to the Pac 10, then the Pac 12.
The funeral service could come as early as this weekend with formal acceptance. The grieving should be enormous.
RIP-Pac 12 Conference. A real death in college athletics out here on the West Coast.