Once upon a time, there was talk of the possibility of the two congresses merging, or at least forming an alliance of some sort that would bring them together.
After those talks failed, Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark announced that his union was “open for business”.
Now, Pac-12 Commissioner George Klyavkov makes the attack, firing a shot at his Big 12 rival.
“In terms of opening Big 12 for business, we haven’t decided whether or not to go shopping there,” Kliavkoff said on Pac-12 Media Days.
This is certainly a live shot in Big 12 of what Kliavkoff clearly sees as aggressive talk from a rival league about poaching members of his conference.
Why the harsh talk? Because he is tired of playing defense.
“This observation is a reflection of how I spent four weeks trying to defend against grenades being thrown from every corner of the Big 12, trying to destabilize our remaining conference,” Klyavkov said.
“And I understand why they are doing this. When you look at the relative value of the media between the two conferences, I understand it. I understand why they are afraid. I understand why they are trying to destabilize us, but I was just tired of it.”
The Pac-12 head should be expected to act a little defensively. This season, leading brands USC and UCLA announced that they will be leaving for the Big Ten in 2024 in a surprising move that will change the face of college football forever.
With them goes a lot of the league’s prestige and all of its access to the coveted Los Angeles media market.
Just about the worst news that Pac-12 can get as it enters into its next media rights contract negotiations.
And about the Big Ten’s best outcome as it negotiates its next deal, which analysts now expect to be worth $1 billion annually.
The seismic shift in college football’s new economic landscape means anything seems possible in the future as schools chase more TV money.
Which is putting intense pressure on Kliavkoff and his negotiators to get as much of the post-Pac-12 media contract as possible.
But the conference is unlikely to be able to pull off anything like what the Big Ten and the SEC are expected to do in the future.
Which means that larger Pac-12 schools could be looking for an escape hatch from this conference if they can find more money elsewhere.
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