It’s 2022 Media Day for the Pac-12 college football programs, and Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff made some surprising comments during the Q&A after his opening remarks.
Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff is bummed out, to say the least since UCLA and USC announced their departure for the BIG 10.
But it’s not only George who is “Very disappointed” by the departure of UCLA and USC. The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom is irate, “The first duty of every public university is to the people – especially students. UCLA must clearly explain to the public how this deal will improve the experience for all its student-athletes, will honor its century-old partnership with UC Berkeley, and will preserve the histories, rivalries, and traditions that enrich our communities.” He wants to know why the move is better for the athletes.
Ryan Young, Yahoo! News says “There is talk of requiring UCLA paying UC Berkeley an “exit fee” to leave the conference or even sharing TV revenue in the future.”
Newsom, an ex officio member of the board of the University of California Regents, was mad that the deal with the BIG10 was done secretively, and also because he just spent millions on helping UCLA and with UCLA moving. With the moves, the Cal Bears will stand to lose money.
Per the Associated Press: UCLA’s athletic department, which sponsors 23 sports, is facing a $102.8-million deficit with most of that coming from the past couple of years.
There has been speculation about the Big 12 and Arizona, ASU, Colorado, and Utah joining up, or even just pairing up, but there is no concrete path set according to anyone speaking today. Let’s just say that the Big 12 has come up more than the Pac-12 today in discussions at Media day.
On Friday at the annual Pac-12 Media Day, opening remarks were Commissioner Kliavkoff’s responsibility. Don’t envy George, he inherited a mess. Would he blame the prior commissioner? Would he explain the best options for the Pac-12 going forward? The media waited with bated breath for the answers, and to ask their questions.
Bomb No. 1 – Is UCLA going to get away with leaving the Pac-12? And what about the Travel Ban? There is an upcoming UCLA and UC Regents hearing.
Note: California Assembly Bill 1887 which prohibits the use of public funds to travel to any state deemed discriminatory against the LGBT community.
George: “There’s a hearing at the regents on Dec 17th to defend their decision to leave the Pac-12, everything is wrapped up in that, and the travel ban will be part of what’s discussed.”
Scott Markley, the Bruins’ senior associate athletic director for communications told Stormking (On3.com): “We have not scheduled a new competition in a banned state since the law was enacted in January 2017. Should UCLA compete or recruit in a banned state, in compliance with the law, none of the costs for travel to that state will come from state funds.”
Or the funds to be used for those states need to come out of the Athletic department.
Bomb No. 2 – Is the Pac-12 going to add California schools to keep the market like SDSU (San Diego State University)? Will the Pac-12 be looking into Neutral game sites?
George: “I’m not going to talk about specific schools, Southern California is really important to us, and I think there are different ways approaching staying in Southern California, we may play a lot of games in LA.”
Woah! Okay. I think he is saying that Pac-12 games may be played in Los Angeles at neutral sites. SOFI Stadium perhaps?
Bomb No. 3 – What is the Pac-12 aligning itself with as far as adding college programs? Character? Quality of Education? Or Revenue?
George: “Listen we understand how important revenue is, we understand that for the last 10 years because of a series of decisions that were made by the conference 10 years ago, we’re behind we have to close the gap in revenue. That’s going to be a focus.”
BOOM! He blamed his former commissioner Larry Scott without naming him. The whole DIRECTV debacle lost the Pac-12 so much money.
Bomb No. 4 – Would the Pac-12 take UCLA Back? And is anyone really even mad about this? According to George, yes!
George: “I’d say UCLA is in a really difficult position [Public school], there are a lot of constituents related to UCLA who are very very very unhappy with that decision (athletes, athletes families, faculty, alumni fans, politicians, staff),— if they come back we will welcome them back.”
Very, very, very mad??? That mad?? Wow! Had no idea. Maybe the saga continues and Newsom, who begged the question, ‘Why didn’t they just ask me/California for money?’ can swing something?
Bomb No. 5 – Are Pac-12 schools going to the Big-12?
George: “With respect to the Big 12 being open for business, I appreciate that,” Kliavkoff said. “We haven’t decided if we’re going shopping there or not yet.” and “No Pac-12 school is going to the Big 12” along with “That remark was a reflection of the fact I’ve been spending four weeks trying to defend against grenades that have been lobbed from every corner of the Big 12, trying to destabilize our remaining conference.”
If George has it his way, he keeps his job and no more schools defect.
What did head Coach Jedd Fisch have to say? Let’s just say he is focused on his NFL team.
But George wasn’t the only person to drop bombs, Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch confirmed that Jayden de Laura will get all the first-string QB snaps when practice opens according to Brian Jeffries who attended the event.
Fisch also has been telling folks today that Arizona is the “33rd NFL Team” due to the 150 years of NFL experience on his staff. “We have committed to letting our players see it [NFL] from the inside out — to see what it looks like to be a pro, to see what it looks like to build Champions (queue Sean McVay)”
Arizona Football, which was predicted to finish 11th by the Pac-12 media, just “Spent $15 million over the past 15 months to upgrade and rebrand the football facilities,” per Brian Pedersen.
We are ready for the season to begin and to blow away all the critics of Arizona Football, where ever it lands in a conference.