‘We haven’t decided if we’re going shopping there’: George Kliavkoff fires back at Pac-12 media day

LOS ANGELES — Like a boxer that has been caught in the corner of the ring, sustaining repeated punches, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff came out swinging throughout his remarks Friday early morning at the Novo Theater to kick off Pac-12 football media working day.

As predicted, Kliavkoff fielded a great deal of inquiries about the point out of the Pac-12 and the difficulty that is overshadowed virtually anything else — the departure of USC and UCLA to the Large 10 in 2024.

On leading of that, there has been constant speculation that programs like Utah, Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado could be relocating to the Significant 12.

At Large 12 soccer media working day earlier this thirty day period, new commissioner Brett Yormark mentioned that league is “open for company,” intimating that the Significant 12 is ready to poach systems from the Pac-12. 

Asked why he’s assured that the 10 remaining faculties will continue to be in the league, Kliavkoff fired again. 

“We’ve had two board conferences a week for the previous 4 months. On the lookout my colleagues in the eye, being familiar with their motivation, that their to start with precedence is building sure that the Pac-12 survives, thrives and grows and is thriving,” he claimed. “They’re dedicated to the convention. I consider the greatest point to do is to talk to them about it. With respect to the Massive 12 getting open up for company, I take pleasure in that. We haven’t made a decision if we’re going searching there or not nevertheless.”

As a abide by-up to that comment, and if the Pac-12 would try to go soon after Large 12 courses, Kliavkoff expounded. 

“That remark was a reflection of the actuality I’ve been expending four months attempting to protect versus grenades that have been lobbed in from each individual corner of the Big 12 trying to destabilize our remaining conference,” he stated. “I comprehend why they’re doing it, when you look at the relative media worth in between the two conferences. I get it, I get why they’re scared, why they are trying to destabilize it. I was just exhausted of that. That is most likely not the most collegial detail I’ve at any time stated.”

From what we have seen in current yrs, collegiality isn’t a little something that exists much in university athletics these times. 

In phrases of growth chances — several speculate that the league may well insert San Diego Point out, for occasion, to preserve a presence in Southern California — Kliavkoff mentioned conditions the league is hunting for. 

“As we take into consideration these prospects, we will seem at media worth, athletic strength, educational and cultural healthy, and geography from a recruiting and college student-athlete experience standpoint,” he said. “As you would be expecting, we’ve had important inbound fascination and are in the process of evaluating chances.”

Additional Kliavkoff about likely enlargement targets: “Cultural, educational in good shape is critical. It’s just one of our requirements. Pay attention, we realize how critical profits is. We recognize that for the final 10 years, simply because of a sequence of conclusions that had been built by the conference 10 many years in the past, we’re behind. We have to close the hole in income. That is likely to be a emphasis. But as we believe about adding universities, one of the requirements will be cultural, academic fit. It’s actually essential to our presidents and chancellors who make these choices at the finish of the working day.”

Not incredibly, Kliavkoff declined to converse about any schools he may well have talked to about becoming a member of the Pac-12.

When questioned, Kliavkoff explained that the Pac-12 has not seemed into the probability of the league merging with the Mountain West Conference.

There have been studies that the Significant Ten, at some level, could be intrigued in selecting off much more Pac-12 programs, like Stanford, Cal, Oregon and Washington. 

Joining Kliavkoff on phase for the Q&A session was Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir, who, when requested, reported his school has not had conversations with the Significant Ten or any other meeting. 

“I will say in our meeting yesterday with my fellow peers around the meeting, we have been really open and transparent. We fully grasp the problems at hand,” Muir mentioned. “When this broke a thirty day period in the past, we all, every single just one of us, are seeking to determine out scenario planning. We have conversations internally and test to determine that out. But we have not had any official overture from a further conference.”

In the meantime, the Pac-12 is discovering enlargement and it started negotiations for its next media rights deal, an special 30-working day window with existing companions ESPN and Fox that closes Aug. 4.

“We are in the enviable position of remaining following to industry after the Massive Ten. We already have substantial curiosity from prospective partners, including equally incumbents and new regular tv and most importantly digital media companions,” Kliavkoff stated. “This curiosity is driven by the energy of our schools’ manufacturers and marketplaces and a recognition of our ongoing management posture in university football throughout the Western and Mountain time zones.

“With the value of quality university sporting activities rights continuing to rise, multiple intrigued media companions and confined possibilities, particularly in the West, we are assured in the extensive-phrase price of our legal rights.”

Even though Kliavkoff done himself as a potent leader Friday, there are so numerous points that are out of his command. 

But the commissioner is assured about the Pac-12’s new media rights offer, together with opportunities with nontraditional partners like Apple and Amazon. 

“Without speaking about particular person probable partners, I would say it is remarkably possible that we will close up with a large digital spouse for some of our rights and that our legal rights will be distributed in a way that is exclusive, distinctive and new,” Kliavkoff claimed. “We’re energized about that.”

There are a great deal of constituents in California that aren’t content about UCLA heading to the Massive 10, like alumni, faculty, admirers and politicians.

“There’s a hearing coming up about that decision,” Kliavkoff stated. “I just can’t give you a proportion opportunity (that UCLA returns to the Pac-12). I believe it’s unlikely. But if they arrived back again, we’d welcome them again.”


Pac-12 Meeting commissioner George Kliavkoff speaks at Pac-12 football media working day Friday, July 29, 2022, in Los Angeles.

Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press