clearn.png
Sunday August 7th, 2022 9:18PM

Pac-12 facing uncertain future after losses to Big Ten

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

The Pac-12 can make a case as the most successful conference in collegiate athletics, amassing more than 500 NCAA championships while leading the nation in titles 56 of the past 62 years.

But when it comes to the biggest moneymakers, football and men's basketball, the "Conference of Champions” has come up short for years.

The lack of success, particularly in football, combined with the conference's media rights missteps have put the Pac-12 on shaky financial footing, opening the door for two of its marquee schools to jump ship.

Now, with the loss of UCLA and USC to the Big Ten in 2024, the conference and its remaining member schools face an even more uncertain economic future.

“You have exploding costs on one end and your revenue sources are being decimated, which is a tremendous pressure,” Smith College economics professor Andrew Zimbalist said. “On the other hand, what do you do? Well, something pretty radical I think is going to have to happen.”

The Pac-12's dilemma has been building for years.

Once a powerhouse football conference, the Pac-12 has been a bit player in the national championship conversation of late.

Since Oregon was blown out by Ohio State in the 2015 championship game, the Pac-12 has had one team play in the College Football Playoff: Washington in 2017. Oregon has fallen off since Chip Kelly left for the NFL in 2013 and Southern California, once the conference's marquee program, never fully got back on track after the NCAA sanctions of the Pete Carroll era.

The Pac-12 has been just as quiet in men's basketball, getting two teams — Oregon in 2017 and UCLA in 2021 — through to the Final Four.

The lack of success made the Pac-12's football games maybe-watch TV, which in turn has made it more difficult to lure top coaches and recruits away from rival conferences — particularly the football juggernaut SEC.

“In the old days, USC and UCLA would be right up there at the top of the national football heap every year, and they've fallen way down,” Zimbalist said. “And so you need some fill up, some boost to get them to a point where they can really be a strong, strong franchise again — and I just don’t see that.”

The Pac-12 drop-off was compounded by its media rights deals.

As TV packages began to bulge, former Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott pushed for the conference to build its own network instead of partnering with ESPN, Fox or another network. A self-sustained network would allow the Pac-12 to control programming, showcase its highly successful Olympic sports and reap all the financial rewards.

The Pac-12 Networks never soared like Scott envisioned, bogged down, in part, by an inability to reach an agreement with DirecTV, which prevented the conference's sports from reaching millions of homes.

The Pac-12 did work out a lucrative deal to have some of its games shown on ESPN and Fox, but the networks often wanted those to fill late-night time slots on the East Coast.

The deals left the conference in a “Pac-12 After Dark” hole. The Pac-12 had the lowest distribution number among Power Five schools, paying its member institutions $19.8 million in 2021.

By contrast, the SEC distributed $54.6 million to each of its member schools in 2021 and the Big Ten $46.1 million.

Finances mean stability in the world of college sports, so the lure of more money was a big driver in the departures of USC and UCLA, which said it faced cutting sports if it didn't leave for the Big Ten.

The moves in turn will hurt the Pac-12's bottom line; not only did the conference lose two big programs, its foothold in the nation's second-largest media market is going away.

"When you see the rich get richer, people are going to grab for their share,” said Tom McMillen, president and CEO of Lead1, which represents Football Bowl Subdivision athletic directors and programs.

The loss of UCLA and USC puts the Pac-12 at a crossroads.

The conference announced last week that it is pursuing all expansion avenues and pushed up negotiations for its next media rights deal; the current one is set to end in 2024.

The Pac-12 could form a partnership with another conference in need of a lift, like the ACC, which would possibly cause travel problems for smaller sports. It also could add members from a smaller conference like the Mountain West or convince schools from the Big 12 to defect, like Colorado and Utah did in 2011.

The conference also may have its hand forced if several schools bolt for another conference to find stability, perhaps to the Big 12 to form another superconference with the SEC and Big Ten.

“I think you’ll see more consolidation,” McMillen said. “This is not new. This is economics 101. There’s a lot of efficiencies. Think about all this: we have 32 conferences. There’s probably $1 billion of overhead and when you merge conferences, you're obviously streamlining some of that.”

More conference realignment is coming. The fate of the Pac-12 is still to be determined.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Sports, Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News, AP Sports - College Football, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Penguins re-sign Letang; Avalanche acquire goalie Georgiev
Colorado, Chicago and Pittsburgh all made key moves ahead of the NHL draft with the Stanley Cup champion Avalanche making a deal to shore up their goaltending situation and the Penguins ensuring a long-time defenseman was sticking around
7:15PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Pac-12 facing uncertain future after losses to Big Ten
The Pac-12 can make a case as the most successful conference in collegiate athletics, amassing more than 500 NCAA championships while leading the nation in titles 56 of the past 62 years
7:09PM ( 17 minutes ago )
WNBA's Griner pleads guilty at her drug trial in Russia
WNBA star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug possession charges on the second day of her trial in a Russian court in a case that could see her sentenced to up to 10 years in prison
7:06PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Cyclist murder suspect moved around Costa Rica before arrest
The suspect in the killing of professional cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson in Texas tried to change her appearance and used several aliases as she moved around Costa Rica in an attempt to establish herself as a yoga teacher before she was tracked down by U.S. and local investigators
6:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
James Caan, Oscar nominee for 'The Godfather,' dies at 82
James Caan, the curly-haired tough guy known to movie fans as the hotheaded Sonny Corleone of “The Godfather” and to television audiences as the dying football player in the classic weeper “Brian’s Song” and the casino boss in “Las Vegas,” has died
4:54PM ( 2 hours ago )
Blackhawks trade DeBrincat to Senators before NHL draft
Player moves are happening fast and furious in the NHL leading up to the start of the draft in Montreal
4:53PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
One year of NIL: How much have athletes made?
It’s been a year since college athletes have been able to capitalize on their status with name, image and licensing deals, and some are making thousands of dollars
4:56PM ( 1 day ago )
Falcons sign former Bears DT Eddie Goldman to 1-year deal
The Atlanta Falcons now have run-stopping help for the middle of their defensive line, signing former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman to a one-year deal
4:15PM ( 1 day ago )
Browns finally trade Mayfield, send quarterback to Panthers
Baker Mayfield’s rocky run with the Cleveland Browns has officially ended
3:57PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Football
Griner appears in court, pleads guilty in Russia drugs trial
Jailed American basketball star Brittney Griner has pleaded guilty to drug possession during her trial in Moscow but said she had no intention of committing a crime
11:04AM ( 8 hours ago )
Russian media: Griner pleads guilty in Russia drugs trial
Russian news agencies say jailed American basketball star Brittney Griner has pleaded guilty to drug possession and smuggling charges during her trial in Moscow
10:42AM ( 8 hours ago )
Griner in Russian court as Moscow warns criticism won't help
Jailed American basketball star Brittney Griner has returned to a Russian court to face her trial on drug charges
9:16AM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Conference realignment makes another seismic shift
Conference realignment in college sports has been going on since 1984, when the Supreme Court invalidated the NCAA’s national television contract for football
7:00PM ( 6 days ago )
Big Ten votes to add USC, UCLA as members starting in 2024
The Big Ten voted unanimously to add Southern California and UCLA as conference members beginning in 2024
9:02PM ( 6 days ago )
AP source: USC, UCLA in process of joining Big Ten
UCLA and Southern California are planning to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten Conference in a surprising move that could lead to another major realignment of college sports
4:55PM ( 1 week ago )
College Sports
Nipsey Hussle's legacy inspires 3 years after his murder
Nipsey Hussle's shooting death remains fresh for those who revered the beloved rapper
5:59PM ( 1 hour ago )
Spectacle in Michigan race threatens GOP's bid for governor
The Republican primary for Michigan governor is shaping up as a battle of whose personal baggage is the least disqualifying
5:52PM ( 1 hour ago )
Fendi caps fashion week, going East in culture-hopping show
Fendi’s ultra-white, sanitized runway has put the couture, not the decor, in the spotlight to cap Paris fashion week
5:34PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Entertainment
New this week: 'The Sea Beast,' early Elton John, 'Maggie'
This week’s new entertainment releases include two lost albums from rock superstars Neil Young and Elton John, more than two dozen contestants of reality shows like “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race” and “Big Brother” facing off in the contest “The Challenge: USA,” and Netflix’s “The Sea Beast” brings a “Moby Dick”-like tale down to kid size
11:35AM ( 2 days ago )
Ratings show Fox News viewers tuning out Jan. 6 hearings
Fox News Channel is airing the Jan. 6 committee hearings when they occur during daytime hours, and ratings show that a striking number of their viewers are tuning it out
3:52PM ( 1 week ago )
Podcast dramas morph to TV shows in Hollywood reappraisal
Listened to any good television shows lately
4:40PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Online TV News
Title IX: Law ensured balanced cutbacks during pandemic
Title IX compliance is such an omnipresent part of running a college sports program that its significance can often be overlooked
11:43AM ( 2 weeks ago )
Sooners get on roll early, beat Aggies 13-8 in CWS opener
Jackson Nicklaus hit a grand slam, Jake Bennett pitched six strong innings and Oklahoma jumped on Texas A&M early in a 13-8 win in the College World Series opener
10:23PM ( 2 weeks ago )
A strike away: Mikolas just short of no-hitter for Cardinals
Miles Mikolas was one strike from a no-hitter when he gave up a double to Cal Mitchell with two outs in the ninth inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals routed the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-1 to sweep a doubleheader
2:49AM ( 3 weeks ago )
AP Sports - College Football
UNC-Indiana, Ohio State-Duke headline ACC/Big 10 Challenge
National runner-up North Carolina will play at Indiana in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 30
3:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Magic take Banchero 1st, Holmgren, Smith follow in NBA draft
The Orlando Magic selected Duke freshman Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft
12:35AM ( 1 week ago )
Magic take Duke's Paolo Banchero with 1st pick in NBA draft
The Orlando Magic selected Duke freshman Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft
8:31PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Penguins re-sign Letang; Avalanche acquire goalie Georgiev
Colorado, Chicago and Pittsburgh all made key moves ahead of the NHL draft with the Stanley Cup champion Avalanche making a deal to shore up their goaltending situation and the Penguins ensuring a long-time defenseman was sticking around
7:15PM ( 12 minutes ago )
WNBA's Griner pleads guilty at her drug trial in Russia
WNBA star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug possession charges on the second day of her trial in a Russian court in a case that could see her sentenced to up to 10 years in prison
7:06PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Verlander gets MLB-leading 11th win as Astros down KC 5-2
Justin Verlander got his MLB-leading 11th win, Yordan Alvarez hit his 26th homer and the Houston Astros beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 to take the series 3-1
7:05PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Biden awards Medal of Freedom to Biles, McCain, Giffords
President Joe Biden has presented the nation's highest civilian honor to 17 people, including gymnast Simone Biles and the late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain
6:51PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Michigan man rescued from California trail where family died
Authorities say a Michigan tourist who tried to retrace the steps of a family who died during a grueling summer hike in Northern California had to be rescued last week after getting lost
6:45PM ( 42 minutes ago )