Tuesday August 9th, 2022 4:15PM

Pac-12's Kliavkoff jabs Big 12, touts future after USC, UCLA

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff said his conference is far from finished, despite the defections of Southern California and UCLA.

Kliavkoff confirmed the Pac-12 is actively exploring expansion and lobbed several feisty jabs at the Big 12 during an eventful opening speech at his conference's football media day Friday in the nation's second-largest media market.

While painting a promising picture of the league's future even after USC and UCLA leave for the Big Ten in 2024, Kliavkoff said the Pac-12 intends to keep its current members while entertaining new additions.

The commissioner also acknowledged frustration with the upheaval created by the Los Angeles schools' shocking decision, saying he had spent the past month “trying to defend against grenades being lobbed in from every corner of the Big 12 trying to destabilize our remaining conference.”

Kliavkoff responded to Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark’s recent declaration that his league was “open for business” in expansion by suggesting those moves could include Big 12 schools coming his way, instead of the opposite assumption.

“With respect to the Big 12 being open for business, I appreciate that,” Kliavkoff said. “We haven’t decided whether we’re going shopping there or not.”

“I understand why they’re doing it, when you look at the relative media value between the two conferences," Kliavkoff added later. “I get it. I get why they’re scared, why they’re trying to destabilize it. I was just tired of that. That’s probably not the most collegial thing I've ever said.”

Later, Kliavkoff told The Associated Press that he was eager to speak up colorfully in defense of the Pac-12.

"I wanted to exude confidence in the conference, because that’s what I’m seeing from our presidents and chancellors and athletic directors," Kliavkoff said. "It’s my job to carry that message, and I’m happy to do so.”

Still, the Pac-12 has lost its Los Angeles flagships after a century of history, and Kliavkoff acknowledged the widespread speculation about the long-term health of his comparatively underfunded West Coast conference. The commissioner insisted the Pac-12 will have a stronger base after its new media rights deal, and that footing could lead to expansion.

Kliavkoff understandably didn't identify specific schools as candidates for expansion, although San Diego State has been repeatedly mentioned by others. He reiterated the league's determination to keeping a football presence in the talent-rich, heavily populated end of California.

“Southern California is really important to us,” Kliavkoff said. “I think there are different ways of approaching staying part of Southern California. We may end up playing a lot of football games in LA.”

Kliavkoff expanded on those thoughts later to the AP: "LA is part of the Pac-12, even if UCLA and USC are not. We’re not giving up on LA. We play the Rose Bowl here and intend to play more games here. And we’re not giving up on that. We like it here.”

The two-year transition is a weird challenge for all parties, but Kliavkoff said he has instructed everyone to treat the Trojans and Bruins will all proper respect. Both USC coach Lincoln Riley and UCLA's Chip Kelly both say they’re on board with a move that will dramatically increase both of their schools’ revenue and their recruiting reach.

“It’s an awkward situation for everybody,” said Kelly, who soared to coaching prominence 13 years ago at Oregon. “I’ve had a great experience in this league. I owe my life to the Pac-12. I appreciate what this league has done. ... It is what it is. It’s realignment. It’s going on, governed by television. Those are things out of my control.”

Kliavkoff speculated that the remaining Pac-12 schools are likely to get a significant boost in recruiting fertile Southern California in every sport except football, given that many Olympic sport athletes and their families aren't going to want to fly off to the Midwest and East Coast regularly for competition.

He reiterated that the Pac-12 expects to keep its remaining members despite widespread speculation about both the Big 12 and the Big Ten looking to expand. Oregon and Washington were linked to a future move to the Big Ten immediately after USC and UCLA announced their departures, while the Big 12 has been linked to the Arizona schools, Utah and Colorado.

Kliavkoff is confident after holding “two board meetings a week for the last four weeks” with his members.

“Looking my colleagues in the eye, understanding their commitment, that their first priority is making sure that the Pac-12 survives, thrives and grows and is successful,” Kliavkoff said. “They’re committed to the conference.”

Seeing the bigger picture, coach Kyle Whittingham of defending champion Utah vocalized the wait-and-see attitude among many observers of this conference in transition.

“I think the real proof of the pudding of that is going to be in the media rights deal, see how that comes out,” Whittingham said. “If those numbers are right, absolutely (the Pac-12 is still viable). If those numbers are not where we need them to be, then look at other options. Right now, it appears to be very unified, the Pac-10 — the 10 that are staying — and we’ll see how it goes going forward.”

Kliavkoff also held open the door to a highly improbable return for UCLA: The public school has been ripped by California Gov. Gavin Newsom for the move, and the UC Board of Regents has ordered a review of the decision in a hearing scheduled for Oct. 17.

“I’d say UCLA is in a really difficult position,” Kliavkoff said. “There are a lot of constituents related to UCLA who are very, very, very unhappy with the decision. Student-athletes, the families of student-athletes. The faculty, the staff. The politicians, the fans, the alumni. ... I can’t give you a percentage chance. I think it’s unlikely. But if they came back, we’d welcome them back.”


AP Sports Writer Joe Reedy contributed to this report.


More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, College Sports, AP Sports - College Football
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Russia, Ukraine trade blame for deadly attack on POW prison
Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling a prison in a separatist region of eastern Ukraine
12:40PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Pac-12's Kliavkoff jabs Big 12, touts future after USC, UCLA
Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff says his conference is far from finished, despite the defections of Southern California and UCLA
12:20PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Russian charged with using US groups to spread propaganda
The Justice Department says a  Russian operative has been charged with using political groups in the United States to advance pro-Russia propaganda
12:19PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Reunited with Tom Brady, Logan Ryan has clear goal in Tampa
Logan Ryan won a pair of Super Bowls in New England playing with Tom Brady, picked off his final pass with the Patriots for a touchdown and has reunited with him in Tampa Bay
11:29AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP sources: No decision in Watson discipline case this week
The wait for a decision on potential discipline for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson following accusations of sexual misconduct will continue into another week
10:39AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP sources: Deshaun Watson waiting game goes to next week
The waiting game in Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s discipline case will continue into next week
9:57AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Cardinals remove Kyler Murray's independent-study addendum
The Arizona Cardinals have removed an addendum to quarterback Kyler Murray’s $230.5 million, five-year contract that mandated at least four hours of “independent study” during game weeks
10:21PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP sources: Seahawks expected to sign Metcalf to extension
Two people with knowledge of the deal say the Seattle Seahawks are expected to sign DK Metcalf to a three-year contract extension worth up to $72 million and $58 million guaranteed
9:57PM ( 14 hours ago )
Jackson says there could be 'cutoff' point for negotiations
Lamar Jackson’s contract negotiations are lingering into training camp, and the Baltimore quarterback says at a certain point, it could be time to put those talks aside
8:02PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Comeback: Warren rebounds from rocky start leading Big Ten
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren had a chance to take a victory lap this week at Big Ten media day
5:20PM ( 1 day ago )
NC State's Leary, Clemson leads all-ACC football picks
North Carolina State quarterback Devin Leary is the preseason pick to finish as Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, while league favorite Clemson leads all schools with six players on the league's preseason all-conference team
2:34PM ( 1 day ago )
Bold, aggressive Big Ten leaves door open for more expansion
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren says the conference will be bold and aggressive as college sports goes through a period of sweeping change
2:37PM ( 2 days ago )
College Sports
ACC's quartet of new coaches adds wrinkle to wild division
The Atlantic Coast Conference has four new coaches for this season, all in the same division
5:21PM ( 1 week ago )
Harsin emboldened by players' support, says Auburn has unity
Auburn coach Bryan Harsin says his program has renewed unity following an offseason inquiry that threatened his job status
2:15PM ( 1 week ago )
Georgia's Smart gets 10-year extension, raise to $10.25M
Georgia coach Kirby Smart has agreed to a contract extension through the 2031 season that strengthens his status as one of college football's highest-paid coaches
12:37PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - College Football
Russian charged with using US groups to spread propaganda
The Justice Department says a  Russian operative has been charged with using political groups in the United States to advance pro-Russia propaganda
12:19PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Colorado clerk gets primary recount after raising $250,000
A Colorado county clerk and election conspiracy theorist will get a recount of her failed bid for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State
12:11PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Appalachian floods kill at least 16 as rescue teams deploy
Search and rescue teams backed by the National Guard are searching flooded Appalachian communities for missing people
12:10PM ( 41 minutes ago )
States hope for revenue boost with Mega Millions craze
Across the U.S., state lottery systems use that revenue to boost education, tourism, transportation and much more
12:08PM ( 44 minutes ago )
France skirts over Khashoggi killing amid Saudi prince visit
France’s presidency has focused on global warming, the war in Ukraine and the Iran nuclear deal in relaying details about the controversial dinner in Paris between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and French President Emmanuel Macron
12:06PM ( 45 minutes ago )