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A quick look at Pac-12 finances


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Good morning, and Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads out there. Hopefully all of you are getting to do what you want on this Sunday. For many dads, that revolves around being left to one’s own devices, like sitting alone on the couch with nothing around but a remote control and a fridge full of good beer.

My plan is to steal a few moments watching the U.S. Open and the Mariner game, between prolonged segments of trying to get this house ready for the movers who arrive this week. That will all take place after a beer-themed brunch at a brewery because dammit it’s my day! One thing that absolutely won’t be on my TV is soccer, don’t @ me.

Amid another parched week involving Cougar Athletics, USA Today published an article regarding the Pac-12’s financial future. Jon Wilner also added his thoughts. In a nutshell, the financial outlook for the conference is bad, and will only get worse. Per a report that cited WSU’s own projections, the conference will share roughly $38 million with each school by 2023. Not bad, right? Right!!?? Wrong. That’s actually horrible.

The Big Ten will dole out roughly $51 million to each of its 14 schools...this season. Even the ACC will surpass the $40 million mark very soon. WSU President Kirk Schulz is quoted at length in the story.

“I think if you look at the overall athletic budgets of the top 25 largest (public) athletic budgets in the country, I think the Pac-12 only has two schools that are even on that list,” Washington State President Kirk Schulz told USA TODAY Sports. “I do think it’s harder to compete for coaches. It’s harder to build facilities. It’s harder to do the things we would like to do with less revenue coming in compared to (other leagues). I do think it puts us at a disadvantage.”

Schulz stopped short of placing blame squarely on Larry Scott, probably for a few reasons. But like most instances, there are several reasons for the problem the Pac-12 faces. While Scott deserves more blame than Schulz is willing to admit, the Pac-12 CEOs have basically rubber-stamped several of Scott’s initiatives, to the detriment of the league. There’s also the fact that the Pac-12 Networks have a staggering amount of overhead that none of the other leagues do, which harms the bottom line. Even worse, they’ve been incredibly secretive about their practices.

There’s also the fact that college athletics just don’t dominate the landscape out west like they do in the southeast and midwest. We can mock “It just means more” all we want, but that mantra rings true, and is a big reason why the SEC will likely always dominate the Pac-12 in the financial arena, which will almost certainly translate to domination on the field and court. But hey, the Pac-12 is still the bully on the block when it comes to water polo. Nobody can ever take that away.

Finally, Happy Father’s Day to my dad. He has never been the sports junkie that my brother and I are, and most of his sports television consumption occurs when he’s with one or both of us. And even though he’d rather be watching Black Sheep Squadron or Dexter, he humors us because that’s what good dads do.

He has also tagged along with my brother and I when we trek to different college football stadiums. The photo below was taken on the field in Death Valley after a Clemson-Louisville game. As usual, dad enjoyed the game, but he really went for the party.

Enjoy your Sunday.


Panic in the Pac-12 as conference quickly falls behind rivals
Pac-12 Conference payouts to member schools might not hit $40 million until 2024. Other Power 5 leagues are already there and on the rise.

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