The hell just happened?
The Pac-whatever was hanging by a thread this week, and early yesterday morning, it seemed like there was life when it was announced the remaining schools were meeting to sign the grant of rights and approve the media deal.
And then suddenly, it didn’t happen.
From then on, the day saw, in no particular order, Arizona leave for the Big 12, UW and Oregon lock arms and head to the Big Ten, and then Utah and Arizona State joined the Wildcats in the Big 12.
WSU is now left without a conference after this athletics season. A lot happened yesterday, and I have no idea how to organize my thoughts right now, other than in bullet point form. So here we go:
- There’s no question this is devastating for WSU. There’s absolutely no silver lining. WSU’s athletic department relies so much on the revenue the Pac-12 receives from its current media partners. Without that? I don’t even want to think about that.
- OK I lied. Let’s think about that. Let’s say WSU moves to the Mountain West, and for our purposes today, let’s say it receives the same roughly $4 million each MWC school not named Boise State or Hawaii receive from the TV deal. There’s no way WSU survives off of that. Sure, WSU and Oregon State offer the MWC a little more value, but that won’t be realized until the conference does its next TV deal in 2025, and there’s no chance it’ll match what the schools receive today.
- There’s trickle down effects to today’s sinking of the Pac-12. The non-revenue sports are in deep trouble, and it’s a shame because at WSU, that means the school’s most successful programs like volleyball, soccer and women’s basketball, won’t have the same resources they’ve enjoyed the last decade-plus.
- Our own Brian Anderson had a fantastic tweet on all of this:
I’m sad. Money is what it is, hope what it buys you is enough to make up for what you lost.— Brian Anderson (@b17anderson) August 5, 2023
At least when CEOs fail, their personal wealth takes a hit. There’s zero repercussions for the Suits that failed an entire coast of the US.
- Washington Governor Jay Inslee is stricken with the same ailment lots of politicians and non-politicians have—those who believe everyone stares at them when they walk into a room. For whatever reason, he decided to jump into the fray by saying he wants to know how this affects higher education, college sports in Washington, and that he’s under the impression the Apple Cup will still be played. Jay: None of this is up to you, and it never was.
- I can’t help but think of the Pullman businesses that will be left hoping enough fans show up on weekends agains San Jose State, Nevada and Wyoming in November instead of Oregon, USC and Washington.
- WSU President Kirk Schulz and Athletic Director Pat Chun have been awfully quiet this summer—other than when Schulz told his board of regents he was quite confident a media deal would be reached by the end of June. Oops! Today, they released a statement that indicated they’ve prepared for this scenario. They don’t say what’s next, surely because they have no idea, either.
- George Kliavkoff, man. You couldn’t serve your membership properly, and then your conference releases this statement with the laughable line, “We remain focused on securing the best possible future for each of our member universities.” I’m sure many of you join me in having zero confidence in Kliavkoff.
Anyway, that’s where I’m at. I’m sure this saga isn’t over. Feel free to share your random thoughts as well. We could all use the group therapy.