Pac-12's Kliavkoff details scheduling goals for newly formed Alliance

Pac-12 teams would play one Big Ten team each year as part of the newly formed Alliance's plansGETTY IMAGES

Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff "fielded questions from the media about key issues" affecting the conference, including scheduling plans with the ACC and Big Ten and the future of the Pac-12 Networks, according to Jeff Call of the DESERET NEWS. In a visit yesterday to the Univ. of Utah campus, Kliavkoff said, “The north star for our football scheduling for the alliance, and it will take us a while to get there, is having eight conference games in each of the conferences, and having one game a year against each of the other two conferences.” He added, “Pac-12 schools would play eight Pac-12 games, one game a year against the Big Ten, one game against the ACC. One of those would be home and one would be away and we’d switch every year. ... The only thing that could really accelerate that in the near term is if we came to an agreement with our media rights partners to go from nine conference games to eight and the Big Ten did that as well. We could start as early as next year if we had those agreements in place.” Kliavkoff: “When we moved very quickly to make our decision about whether or not to add teams to the Pac-12, and then to very quickly to announce the alliance, one of the reasons why we moved so swiftly was that we thought it would give some immediate balance to the Big 12 and allow them to proceed with whatever they needed to" (DESERET NEWS, 9/8).

NETWORK NEWS: On the future of the Pac-12 Networks, Kliavkoff said, “You have to separate out of the production at the Pac-12 network from the distribution. ... And we also do 850 live events. Next nearest conference network does a little bit more than 500 and after that it’s a little bit more than 400. So we’re lapping our competition in the amount of content that we create." But he admitted, "Where the network lacks is in distribution. ... I don’t see an immediate fix to the distribution problem in the next three years. So I’m very focused on the fact that we’re the only Power Five conference that owns all of our rights and that we’ll have a unique opportunity three years from now to think about distributing all of that content in a way that balances several factors for me" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 9/8).

PLAYOFF PUSH: In San Jose, Jon Wilner writes in 105 years of Pac-12 football, "there has never been a season like 2021," and this coming Saturday "stands as the most significant, with three reputation-shaping games" against marquee programs: Washington-Michigan, Texas A&M-Colorado and Oregon-Ohio State. The conference "hasn’t won a playoff game since the 2014 season (Oregon) or produced a playoff team since 2016 (Washington)." The pandemic-impacted '20 season brought an "acceleration of Pac-12 irrelevance." However, "there is hope ahead: Late next year, the conference is expected to begin negotiating new media rights agreements that will shape its financial future." Those contracts "will take effect in the summer" of '24. But the "on-field reclamation project cannot wait until next season," as this season is the Pac-12’s "last best chance to burnish its reputation" ahead of negotiations (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 9/7).

FRIENDS OR FOES? ACC Network’s Mark Packer said if the NCAA "can't find their place," the "direction of college sports is going to be brought up by (the three Alliance commissioners) and Greg Sankey of the SEC." Packer: "They’re all going to work together. I know everybody's talking about the friction and all this stuff, (but) at the end of the day there is too much at stake for everyone not to work together” (“Packer and Durham,” ACC Network, 9/8). CBSSN’s Aaron Taylor said the Pac-12 is the "big winner" in the Alliance, as the conference “was the kid on the outside that hadn’t been to the playoffs in X amount of years, and the product wasn’t very good." Taylor: "Overnight, with none of their doing, they all of a sudden became part of the Big Four, and now it’s the Big 12 that’s scrambling because of the departure of Oklahoma and Texas. ... These people are stabbing themselves in the back and blowing up relationships and friendships and working relationships for the almighty dollar” (“Inside College Football,” CBSSN, 9/7).

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