Russell Report: Are college football fans witnessing the end of the PAC 12 Conference?

The PAC 12′s status as a power conference was ruthlessly and swiftly taken away with a simple wave of the dollar sign.
Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 4:34 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - College football fans, administrators, coaches and media are still buzzing today after the whirlwind of events that took place last week, ending in expansion for the Big 10 and the Big 12 which for all intents and purposes blew up the PAC 12 Conference which has been in existence since 1915. After this season, it may be no more or if it does stay together, it would likely be inhabited by schools from the Mountain West Conference, certainly a geographical fit but hardly one that moves the college football needle. The PAC 12′s status as a power conference was ruthlessly and swiftly taken away with a simple wave of the dollar sign.

But the PAC 12 itself is at least partially to blame. The commissioner of the league could not come up with a media deal that included any meaningful television revenue, and instead presented to its members an apple subscription based proposal. Certainly media viewing habits are changing but not enough to make this proposal in the least viable to member schools. So now the schools looked around and they realized they would not be able to keep up with the other conferences and those conferences swooped in for the dollar sign kill. Can you blame the schools? In the big picture, you see why they did what they did, but the smell it leaves behind still stinks.

I have said for years that superconferences were coming; I just didn’t envision it happening so swiftly and so brutally. Remember when these conferences were known as the power five? In the end, the power five ended up not caring at all about the other members; in true survival mode, they ruthlessly and shamelessly went after each other’s schools to protect their own interests in a financial world that now demands more money for athletic departments than ever before.

And its safe to say we’re probably not done with expansion. Is the SEC content to stand pat with what it has now? You better believe schools like FSU, Clemson and others in the ACC would bolt that conference tomorrow if they could because they’re locked into a grant of rights deal that they say severely limits them financially. If the so called magnificent seven in the ACC were to leave for more money, what would happen to that league? Think about it, the Big 10 has expanded four times since 2010; the Big 12 will expand to 16 teams with the approval of Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and with Colorado coming in as well.

And what about the athletes in all of this? Now, with superconferences, Rutgers in New Jersey, will take on teams like Oregon and Washington in a Big 10 Conference match up. No matter, there will be millions of dollars in new TV contract money that will be used to fund this cross country travel. And think of how much of the country these athletes will now get to see. But that’s a lot of travel. And that’s more time away from school and classes. But why should that matter; it’s all about the money and heck, the athletes are being paid now anyway so its no big deal. Or is it? I’m Steve Russell, that’s the Russell Report!

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