The battle for superiority between the Big 12 and the Pac-12 has been a confusing follow over recent years, and Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff didn’t clear many things up Friday at Pac-12 Media Day.
The Pac-12 needs a new media deal, a saga of negotiations that has been ongoing for a while. Meanwhile, the Big 12 jumped the Pac-12 in line and got a deal done early, turning the heat up on the Pac-12. But as August draws near, the league still has nothing to announce. The delay has led to speculation of Pac-12 schools jumping ship, linked mostly with the Big 12.
That brings us to Friday when the Pac-12 held its annual Media Day in Las Vegas, where all eyes were on Kliavkoff. If anything, things got more confusing after Kliavkoff’s news conference.
He finished his opening statement by saying, “First, I’ll be happy to take your questions related to topics other than football.”
Later in the same news conference, he said: “We’re not announcing a [media] deal on purpose today because I want the focus to be on football.”
So, there is a media deal done? It’s just not being announced today? What would really help everyone focus on football is if we knew whether the Pac-12 was going to survive.
When asked if that statement meant a deal was done, Kliavkoff replied, “I think you’re reading too much into that,” before reiterating he wants the focus to be on football … after asking for questions not related to football.
Are you confused? I am.
Kliavkoff was vague, which he has the right to be. Not many businessmen are going to openly talk about ongoing business negotiations, but contradictory statements don’t do a ton for the Pac-12’s case in this court of public perception.
Kliavkoff said getting the right deal is more important than rushing through negotiations and that the longer the Pac-12 has waited, the better its options have gotten. That’s another statement that will be put under a microscope as the Big 12 has been highly praised publicly for getting a deal done early, which has left seemingly left the Pac-12 out to dry. There is another line of thinking that the longer this goes for the Pac-12, the worse it is.
But maybe Kliavkoff and the Pac-12 have something cooking. Or maybe they don’t. One thing is for sure, a day we thought some questions might be answered has actually just left us with more questions.