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Pac-12 Commish Says No School in His League Will Defect to the Big 12

A bold strategy, Cotton.



Devin Wilber/PFB

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff made headlines on Friday in a wild press conference wherein he stuck his chest out for the league, accused the Big 12 of tampering and boldly proclaimed his league — despite losing USC and UCLA to the Big Ten — was in as strong (if not stronger) position than the Big 12.

He then added more to his position Friday in an interview with 247Sports’ Brandon Marcello, calling the Big 12’s attempt to capitalize on Pac-12 turbulence “juvenile” and predicting no member of his league would ultimately cave to the Big 12’s attempts at prying.

“Doesn’t it feel a little bit like a juvenile kind of attempt to disrupt our conference? Listen, in the early days, particularly in the first week, people were running scared, and I understand that and that’s a natural reaction,” Kliavkoff told 247Sports. “At some point you have to realize no Pac-12 school is joining the Big 12 and you have to focus on making your league successful. I think it’s in the best interest of all of college athletics, if the Big 12 is strong, and standalone in the Power Five. Obviously, I feel that way about the Pac-12. And I think the less time we spend with this nonsense going back and forth, the better for everybody.”

It’s clear Kliavkoff has been catching strays from every which way over the last month and has just about had it with the Big 12 trying to add responsibilities to his job. Fair! USC and UCLA leaving for the Big Ten was a catastrophe in itself.

That said, can you blame the Big 12? They’re doing their best to try to survive, too. The Big Ten and SEC continue to gain strength. The Big 12 is still looking to recover from losing OU and Texas to the SEC. Clearly, Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark saw an opportunity to potentially capitalize and jumped at it. When he saw the Pac-12 was (and still is!) in a pretty precarious position, it seems the Big 12 wanted to make the most of it in a power play.

No Pac-12 member outside of UCLA and USC has defected as of yet, but that doesn’t mean the Big 12 (or another league) won’t be successful in the future. The Pac-12 is pretty clearly in major trouble. It is actively looking to expand right now but it feels as if it is already playing from behind, especially with its current media rights negotiations ongoing. With its strength declining, collegiality in the college space appears to be dissipating, too.

“The tampering continues,” Kliavkoff added Friday (via 247Sports). “The good news is my presidents and chancellors and athletic directors forward me all those messages. I have a big collection of those messages.”

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