Pac-12 Commissioner Gives Strong Take On Possible Big 12 Expansion

Jul 30, 2022, 10:31 PM | Updated: Aug 8, 2022, 11:09 am

SALT LAKE CITY – Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff is not holding back on the Big 12 Conference.

During Pac-12 Media Day on Friday, the second-year commish was passionate in his defense of the Conference of Champions.

In his state of the program address, Kliavkoff was asked if being “collegial” during realignment is over.

The question arose because earlier in the presser, Kliavkoff took a shot at Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark, who stated that his league was “open for business.”

Yormark clarified at Big 12 Media Days that the comment wasn’t solely focused on expansion. Instead, it was for any deals that could help improve the conference and its branding.

Read the room. The past month in college athletics has had everyone buzzing about realignment after the bombshell of USC and UCLA announcing they were off to the Big Ten.

Kliavkoff’s response to the collegial question, “I hope they’re not over. But they’re certainly harmed. That remark was a reflection of the fact I’ve been spending four weeks trying to defend against grenades that have been lobbed in from every corner of the Big 12, trying to destabilize our remaining conference. I understand why they’re doing it when you look at the relative media value between the two conferences. I get it; I get why they’re scared, why they’re trying to destabilize it. I was just tired of that. That’s probably not the most collegial thing I’ve ever said.”

But it didn’t stop there for Kliavkoff.

George Kliavkoff: “…no Pac-12 school is joining the Big 12.”

During a one-on-one interview with CBS Sports’s Dennis Dodd, Kliavkoff was asked for more specifics on the grenade remark.

“Well, there are reports every single day about our schools meeting with the Big 12 and about our schools being poached by the Big 12. Or approaching the Big 12 about joining the Big 12,” Kliavkoff said to CBS Sports. “And when you know the facts and you know what nonsense all of that is and the fact that’s a constant drumbeat of false information that’s being delivered to the press, and then delivered to the fans. I just got tired of the false narrative.”

Kliavkoff is referring to reports that the Big 12 has had “deep discussions” with Pac-12 schools, including Utah. Along with Arizona, Arizona State, and Colorado.

Dodd followed up by asking if Kliavkoff knows of any Pac-12 teams meeting with the Big 12 on any official level.

“No. I mean, I have heard about inquiries that have come in from the Big 12. What’s great is every time something comes in from a president, chancellor, or AD at the Big 12, it gets forwarded to me by our presidents and ADs. That’s a constant stream of nonsense.”

Kliavkoff concluded those remarks with a strong take, “Let’s be very clear, no Pac-12 school is joining the Big 12.”

What’s next?

The Pac-12 Conference will engage in media rights negotiations once the Big Ten wraps its deal. Big Ten’s new media rights are expected to be $1 billion annually. It’s expected to be finalized” “in the next few weeks.

What tv networks offer the Pac-12 will say a lot about its future.

Earlier this month, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported that the Big 12 and Pac-12 had extensive talks about a partnership. That never materialized.

The Big 12 is currently at 10 member institutions. They will welcome BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston into the conference beginning July 1, 2023. Texas and Oklahoma will leave the league for the SEC after June 30, 2025.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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Pac-12 Commissioner Gives Strong Take On Possible Big 12 Expansion