Kliavkoff: I’m Very Focused On Things Within My Control

Sep 20, 2022, 4:22 PM
George Kliavkoff - Pac-12 Media Day...
(Photo courtesy of John McGillen, Pac-12)
(Photo courtesy of John McGillen, Pac-12)

SALT LAKE CITY- The turmoil surrounding the Pac-12 and conference realignment has quieted down substantially since news broke this summer that USC and UCLA were leaving for the Big Ten. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t still curiosity surrounding the remaining Pac-12 members, their commissioner George Kliavkoff, and what is going to ultimately happen next.

Jon Wilner and John Canzano have both been on the front of the latest Pac-12 conference realignment news, and had Commissioner Kliavkoff on their podcast to talk about where everything currently stands. Kliavkoff’s stance? Staying focused on what he can control, but feeling confident if anything else seismic were to happen it would have already.

Kliavkoff Controlling What Can Be Controlled

Kliavkoff has never lacked confidence since taking over as Pac-12 Commissioner from Larry Scott in the summer of 2021. That came through loud and clear during his interview on the Canzano and Wilner Podcast early Tuesday morning.

“Listen, I think if schools would have left for the Big Ten, they would have left for the Big Ten already,” Kliavkoff said. “Also, what I will tell you is, I am very focused on things that are in my control. Things that are not within my control I find no value in spending time on.”

On the flip-side, not only is Kliavkoff confident no one will else will be leaving to the Big Ten, he’s also confident schools like Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona State will not be leaving for the Big 12. It should be noted Kliavkoff and Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark have traded a “war of words” of sorts with each other since the Big Ten made their move end at the end of June.

“I talk to our presidents, chancellors, and athletic directors all the time and we have conversations about this,” Kliavkoff said. “Everyone has committed to working together to get a great grant of rights following a good media rights deal. I take people at their word.”

Of particular note, and widely discussed on the Hans and Scotty G. show Tuesday afternoon was Kliavkoff’s comment on taking people at their word. This comes a year after Kliavkoff agreed to an “alliance” with the Big Ten and ACC solely on spoken word in response to Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. Obviously, a year after the fact questions have risen as to how wise it was to leave that “alliance” open with the Big Ten ultimately negotiating to take USC and UCLA. Admittedly, it is is hard to not draw a comparison to the “alliance” and the now spoken word agreement between the 10 remaining Pac-12 members and Kliavkoff.

Drawing Conclusions

Figuring out what, if anything can be gleaned from Kliavkoff’s interview is hard to measure. On one hand, the confidence Kliavkoff presents in his answers feels very reassuring. On the other hand, the spoken word agreement with the remaining member Pac-12 schools feels very disconcerting- mostly from a previous bad experience that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the present situation. Then, it feels like you have to weigh just how realistic is it to expect Kliavkoff to control what schools choose to do until he actually can present a contract with a grant of rights and media deal?

Bottom line? The Pac-12 is in a tough place until Kliavkoff can present the remaining 10 members a plan of action to move forward. It’s tough to know exactly what that is going to look like because of the nature of these kinds of business deals.

In the meantime, until there is actually some kind of concrete resolution, fans and even media are going to have to deal constant rumors and the idea of “sleeping with one eye open” because no one can be trusted until the ink dries. Even then as we have seen as of late, it’s questionable.

Maybe it’s time we all take a page out of Kliavkoff’s book and just focus on what each of us can control. For most, that will have have nothing to do with conference realignment.

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Kliavkoff: I’m Very Focused On Things Within My Control