Jon Wilner Breaks Down Pac-12’s Situation With Colorado Exit

Jul 31, 2023, 3:31 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Colorado is off to the Big 12 in 2024, opening the door for more questions and uncertainty for the Pac-12 as more realignment rumors swirl. Pac-12 Hotline writer Jon Wilner joined Hans and Scotty Monday afternoon to discuss the latest with the Conference of Champions.

There has been talk that the next 24-72 hours are critical ones for the remaining nine members of the Pac-12. Commissioner George Kliavkoff is expected to produce a media deal within the next day or two that could ultimately sway the Pac-12’s survival one way or another.

All eyes will also be on Arizona who is rumored to be the next team to bolt if things do not go well through this week.

How Wilner Believes Things End For The Pac

With so much of the uncertainty mentioned above hanging over Pac fans, it’s easy to take a very negative perspective on what will happen. Wilner, surprisingly has a fairly positive take on the situation and leans toward the nine ultimately staying together, but also acknowledges things can change.

“I would still lean toward the nine sticking together,” Wilner said. “There are a few scenarios. The nine sticking together, one more school leaving- Arizona for the Big 12, or three more schools leaving- Arizona, ASU, and Utah for the Big 12. Then there are the scenarios if that happens, what happens to the other six? A lot of things on the table. I would bet, not very much, however, that the nine stick together.”

Colorado Leaving Doesn’t Necessarily Put TV Deal At Square One, Here Is How:

Some of the angst, concern, and even confusion over the past few days has surrounded where exactly the Pac-12 Conference stands on their media rights deal and if Colorado’s departure puts them back at square one. Wilner doesn’t believe this is the case.

“I don’t think it does that much to be honest because they have known for months Colorado was a flight risk,” Wilner said. “I believe they factored in alternate plans in case Colorado left. In terms of market, they could swap San Diego State in for Colorado and you’re not losing much in the media market and you’re gaining stuff competitively in terms of your geography. That might be the simplest solution is to just swap San Diego State in for Colorado, but the issue is if this destabilizes everyone else and people leave, right? That’s the big thing, but I don’t believe this is setting them way back in the media deal to put it that way.”

Wilner’s Thoughts On Where Utah Stands

With so many questions about where the remaining nine Pac-12 schools stand with each other and the conference, Wilner says Utah seems like one of the more steadfast programs for the here and now.

“Utah wants to be in the Pac-12 unless there are no viable options,” Wilner said. “I think for Utah, that’s the right move. I think being in a 10-team Pac-12 is a better deal than being in a 16-team Big 12, right? If you’re talking about the Playoff, which I think is at the forefront of everyone’s thought process, Utah has a better chance out of the Pac-12 than the Big 12 in my opinion. They are viewed as a very staunch supporter of the Pac-12 and not a flight risk unless there is just really zero option. I would say Arizona State is in that category as well.”

Lets Talk Numbers

Wilner gave his best guess on what kind of numbers Kliavkoff will have to present in the next day or two in order to keep the remaining nine schools together and move forward with expansion. Spoiler alert, it’s pretty close to the same range that’s been discussed throughout this whole ordeal.

“I’ve always thought, be within 10% of that number,” Wilner said. “Either way, that would take you down to $29 million- $28 1/2- something like that up to $34 million. Just be in that range. The Pac-12 already gets less money per school than the Big 12 so a couple of million? I don’t know that will necessarily cause any presidents to leave. In fact, Robert Robbins- the head of Arizona, he said in the spring that nobody is leaving for a couple of million.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on TwitterInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Jon Wilner Breaks Down Pac-12’s Situation With Colorado Exit