Huard: ‘Tremendous Mixed Emotions’ Over Pac-12 Shakeup
Aug 4, 2023, 12:31 PM | Updated: 3:59 pm
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE – If and when the ink finally dries and the Dawgs and Ducks leave the Pac-12 and head to the Big Ten (Big 18?) it will come with a tremendous amount of mixed emotions for me and I know many others.
My head and my heart.
Breaking: The Big Ten is expected to move ahead with formal offer letters for Oregon and Washington, sources tell @PeteThamel.
Sources said a vote by the conference later today is expected to be unanimous. pic.twitter.com/xSWbAz0wWM
— ESPN (@espn) August 4, 2023
My head can rationalize and remember that change has been the only constant in my lifetime with college athletics and conference realignment. The Big 8. The SWC. The Big East….and on and on.
My head tells me that financial stability at the conference level is critical for student athletes and athletic departments.
My head tells me the former Pac-12 did this to themselves with their hubris, mismanagement and massive conflicts between upper campuses and athletic departments on the West Coast.
My head tells me that decisions to not expand a decade ago. Decisions to play chicken with DIRECTV. Decisions to not partner with a TV network to build your conference network. Decisions to move your HQ to San Francisco. Decisions to have a subscription model that flopped. Decisions to not feed the football engines on campuses. Decisions to not deepen trust and depth of relationships with media partners. Decisions that dug a massive hole for a new commissioner to try and dig out of. And decisions that inevitably led your blue-blood programs to look elsewhere and for TV networks to look out for their best interest.
Sources: Big Ten expected to move ahead with formal offer letters for Oregon and Washington. A Big Ten vote is expected to take place later today to formalize their admission, barring any last-minute snags.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) August 4, 2023
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That’s my head.
Now my heart.
Just as the NFL needs Green Bay and Buffalo to weave into the NFL fabric, Pullman and Corvallis and campuses like them are the lifeblood of college athletics and what makes it beautifully unique.
I grew up with so many family friends that were Beavers and Cougs. Many of my friends to this day are the proudest WSU alumni you will ever meet. They bleed Crimson and Grey and their passion and love for their university often far surpasses the fandom of my fellow grads at my alma mater.
Here’s Wazzu coach Jake Dickert’s reaction to the news of Washington and Oregon’s defection to the Big Ten pic.twitter.com/UQRkOMkuCc
— Greg Woods (@GregWWoods) August 4, 2023
My heart hurts for them and just as much for the student-athletes currently at such schools who now must wonder where they fit into this new landscape and what’s ahead.
I can be a proud Husky that hurts for our century-old rival and an Apple Cup tradition that likely will never be again. And hurts doesn’t even sound right.
My heart really doesn’t have the word for it right now. All it can hope for is the inevitable change that will one day come. And that change will bring the sport and campuses together collegially rather than divisive and painful.
My head doesn’t know if that will ever happen.