Pac-12 Media Day started Friday with George Kliavkoff facing questions about the biggest college football news this offseason. The former MGM executive stood tall while trying to remain optimistic about two of the conference schools exiting.
Off and away, but still in LA
“Think about the fact that for the last 17 years, we, across the board, unfortunately have been in last place with respect to revenue across the Power Five and have won more champions than anyone else,” Kliavkoff responded. “That’s because we recruit the right kids and the right kids want to play in the Pac-12.”
When it comes to finding potential replacements for both schools, Kliavkoff outlined a clear structure of the institution he was wanting to add in the future.
“Start with the market, the media value,” the commissioner explained. “Go to the athletic value, whether or not they would contribute to the Conference of Champions. Academic and culture fit is part of it. Then we’re very focused, I think uniquely, in thinking about the effect of student-athletes when we add schools. We think about travel and about what we’re going to put our student-athletes through if we expand geographically too far away.”
NIL for the WIN
One of the most-asked questions was how schools managed during the first year of the Name, Image and Likeness legislation. Kliavkoff recognized how the Pac-12 was the first to propose the idea of compensation for student-athletes. From there, the coaches took the reins and gave their opinions about the current state of college athletics with NIL.
Kyle Whittingham, Utah:
“It is the world we’re in right now so you have to adapt. It’s just something that as a football coach, no control over those types of things that are going on. It’s really the administration and the commissioners that are handling that obviously.”
Dan Lanning, Oregon:
“I certainly want to see our players maximize their opportunities, whether that be through name, image and likeness. I think we’re positioned really well to be successful there. But we want to play elite competition. I trust George and our leadership in the conference to continue to point us in the right direction there. But it’s a fun, ever-changing day. You always have to pay attention. There’s usually a headline when you wake up in the morning. Fun to adapt and be on your toes. Certainly different to coach in.”
Kalen DeBoer, Washington:
“I think those experiences, giving these guys resources, again, NIL is providing resources to these guys. Continue to do it and right the way, embracing it is something I guess that has been important to me because this is a positive for them and it helps their experience.”
Karl Dorrell, Colorado:
“It’s making progress, I would tell you. I would say that’s probably the right way to say it. Because it’s new for everybody, we are making progress in that area. But we need to continue to move forward in that area as we keep going through this thing.”
David Shaw, Stanford:
“As far as NIL goes, our guys are taking advantage of their NIL opportunities the way that they’re supposed to. NIL is not supposed to be used as an enticement, although that’s happened around the country, both for transfers and people coming out of high school. Once again, that hasn’t affected us. I think we’ll all be naive if they didn’t think some of that was part of it. I would say more than some of it. That’s the landscape in which we are now. I think every coach understands that. That’s a big part of it. And we know it. I think we all saw the noise of the train coming down the track, but the train is here now. How you adapt to it and how you go about coaching going forward, you have to adjust.
Herm Edwards, Arizona State:
“I think we’re all able to do that. That’s where it’s at. It’s not going to change. I think we all predicted it pretty quickly, as soon as they instituted NIL with not much legislation around it. There’s a lot of factors right now. Number one, when I took this job, NIL obviously had already started. Everyone knew it was going to be a part of college football going forward, building rosters going forward. It’s going to be a factor.”
Lincoln Riley, USC:
“I certainly recognized the opportunities that existed in L.A. and specifically with USC and felt like there was no school more positioned to capitalize off NIL than us. Now that I’m boots on the ground, I believe that even more. It’s probably even more substantial than what I thought it could be.”
Different Championship format
The Pac-12 Football Championship game will see some changes going into 2022. No longer will division champions matter as the league adopts a format with teams holding the highest winning percentage. Not a lot will be altered, but still important when scrapping non-conference results. The Pac-12 media members picked Utah and Oregon to be Vegas bound this year. They also predicted the Utes would repeat as conference champions.