292 Comments
Aug 10, 2023Liked by John Canzano

"How so many smart people can make such stupid decisions" is so true. This is the difference between leaders and elite credentialed intellectuals. The latter should run nothing. COVID policies taught me that.

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Aug 10, 2023Liked by John Canzano

"Hubris" is much too kind a word. It makes the Commissioner, Presidents and ADs sound naive and ignorant. You do not get paid multi-million $$ salaries by school boards / Regents to be naive and ignorant. Where is the accountability? Where are the resignations? You are supposed to be on top of all your university departments, especially sports, which have such high public and alumni visibility. These people are instead, the worst of the worst. I have seen this coming for decades as university Presidents become more and more full of themselves (which, I guess is where we get "hubris"). These people are no smarter than your neighbor. They just think they are. Because they are so cocky, it makes them a lot dumber than your neighbor. Never trust a university executive, EVER. They are really low-life in my book.

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Aug 10, 2023Liked by John Canzano

Thanks for the REAL take JC. Love this about you on this platform. No need to stir up controversy, just give us the facts, your insight, and opinion...with great research!

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So ESPN offered $30M per school AFTER LA schools left. In the exhausting year of uncertainty, the $30M figure always was the benchmark.

Hubris? Idiocy? Who actually thought they could get $50M, or a dime more than 30?

The numbers are the numbers. The leaders of the Pac 12 obviously can’t read a spreadsheet.

A collection of the greatest academics in the world obviously doesn’t require basic common sense or even basic business savvy.

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Aug 10, 2023·edited Aug 10, 2023

It’s crazy that they passed up the ESPN deal. Should have countered of course, but at like a $35 million range and settled for $32 million and went on with a stable life. Some really terrible leadership from not only GK but also the leaders of the universities.

I hate that my Beavs, plus the Cougs are being left behind. I also don’t blame the Ducks and Huskies for taking the Big 10 deal. Having the possibility of zero linear broadcast options and only Apple is kind of ridiculous at this point in time. Having streaming as the secondary part of the deal would have made much more sense, but GK, his buddy, and the university leaders blew that chance.

Still hope the Beavs and Cougs can pull off a miracle and land with the Big 12 or form a best of the MWC and AAC conference.

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Fine analysis, but please don't try to convince us that Larry Scott might've prevented this. That's as absurd as the promises Kliavkoff was making. Scott, you'll recall, was a former women's tennis executive who at the time of his hiring admitted he hadn't seen a college football game in 11 years. He created the disastrous Pac-12 Network without a partner (all the other conferences have partnered with ESPN or Fox), got into a pissing match with Direct TV, and insisted on a structure with seven different costly feeds. Instead of delivering the revenues he had promised to member schools, his network became an albatross.

His arrogance was another problem. Scott, who never met a microphone he didn't like, spent lavishly on conference offices in downtown San Francisco, stayed in a $7,500 hotel suite in Las Vegas during the conference basketball tournament, and took a $2 million bonus shortly before laying off or furloughing half the conference staff in 2020.

Kliavkoff was clearly in over his head from day one. Over the last year he has made a series of ludicrous comments and false promises that left a lot of people scratching their heads. Two weeks ago, at the Conference's media day, Kliavkoff actually insisted that "the longer we wait for the media deal, the better our options get." Other than that, Mrs.Lincoln, how'd you like the play?

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In hindsight sending GK to negotiate the media deal was like sending an Eagle Scout into a biker bar. He was the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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The P12 fate was sealed the moment they alienated their bell cow. SC gave the P12 legitimacy and branding for decades. Nobody heard or cared about Oregon or Oregon St or Arizona prior to maybe the early 2000s. SC bowl earnings helped subsidize 2 win Oregon st teams for years. When the ncaa screwed SC with sanctions the other members didn’t rally to help the program in their own conference they had benefited being aligned to for years. Some of them (cough cough Oregon looking at you) used it to negative recruit. I guess they thought kids wouldn’t talk about what they were told on recruiting visits at other schools that ended up at SC. SC heard and never forgot. They asked for a fair revenue share and were rebuffed. The lunacy of USC sharing equal revenue with WSU and Colorado is mindboggling. So of course when they were offered a deal that was 60% more than they made in an ineptly run P12 to go to a better run, bigger brand conference, they took it. And all the judgement here about “conference killers” or righteous indignation over “unfair travel for students” when it was UCLA and SC was immediately forgotten when Oregon and UW bolted for HALF of what SC did. Half, dude. Imagine how quick they’d have run for a full share.

Point being: you don’t alienate the only blue blood, massive brand in your conference in football (SC) and it’s equal in basketball (UCLA) in the biggest media market in the country unless you are incredibly short sighted and frankly, stupid. If there were ANY doubt about the true value and branding of the rest of the P12 when the LA schools left that should have been crystal clear when every network offered them Jack sh## and only Apple have them an embarrassment of an offer. Cold, hard, objective facts where money talks. Nationally: nobody cared anymore. And these idiots thought they didn’t need the LA schools to matter. SMH. Hubris? More like provencial delusion. End of the day I feel bad for Oregon St, I really do. But the rest of the conference? No.

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I understand that football revenue supports all of the rest of college sports. That said, I can't imagine baseball, basketball, wrestling and all the rest of the teams traveling all over the country. Seems this would just create a bigger operating loss for those sports than already is the case. However, I imagine that it wouldn't work for the PAC 12 to continue with all of the sports for each team except for football. Or could it? Football would simply continue to subsidize the other sports as it always has. Or, is there so sort of an NCAA rule that all of the schools' sports have to be in the same conference?

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commissioners, AD's, Presidents/Chancellors all want to place blame on one another, but none are stepping up taking responsibility. The old saying "be careful what you wish for". After the Scott fiasco, I thought anyone would be an improvement over him but that does not appear to be the case. I think anyone of your faithful readers who have owned or managed a business at some point in their careers could have done a better job than this group. Your article stating that the PAC 12 board came back with a counter nearly double from the original offer says it all. Don't demand a number tell them that ESPN needs to better and "give it your best shot". I have said this before, as I am an UO alum: I am beyond angry that UO, UW and UCLA can actually sell out a family member (OSU, WSU and UC Berkley) for the almighty dollar. At least the AZ schools stood together.

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I’m a Duck very sad to see the conference blow up. But I rejoice that Oregon is joining a conference not hampered by incompetent overseers.

Two points: the conference rejected ESPN’s $30M per school and sought $50M. Question: based on what? Did they have advisors other than GK and his law school buddy? Bet the answer is no. They just kept it inside their circle because by golly, they are really smart people!

Second, you report JC that the hiring of said law school pal raised eyebrows around the country. But it didn’t among the Pac 12 overseers. This is the same head-in-sand approach that gave us Larry Scott for all those years.

Good riddance Pac 12 boobs. You sip tea on the veranda while the house burns down.

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The ironic thing is there’s still a window out. I’m biased, but I always thought SDSU was undervalued. Why? The proximity to LA and OC and the KEEPING of eyeballs to Pac 12 games. And the So. Cal. Recruiting footprint for all members. There are/were many P12 fans in So. Cal. And there are many SDSU alums in the area. I expect JD Wicker and Co. mentioned as much.

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After reading the story in The Athletic this morning and now John's account (which sync up to each other) I feel that we finally have the whole story. It still really stinks, but it's more obvious now that Kliavkoff clearly bungled the whole thing. AND, if he's the one trying to keep the PAC alive (which I'd prefer) I'm not holding my breath.

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I'm a bit surprised--read STUNNED!--by the conference's (Commissioner's?) response to the ESPN $30 mill offer. The $50M was insulting, like they wanted ESPN to walk, rather than actually negotiate. That was suicidal. You come back at $40M, maybe $37.5M and maybe negotiate closer to $34-35M. We'd have a Pac-10 today (maybe 12 again with SDSU and SMU). This was beyond idiotic.

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“How so many smart people can make such stupid decisions.”

What if they're not that smart? USC and UCLA had the admissions scandal. Stanford's president is resigning because he made up a bunch of his research. Oregon State hired F King Alexander without doing ANY vetting. That's a quarter of your conference! They're not that smart. And when it came time to make decisions, none of them had any idea how. I mean, how in God's name did any of them believe they were getting low-balled at $30M? Because they're not that smart.

What the presidents have going for them is for the most part no one ever peeks behind the curtain. Everyone just assumes that because they've got all those letters after their name that they must know some secret. They don't.

On that point, four major west coast universities are about to learn a painful lesson in how much it costs to make all that B1G money all because no one ever stopped to ask. Ask Rutgers how it's gone for them.

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Good God. What a mess. Thanks for this account of it, John.

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