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Commissioner George Kliavkoff: Pac-12 can ‘thrive’ without expansion

Jul 28, 2021, 10:54 AM

Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff fields questions during the Pac-12 Conference NCAA college foo...

Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff fields questions during the Pac-12 Conference NCAA college football Media Day Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

After both Oklahoma and Texas asked the SEC to join its conference, the question arose if other Power Five conferences are looking to expand.

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff addressed this in his opening remarks during the conference’s media day.

“… We believe the move by Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 to the SEC strengthens our unique position as the only Power Five conference with teams in the Mountain and Pacific time zones,” Kliavkoff said on Tuesday. “Given our investments in football and men’s basketball, our historic domination of other sports, we do not think expansion is required to continue to compete and thrive.”

Tuesday was Kliavkoff’s first time addressing the media about big issues surrounding the conference since officially taking over on July 1.

Many of those issues came from his predecessor and former Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott who led the conference for over a decade (2009-21).

Its 16 years without a football national title and 24 years without a men’s basketball national title has widened the competitive gap between the Pac-12 and the rest of the Power Five. The conference hasn’t been represented in the College Football Playoff since 2016.

The Pac-12 Network also has been struggling to stay afloat. The network lost 17% of its subscribers last year alone, and it now has 14.8 million subscribers compared to the Big Ten’s and SEC’s 50+ million subscribers, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The Pac-12 needs to catch up and while Kliavkoff didn’t say the conference needs to expand, it’s on the table.

“We had already had significant inbound interest from many schools,” Kliavkoff said. “We will work with our presidents and chancellors to evaluate these opportunities.”

When looking at potential candidates, Kliavkoff stated that football will not be the end-all-be-all.

“I think we take into account all of the factors when we would consider expansion,” Kliavkoff said. “Certainly non-football sports would be one of those factors. The quality of the sports program at any schools we’d be considering would certainly be part of the calculation.”

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