ASU’s Michael Crow: ‘We were the stalwarts that were fighting for the Pac-12 to the last ditch’

Aug 5, 2023, 1:27 PM

Michael Crow, ASU president...

Arizona State University, President Dr. Michael Crow speaks at the 2016 Concordia Summit - Day 1 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)

(Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)

TEMPE — Arizona State is officially moving to the Big 12, despite university president Michael Crow’s effort to keep the Pac-12 alive.

Crow has been president of ASU since 2002 and said the Sun Devils were not just jumping at the biggest media rights deal, but wanted to keep the tradition of the West Coast’s premier conference.

“There were a lot of forces at work including the overlords of the media empire that were driving a lot of this,” Crow said Saturday. “The Colorado departure was indication there was great instability in the media market that created an unstable moment.

“A number of us, including me, were strongly committed to the maintenance of the Pac-12 conference as a thing. A West Coast conference of schools that have been together for over 100 years, playing together in a regional environment, committed to similar objectives about student athlete success.”

Crow mentioned that Apple did offer a media rights deal that was a “technological 23rd-century Star Trek thing” that was very intriguing to the university with “some risk but huge opportunity.”

“The media thinks the success of our conference is the media contract and the share per school,” Crow said. “The media contract is a fraction of our revenue relevant to ASU, even relative to football. We were focused on connecting with more people but you need to be in a viable conference to do that.

“We were the stalwarts that were fighting for the Pac-12 to the last ditch.”

Crow also mentioned that both Arizona and Arizona State had decided at some point that the two schools were not going to split up “no matter what.”

Despite the tentative approach to the Big 12 from ASU, head coach Kenny Dillingham has been running his program under the idea that a move to another conference was possible.

Dillingham and the Sun Devils have attacked recruiting in the South, especially in Texas. Defensive backs coach Bryan Carrington and running backs coach Ra’Shaad Samples are two of the best recruiters the team has, locking down six high school players from Texas in the 2024 class.

“It is exciting. College football is changing. I compare it to a technology business, it changes every six months, there are no rules and you have to adapt.” Dillingham said Saturday. “I had a plan. If you noticed how we recruited that part of the country, I knew it was an option. We made sure we were diversifying where we were recruiting in this class before a decision was made.

“It allows us to go into different homes that maybe did not want to come play for us because of the region of away games. Now us traveling to Texas, Oklahoma, we need to recruit Oklahoma now. We have to get more aggressive in that part of the country.”

Dilly Dilly

It’s time to officially pour one out for the Pac-12 with just one year remaining together before mass exodus.

While fans may be yelling “Dilly Dilly” in a news conference in 2024, Dillingham grew up in Arizona and said the end of the Pac-12 is a very bitter-sweet moment.

“There are two sides. I have the fan in me. I grew up with the Pac-12,” Dillingham said.

“The rivalries, the tradition, that’s the fan in me. The coach who came in here to do a job and get this place where I know it can go, is excited and thrilled because I know this is the best thing for Arizona State.”

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