By 750 The Game Staff
Fans in the footprint of the Pac-12 Conference are still left with many questions in the wake of the league’s dissolution not even one full week ago.
Late Thursday night of last week, there was a reported optimism in the conference that come Friday morning, the Pac-12 CEO Group would meet, and the remaining nine conference members would show up ready to sign the new grant of rights, and with it, the new media deal with Apple.
Hours later, it all flipped on its head. Just before the scheduling meeting of Pac-12 presidents and chancellors, the leaders at Oregon and Washington informed their comrades of their dual decision to leave for the Big Ten in 2024.
So, what exactly changed between the optimism from Thursday night into the disaster that came Friday morning, essentially ending the future of the conference?
John Canzano dove into what happened in the window that brought the whole thing tumbling down. And it began with the Oregon Ducks.
“The thing that tipped Oregon,” Canzano said, “was Oregon went back to the Big Ten and said, ‘Hey, we will join you, but we want to be a full member. We don’t want a partial share when the deal is renegotiated. Because the original offer from the Big Ten was 50 percent share. That’s it. And when we renegotiate, you’re also at a 50 percent share. Oregon wanted a full share.
“In retrospect, I think if the Big Ten had not been willing to give them a full share in year seven of their membership in the Big Ten, I think Oregon and Washington would have said, ‘Hey, I think we can do this deal, and probably get a better deal if we wait. Let’s just sign on with Apple, let’s bet on ourselves.”
Oregon and Washington informed the Pac-12 just 10 minutes before the Pac-12 CEO Group meeting that they were leaving for the Big Ten.
Canzano said the Pac-12 has itself to blame.
“If the Pac-12 wasn’t really willing to get a good deal in front of Oregon that made it a no-brainer, it has itself to blame for the fact that Oregon and Washington were sitting there on Friday morning saying, ‘Eh, maybe we should be listening to the Big Ten,'” said Canzano.
Fans shouldn’t kid themselves about who is driving the latest round of realignment.
“It’s driven by Fox,” Canzano stated. “Fox tried to get the Pac-12 to break up by going after the Arizona schools, by getting Colorado to the Big 12, by trying to get Utah. They tried and tried and on Thursday night they were unsuccessful doing that, and so what did Fox do? They went, hey, we got another weapon here. Let’s use the Big Ten to get what we want.
“They drove the Pac-12 Conference to the point where Oregon and Washington left, and then what happened? It got the Arizona schools as well, it got Utah. Fox got everything it wanted. Fox was the big winner.”
Listen to the full segment with Canzano’s thoughts at the 5 at 5 at the 1:44:00 mark of the podcast below.
John Canzano delivers the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.