Pac-12 … Show us the MONEY!

Jon Joseph Editorials

When it comes to all things capitalism, even avowed socialists should listen when the Wall Street Journal speaks.

Below are the WSJ’s 25 most valuable college football programs. All forms of revenue, including media distributions, are taken into account.

1. Texas
2. Ohio State
3. Alabama
4. Michigan
5. Notre Dame
6. Georgia
7. Oklahoma
8. Auburn
9. LSU
10. Tennessee

From Twitter

The SEC ranks first with 10 teams on the list.

11. Florida
12. Texas A&M
13. Penn State
14. Wisconsin
15. Nebraska
16. Arkansas
17. South Carolina
18. Iowa
19. That School up North
20. Michigan State
21. DUCKS!
22. Mississippi
23. USC
24. UCLA
25. ASU

Final Tallies

For those of you keeping score, that’s: 10 SEC teams, seven B1G teams, five Pac-12 teams, two Big 12 teams and one Independent. Also note that no ACC teams made the list (Clemson checks in at No. 26).

Considering the sorry state of Pac-12 Network, the Conference of Champions filling up 20 percent of the top 25 isn’t that bad. But it’s not like they placed too highly within the list; the first Pac-12 school comes in at No. 19, with the rest in the twenties.

Kevin Cline

Washington ranked first among Pac-12 schools on the list.

The SEC and B1G schools get a big bump from their networks, one owned by Disney/ESPN and the other by FOX. The Disney/ESPN-owned ACC Network comes “online” in August. You can expect Clemson to move up the list, and will likely see the addition of other ACC schools as well.

In the Gym

Now, let us turn our attention to the basketball court … you know, the place where UCLA was once a true dynasty and the same sport in which Arizona was once a yearly tournament lock. Believe it or not, there was a time when it wasn’t out of the ordinary for half of the Pac-12 to make the tournament field.

Only ASU, Oregon and UW received Tourney bids this past season, and our Ducks needed a gutsy Pac-12 Tournament run to just barely sneak into the field. Overall, the conference was a combined 4-3 in the Tournament. At least that beats the conference’s 3-4 bowl game record in 2018…

Scott Kelly

The Ducks’ men’s team nearly missed out on March Madness altogether.

The NCAA recently announced the tournament distributions each conference will receive in 2019. Below is the breakdown per Power 5 team:

B1G: $2.7 million — 14 schools
ACC: $2.4 million — 14 schools
SEC: $2.4 million — 14 schools
Big 12: $2.3 million — 10 schools
Pac-12: $1.05 million — 12 schools

Of course, gross revenue is the lifeblood of any business. But if expenses exceed revenues, you will be making a visit to a different court: the bankruptcy court. So, one would expect the leaders of the Pac-12 to keep a tight rein on expenses, right? Wrong.

More Money, More Problems?

In 2019, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, at $4.7M, will be paid more than SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, Sankey’s entire staff and the rent the SEC pays for its Birmingham, Alabama headquarters.

What’s crazier, the Pac-12 presidents recently turned down an offer from ESPN to buy the Pac-12 sports media rights through 2030, with an option to extend the deal to 2039. In fairness, the terms of this offer have not been disclosed. One thing’s for certain, though: had the deal been inked, the Pac-12 Network would have immediately been added to the DirecTV Sports Package. Perhaps the boys and girls in Bristol would have given more than lip service to the conference’s athletics.

Compare the coverage of SEC media days and SEC football signing days with the coverage of the same events in the Pac-12. It becomes self evident why many of the best west coast prep athletes are heading east.

From Twitter

Tua Tagovailoa is an example of a western prospect who decided to play in the East.

By the way, the Big East also turned down a media rights offer from ESPN back when Pitt and Syracuse were still in the conference. How did that work out?

Looking Ahead

As I have previously opined on Mr. FishDuck’s site, I see the Pac-12 imploding by 2025. Perhaps, “Livin’ Large” Larry and the university presidents will pull a rabbit out of the hat? Live sports media rights are increasing in value, and big corporations like Amazon, Google, Netflix and others may be getting involved, too.

Many have questioned and criticized my suggestion that Oregon and other Pac-12 schools merge with some Big 12 schools. It may not be the best solution, but it sure seems better than what we have right now.

I doubt that the powers that be care about anyone’s take on the matter. However, it would be interesting to entertain better ideas you readers may have to keep the Pac-12 Conference alive and a member of the Power 5 before it becomes the newest addition to the “Group of 6.”

Jon Joseph
Georgetown, Texas                                                                                                                                                     Top Photo by Andrew Giesemann


Chris Brouilette, the Volunteer editor for this article, is a current student at the University of Oregon from Sterling, Illinois.


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