Rob Mullens: Is it Sloth or Apathy?

Jon Joseph Editorials

Hello, Rob, this is Obidiah Dee, thanks for taking my call.

How did I get your private number, you ask? Why shouldn’t you hang up, you ask?

Well, Rob, a good friend of mine is one of the founding members of Division Street and he gave me your number to be used one time only. I’d be happy to let him know that you refused to speak with me.

What’s that? Go ahead. Will do.

Rob, as the great football coach, Vincent Lombardi, once asked his team from the sideline: ‘What in the Hell is Going On Out There?’ Sir, I ask the same of you.

Are you too lazy to pay attention to what’s going on; or, do you just not care?

Just so you know, some of Puddles’s pals are fine with Oregon State and Washington State (Pac-2) ripping off Oregon and the other nine Pac-12 departees (Departees). But many of us have no idea why you are bending over and accepting a $30 Million plus suppository, courtesy of the Pac-2. And no understanding of why the other Departees are bending over in concert?

Rob, let’s say you and I formed a partnership. called ‘Oregon.’ As time goes by we are joined by eleven other partners with similar goals and ideals. After a very successful run, our business model is being eclipsed by certain of our competitors. The reasons ‘why’ are not all that important. What is important is that our going-forward business model will not allow us to compete at the championship level in college football, the sport that provides 80% of Oregon’s athletic department’s revenue.

Yes, it is great that Oregon and USC will continue to compete with each other, but… (Photo by Craig Strobeck)

So, Rob, hats off to you! You did the right thing moving Oregon to the Big Ten conference, along with UCLA, USC, and Washington. Cal and Stanford found a new home in the ACC. Arizona, ASU, Colorado, and Utah are leaving for the B12.

The marketplace, the college sports business world, offered the Departees a new home. Unfortunately, the Pac-2, Oregon State and Washington State, did not have the chops, even though both tried to make a move, to entice CBS, ESPN, FOX, NBC, CW, CNN, or TikTok, to fund their move to greener pastures. When you capitalize anything, the market will sort out winners and losers. The sorting may not be kind, but it is inevitable. Generally, you reap what you have sown. If you invest like a G5 program, then you belong in a G5 program.

So, Rob, our long run as business partners has come to a close. It’s time to terminate our partnership, with every partner accepting one-twelfth of the Liabilities and each partner receiving one-twelfth of the assets, right, Rob?

But wait a minute! Oregon is bearing its fair share of one-twelfth of the Liabilities, yet is receiving none, nudge, nada, nyet, nothing of the assets? Meanwhile, Oregon State and Washington State are both responsible for one-twelfth of the Liabilities but each is receiving 50% of the Assets? I did not go to Business School, Rob, but even I know this does not compute. The two partners unworthy of being rescued by the marketplace, are getting all of our partnership’s Assets? Come On Man!

What’s that, Rob? You say you lost a suit filed in a state court in Washington, a decision that was confirmed on appeal?

Good thing Dana and his team did not roll over when things got tough in the Pac-12 Tournament. (Photo by Ian McFarland of UO Athletics)

I hear you, but if Dan Lanning‘s team is behind after the first quarter do you want Dan to throw in the towel? If Dana Altman‘s team is behind at the half, Dana and his guys should fold up? If the Volleyball team loses the first set, then Matt Ulmer should tell his women athletes to give up? You lost the first round of what should have been at least a 12-round fight. You got ‘homered’ by the ‘refs’ in round one, so you quit?

I’m reasonably certain that a state court judge in California, Arizona, Colorado, or Utah, especially if the plaintiffs had hired quality counsel who happened to give liberally to state court judges running for election, would, looking at the equities, make a different ruling than did the hand-picked judge in Washington. I am equally certain that filing such an action would not cost close to $300 Million.

An alternative would have been for the Departees, as the owners of the partnership’s ‘equity,’ to file for bankruptcy liquidation. I don’t believe that any federal bankruptcy court would find that the Departees, responsible for 83.33% of the Liabilities, would have no right at all to the failed enterprise’s Assets. No right simply because they failed to give timely notice of their departure?

A bankruptcy court would not find the partnership’s bylaws superseding the equity of our argument. Bylaws Rob, had you and the other Departees not been asleep at the switch, could have amended before giving notice of departure.

Rob, you and your friends did not seek a path toward a settlement, you folded like a cheap suit. I doubt that any of the Departees would have objected to the Pac-2 receiving a bigger share of the assets. Instead, you surrendered, and raising the white flag will cost the Departees somewhere between $300 Million and $350 Million. Money going to feed the Pig, er, Pac-2 that did little or nothing to earn the cash they are going to receive?

Do you think Phil Knight operated his businesses the same way? (Photo by Nancy Paiva)

If fans were shareholders, you and the other Departees would be responding to a suit for breach of fiduciary duty.

Rob, that’s a big injury, but adding insult, you dropped a home game in 2024 vs Power 4 Texas Tech to play Oregon State, considered to be in the junior varsity Group of 5 by anyone not named John Canzano.

Among other things, Oregon State fans, ironically seeing as how they were eager to use a legal loophole to screw over their former partners and ‘friends’, called Oregon and its fans unprincipled, immoral, amoral, unethical, dishonorable, corrupt, and dissolute along with many expletives deleted. Do you have any concern at all for the fans who attend the game in Corvallis in front of such unspooled people, and for the safety of the players and the coaches?

A win over a Power 4 opponent would be more meaningful to the Playoff Committee than a victory over a G5 opponent at home, on the road, or in a parking lot (which is about the size of the Beavers stadium.) Did you not serve as the Chair of the Playoff Committee? How can you be this tone-deaf?

But setting aside playoff concerns, according to Lane County, an Oregon home football game means $6 Million to $8 Million for the local economy. Many small business people are still trying to recover from COVID. How many had to refund room deposits for the weekend of the Texas Tech game and how many meals will go unserved, cocktails not imbibed? How about the loss of parking and concession revenue, and the sale of merchandise?

How could you give up an epic Power-5 home game…to go to Corvallis? (Screenshot from Video)

Oregon plays both Michigan and Ohio State in 2024. Both of these B1G boys play eight home games this coming season. Sir, you have surrendered an eighth home game for the Ducks in a season where for some reason or lack of reason, you agreed to Oregon being the only Power 4 team in the nation to play eight weeks in a row without an off week?

This is not beneficial to Dan Lanning and the assistant coaches and certainly not beneficial to the student-athletes you are supposed to be looking after. You didn’t see enough of Dana Altman’s players headed for the MASH unit?

What’s that, Rob, as a newbie you didn’t want to make any noise? Isn’t it enough that you have consented to take a fifty percent media revenue haircut through 2031? You looked at the proposed schedule and again, bent over farther than a Samurai in front of his master.

Thanks for speaking with me Rob. It’s been an honor for me, Obadiah Dee, (OBD) to speak with you on behalf of many Pals of Puddles. In this day and age your job is not easy. I don’t mean to pile on, but I and many other Puddle Pals, respectfully ask you to keep a better eye on the ball and the dollar signs.

Oh, before I hang up Rob, how about rethinking that football game scheduled to be played in Logan, Utah in 2028?

Jon Joseph
Aiken, South Carolina
Top Photo by Nancy Paiva

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