Big Ten expansion: Pac-12 commissioner has bold statement for USC, UCLA

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff believes USC and UCLA will regret leaving for Big Ten.

George Kliavkoff is not exactly thrilled over USC and UCLA leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten.

He may only be entering his second year as the Pac-12 commissioner, but Kliavkoff has to deal with the potentially fatal blow his conference sustained a month ago. USC and UCLA deciding to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten in 2024 sent shockwaves throughout all of college athletics. Kliavkoff’s predecessor Larry Scott is responsible for the Pac-12’s demise, but what is he to do?

His comment to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic during Pac-12 Media Day really says it all.

“It’s clear that UCLA and USC made a decision for short-term financial gain at the expense of their student-athletes,” said Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff to The Athletic on Friday. “It’s 100 percent clear to me. It’s really unfortunate, and I think they are already regretting it, given the pushback that they’ve gotten from almost every corner of their communities. I think they will regret it more as time goes on.”

Let’s be real, what else was Kliavkoff supposed to do here? His conference is dying a painful death.

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff says USC, UCLA will regret their decision

While USC and UCLA’s move to the Big Ten is a money grab, it is the case with seemingly every team when it comes to realignment. Though Kliavkoff may have hoped USC and UCLA would have stuck around long enough to negotiate a new television contract, this is precisely why the Bruins and Trojans are leaving. The Pac-12 TV deal is an unmitigated disaster created by Scott years ago.

For USC, they are the preeminent football brand out west. Although the Trojans have been down for over a decade now, they seem to have the right head coach to drag them out of their perpetual self-inflicted quagmire in Lincoln Riley. Admittedly, USC’s relationship with the Pac-12 has been dicey at best throughout the last decade or so. It has been a long time since Pete Carroll left town.

As far as the Bruins are concerned, they get to save so many olympic sports by moving to the Big Ten. They may be the second biggest college brand in Los Angeles, but the Bruins are the biggest name in California when it comes to college hoops. Plus, the Bruins have shown historically that when they have the right head coach, they can field a top-25-caliber college football team as well.

While the rest of the Pac-12, and the rest of the West Coast for that matter, may scowl at USC and UCLA for ditching the conference for greener pastures, there is no way the Bruins or Trojans will regret this decision. With the Big Ten probably expanding beyond 16 teams at some point, the gap between Los Angeles and Lincoln, Nebraska might close faster than … the Cornhuskers being back.

There may be a lot of emotions running through USC and UCLA now, but regret is not one of them.

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