Pac-12 commissioner on USC, UCLA: ‘I think they are already regretting’ exit

LOS ANGELES — It’s been a few month because the information that USC and UCLA are bolting for the Big Ten, and the frustration and anger in the direction of the 2 LA colleges from contained in the Pac-12 have not eased up a lot — if in any respect.

“It’s clear that UCLA and USC decided for short-term monetary achieve on the expense of their student-athletes,” Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff advised The Athletic on Friday. “It’s one hundred pc clear to me. It’s actually unlucky, and I think they are already regretting it, given the pushback that they’ve gotten from nearly each nook of their communities. I think they will remorse it extra as time goes on.”

Kliavkoff was firstly of his first trip since taking the commissioner job a 12 months in the past when the information broke. He was in Montana, driving to Idaho, in an space with out a lot mobile reception when he obtained a number of texts from his deputy commissioner.

“The stunning half, to me, is the Pac-12 has a mission that’s associated to the well being and well-being of its student-athletes, and it is a resolution that, for my part, goes immediately towards the well being and well-being -being of student-athletes. That’s the shock for me.”

One Pac-12 athletic director advised The Athletic on Friday that essentially the most stunning side of the transfer was on the UCLA aspect, since it is a public faculty related to California-Berkeley, and the Bruins’ transfer has been ripped by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The University of California Board of Regents has ordered a assessment of how the choice unfolded.

“I wasn’t shocked as a result of I’ve been on this enterprise lengthy sufficient, however I used to be stunned as a result of I had accepted the notion that UCLA couldn’t uncouple from Cal due to the entire regent factor,” one other Pac-12 AD advised The Athletic. “They’re ruled by the identical group, and it makes no logical sense that the identical oversight board would vault one on the detriment, the expense, of the opposite. That is towards their duty. That’s actually the place the shock got here in.

“Look in any respect the work Oklahoma and Texas needed to do when, 12 years in the past, the Pac-12 tried to raid them. But it was at all times Oklahoma State and Texas Tech coupling them, and that stopped it. So, clearly they’d realized their classes, and no matter work they wanted to get achieved behind the scenes to repair it, they did. UCLA clearly did no work as a result of this shouldn’t be a political problem at this level. It’ll be fascinating to see what occurs at that listening to.”

Kliavkoff additionally didn’t maintain again his emotions for Big 12 management within the wake of what he stated have been quite a few overtures to attempt to poach Pac-12 packages that, he says, have been forwarded to him from directors in his league.

“I’ve been making an attempt to focus on stuff that strikes the convention ahead, and I’ve been making an attempt to spend as little time as potential responding to the faux information and nonsense that has come out of different conferences in an effort to destabilize us, he stated.

Asked about his relationship with Brett Yormark, Kliavkoff stated he and the brand new Big 12 commissioner have talked a few occasions up to now month. “I advised him I consider that faculty athletics is more healthy when we’ve a wholesome and vibrant Big 12 and a wholesome and vibrant Pac-12. Having these votes within the CFP (College Football Playoff) room is efficacious. We have these conversations, after which individuals in his convention exit of their option to attempt to destabilize our convention. I preserve reminding him of that, and it is a repeating sample.”

Kliavkoff declined to enter the specifics of how Yormark responded to that, aside from including, “It’d be in one of the best curiosity of faculty athletics if each conferences are robust. I do know for a undeniable fact that we will be robust, and I think if he does the appropriate issues, they’ll be nice.”

Around the league

Cameron Ward could possibly be the man: There are a variety of promising switch quarterbacks within the Pac-12 this 12 months, however by far the participant with the largest hype is USC’s Caleb Williams, the Oklahoma switch. But new Washington State offensive coordinator Eric Morris stated he thinks his man, Cameron Ward, will be one of the best quarterback within the league.

“They’ll see quickly sufficient,” Morris stated of people that may be overlooking the Incarnate Word switch. “This child has some particular stuff. I’ve been round some nice ones. I do know what that appears like. It’s gonna be enjoyable for the world to see this child come alive.”

Ward stated Friday that listening to that makes him really feel nice.

“A man like Coach Morris taking a shot at a zero-star child from a small city in Texas and bringing me all the way in which as much as Pullman, Washington, is loopy,” he stated. “Just having him in my nook, realizing he trusts me and believes in me to function that system is one thing I dwell for day-after-day, and I’m simply able to go show myself.”

He selected Washington State over Ole Miss, Indiana and West Virginia. Ward, who threw for an FCS-best 47 touchdowns and nearly 4,700 yards at Incarnate Word, stated he takes particular pleasure in as soon as being a zero-star prospect. “I do as a result of I knew in my thoughts that I used to be at all times a five-star. I felt like I may at all times compete with these guys, however the state of affairs that I used to be in, in highschool, taking part in in a Wing-T run-heavy offense — in all probability threw the ball seven or eight occasions on a standard Friday night time. Not actually a variety of movie on there. … But every part occurs for a purpose.”

Utah has loads of purpose for optimism: Cameron Rising made first-team All-Pac-12 final season, posting a 20-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio and operating for 499 yards and 6 touchdowns for the convention champions, who are predicted by the league media to repeat.

Rising advised The Athletic that he did not have all of his arm power final season, coming off main shoulder surgical procedure, however now has that “further oomph” delivering the ball. He stated he was in all probability round 80 % final 12 months. “I did not actually really feel comfy throwing a deep ball at occasions. I felt like I actually needed to muscle as much as make these throws, however now I really feel like I’ve the arrogance to simply let it rip.”

The participant primed for a breakout: Stanford’s EJ Smith, son of the legendary Emmitt Smith, ran for less than 133 yards final season, however the 6-foot, 213-pound junior was the participant Kyu Blu Kelly and Tanner McKee named because the Stanford participant most primed for a breakout season.

“He’s going to have a tremendous 12 months,” McKee predicted. “He’s so versatile. Can run routes, nice move professional man, is actually affected person, nice imaginative and prescient, actually hits the opening, could make individuals miss in house. He’s the overall bundle. We’re so excited for him.”

Stanford may use the enhance. Last season the Cardinal ranked final within the Pac-12 in speeding, with fewer than 87 yards on the bottom per sport. It was the third time up to now 4 seasons that Stanford, as soon as essentially the most bodily crew within the league, completed within the backside two in speeding.

Look out for the Beavers’ operating backs: Jonathan Smith has had a few gifted operating backs in his 4 seasons teaching at Oregon State. Two seasons in the past, Jermar Jefferson led the Pac-12 in speeding. Last season, BJ Baylor did. Deshaun Fenwick, who ran for 127 yards towards Washington State final season, returns. But preserve an eye fixed on freshman Damien Martinez, a 5-foot-11, 228-pound three-star recruit from Texas. Smith is not one to gush, however he’s enthusiastic about Martinez’s physicality and the way rapidly he picked issues up through the spring.

Is that you simply, ASU?: Arizona State, coming off an offseason with important employees adjustments stemming from a recruiting scandal that has prompted an ongoing NCAA investigation, has had as a lot roster turnover as maybe any crew within the nation. Embattled head coach Herm Edwards famous that the Sun Devils have 43 new gamers. It’s price noting that final season Utah State had 44 newcomers and springboarded from a one-win season to a Mountain West title. Edwards stated he has a goal date for when he’ll have a greater really feel for simply what sort of crew he has.

(Photo of George Kliavkoff, left, Pac-12 senior affiliate commissioner Merton Hanks, middle, and Stanford AD Bernard Muir: Kirby Lee / USA Today)

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