In recent years, as the Pac-12’s fortunes waned in football – and as the federation was stymied by a television deal that paid its schools tens of millions of dollars less a year than Big Ten contracts – schools like Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia and Clemson regularly tap Southern California for top talent.
In addition to men’s soccer and basketball, UCLA and USC are forces in the sport known as the Olympics. For example, USC has won national championships in beach volleyball, women’s outdoor athletics, and men’s tennis over the past decade. For its part, UCLA has won recent titles in baseball, beach volleyball, women’s gymnastics, women’s soccer, softball, and women’s tennis. Both schools have also won titles in water polo, which is not a Pac-12-sponsored sport for boys or girls.
Overshadowed by potential financial resources is an increased burden placed on athletes, whether they are footballers or distance runners, who will travel frequently loops from Los Angeles to the remote campuses of State College, Pa.; New Brunswick, NJ; and College Park, Md., to compete.
The deal could cast a shadow over the term of Kevin WarrenBig Ten commissioner since 2019, who was criticized in 2020 when his league was initially decided not to play football season fell because of the pandemic. Although the convention eventually reversed its decision and hosted a small portion of the games it had planned, the episode has followed Warren closely ever since. (Pac-12, under Larry Scottwas also canceled and revived the 2020 football season.)
At the same time, the departure of USC and UCLA poses a clear test for George Kliavkoff, who became a Pac-12 commissioner a year ago. Last August, following the Oklahoma and Texas decisions, the federation said it had no plans to expand “at this time,” in part because of the “current competitive strength and cohesion of the 12 universities.” ours.”