USC, UCLA Pac-12 Commissioner: ‘I Assume They Remorse’ Exiting

LOS ANGELES – It’s been about a month since the news USC and UCLA is supporting the Big Ten, and the frustration and anger towards two LA schools from the inside of Pac-12 hasn’t diminished much yet – if.

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

Kliavkoff was starting his first vacation since taking up commissioner duties a year ago when the news broke. He was in Montana, driving to Idaho, in an area without many mobile receptions when he received numerous texts from his deputy commissioner.

“The surprising part, for me, is Pac-12 has a mission that has implications for the health and well-being of student-athletes, and this is a decision that, in my opinion, goes directly against the health and well-being of student-athletes. It was a surprise for me.”

One Pac-12 athletic director told The Athletic on Friday that the most surprising aspect of the move was on the part of UCLA, as it is a public school connected to California-Berkeley, and Bruins’ move was dismissed by Governor Gavin Newsom. The University of California Board of Trustees has asked for a review of the way the decision was made.

“I’m not shocked that I’ve been doing this for long enough, but I’m surprised I’ve accepted the view that UCLA can’t be separated from Cal because of the whole regency,” said another Pac-12 AD. The Athletic. “They are run by the same group, and it makes no sense for the same supervisory board to collect money from one party to the detriment, costs, of the other. That goes against their responsibilities. That’s really where the surprise has come.

“Look at all the work Oklahoma and Texas had to do when, 12 years ago, the Pac-12 tried to strike them. But there was always the State of Oklahoma and Texas Tech combining them, and that stopped it. So it’s clear they’ve learned their lesson, and whatever work they needed to get done behind the scenes to fix it, they did. UCLA clearly didn’t work as it was not a political issue at this point. It will be interesting to see what happens at that hearing. “

Kliavkoff also couldn’t hold back his affection for the Big 12 leadership after what he said was multiple debunking of the Pac-12 programs, which he said, were passed on to him from administrators in his alliance.

“I’m trying to focus on what keeps the conference moving forward, and I’ve tried to spend as little time as possible responding to the fake and meaningless news emerging from other conferences with my best efforts. destabilizing force for us,” he said.

When asked about his relationship with Brett Yormark, Kliavkoff said he and the new Big 12 member have spoken several times in the past month. “I told him that I believe college athletics is healthier when we have a healthy and vibrant Big 12 and a healthy and vibrant Pac-12. Getting those votes in the CFP (College Soccer Round) room is valuable. We have those conversations, and then people in his conference try to destabilize our conference. I keep reminding him of that, and it’s a repeating pattern.”

Kliavkoff declined to go into specifics on how Yormark reacted to that, other than adding, “It would be in the best interest of college athletics if both games go strong. I know for a fact that we’re going to be strong, and I think if he does the right things, they’ll be fine. “

Around the tournament

Cameron Ward can be someone who: There are many promising transfer midfielders in Pac-12 this year, but by far the player with the biggest hype is USC’s Caleb Williams, the Oklahoma transfer. But new Washington state attack coordinator Eric Morris said he thinks his guy, Cameron Wardpossibly the best midfielder in the league.

“They’ll soon see,” Morris said of the people can skip the transition from Incarnation. “This kid has something special. I’ve been around some great people. I know what it looks like. It will be fun for the world to see this child come to life. “

Ward said Friday that it makes him feel great.

“Someone like Coach Morris shooting an okay kid from a small town in Texas and taking me all the way to Pullman, Washington, is crazy,” he said. “Just having him in my corner, knowing he trusts me and trusts in me to run the system is something I live every day and I’m ready to prove myself.”

He chose Washington State over Being Miss, Indiana and West Virginia. Ward, who won a FCS best 47 touchdown and nearly 4,700 yards at the Incarnate Word, said he was especially proud to have been an okay prospect. “I do it because I know in my mind that I will always be a five star. I feel like I can always compete with those guys, but the situation where I was, in high school, playing in a heavy Wing-T attack – probably pitching on a Friday night normally seven or eight times. There aren’t really many movies on it. … But everything happens for a reason. “

Utah has plenty of reasons to be optimistic: Cameron Rising made the All-Pac-12 first team last season, hit 20 to 5 interceptions and ran for 499 yards and six touchdowns for the convention champions, who were covered by the league media. predicted to repeat.

Increase tell The Athletic that he didn’t have full strength in his arm last season, after major shoulder surgery, but now has more “strength” on serve. He said he was able to hit about 80% last year. “Sometimes I don’t really feel comfortable throwing the ball deep. I felt like I really had to stretch to make those throws, but now I feel like I have enough confidence to just let it rip.”

Players prepared for a breakout: Stanford‘S EJ Smithson of the legendary Emmitt Smith, ran only 133 yards last season, but the 6-foot-tall, 213-pound man is the player KyuBlu Kelly and Tanner McKee was named the highest-rated Stanford player in a breakout season.

“He’s going to have a great year,” McKee predicted. “He is very flexible. Can run routes, great pass guy, really patient, great vision, really hits the hole, can make one miss in space. He is the total package. We are very excited for him. “

Stanford could use the push. Last season, Cardinal ranked last in the Pac-12 for speed, with less than 87 yards on the ground per game. This is the third time in the past four seasons that Stanford, once the most physically fit team in the league, has finished hastily in the bottom two teams.

Pay attention to the beaver’s backward run: Jonathan Smith had a few aptitudes for running backwards during his four seasons of coaching at Oregon State. Two seasons ago, Jermar Jefferson led the Pac-12 team in rushing pace. Last season, BJ Baylor do. Deshaun Fenwick, who ran 127 yards from Washington State last season, returns. But keep an eye out for the freshman Damian Martinez, a 5-foot-11 three-star player, weighing 228 pounds, from Texas. Smith isn’t much of a fan, but he’s excited about Martinez’s fitness and how quickly he picks up items in the spring.

Is that you, ASU?: State of Arizona, impending a season with significant staffing changes stemming from a recruiting scandal that prompted an ongoing NCAA investigation, has had as many roster changes as any team in the country . Head coach Herm Edwards noted that the Sun Devils have 43 new players. It is worth noting that last season Wyoming there were 44 newcomers coming in and going from a one-win season to a Mountain West title. Edwards said he has a target date when he will have a better sense of the type of team he has.

“Right now it seems far away to me when I watch them jell, watch some of them in the spring, now we have added a few more, a very tight group in my opinion.” I said. “But how will they play together, how will they come together? I think you probably won’t know it until after the third week of the competition. I think after three weeks you will find out how they play together. And I told the whole team that. Then you can define what kind of team you are. That’s the fun part of training. “

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

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