On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams chat with Pac-12 Conference commissioner George Kliavkoff about the rapidly changing world of college sports. Kliavkoff took the job on July 1, the same day athletes gained marketing rights widely known as NIL, and his first few months have seen a number of other potential sea changes.
Kliavkoff discusses many of those unknowns, including the possibility of an expanded College Football Playoff, the latest on NIL and the NCAA’s ongoing discussions about a new model that cedes more power to individual conferences. There’s also the subject of conference realignment—Texas and Oklahoma’s move to the SEC spurred a retooled Big 12 and a lot of questions about the other “Power 5” leagues. Against that backdrop, the Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC created an alliance aimed at creating some stability and unified interests.
Kliavkoff talks about what drew him to the job. As president of entertainment and sports at MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM), he was not a college sports insider, but he does have experience in areas critical to the league, including media. The Pac-12’s TV deals expire in 2024, and it will hit the market with ownership of all of its rights, a rarity in top-tier college sports.
Lastly, Kliavkoff discusses the idea of parity in the all-important sport of football, where leagues are rewarded for having one team that stands above the rest. He talks about how the league will start making decisions specifically to help its best teams improve their chances at making the College Football Playoff, whether that’s game times or rethinking the conference divisions.