New Pac-12 Commissioner visits UW as part of full conference tour

As accessible as his predecessor was deemed distant, new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff has visited the University of Washington in recent days, making Seattle his 11th stop on a full-fledged conference visit. . He was


As accessible as his predecessor was deemed distant, new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff has visited the University of Washington in recent days, making Seattle his 11th stop on a full-fledged conference visit. .

He was more familiar with this city than others because Kliavkoff, who spent most of his professional career in digital media, resided in Seattle from 1995 to 2005 while working for Real Networks.

He was no stranger to the UW campus either, having previously held a Husky basketball season pass and sharing football season passes with others.

In just over two months on the job after replacing Larry Scott, Kliavkoff received high marks for his visibility and for taking immediate steps such as forming a working alliance with the Big Ten and the ACC to compensate. the upcoming expansion of the SEC.

When asked on Friday if he personally implemented the arrangement, Kliavkoff smiled and said he wasn’t going to talk about it, which seemed to answer the question.

As college football plans to expand to an 8- or 12-team playoff, Kliavkoff wouldn’t say what he prefers, only that four teams are unacceptable in competition.

“I think the structure of the CFP as it is today is broken,” he said. “I think the idea that only 3 percent of your student athletes in one sport compete in a championship or playoff doesn’t make sense to me. In all the other sports we have, it’s somewhere in between. 18 and 25 percent of the athletes who can compete for a championship. “

Kliavkoff has pointed out quite strongly, not to mention the SEC, which has dominated the playoffs for the past decade, that the current playoff system needs to change for the general good of college football rather than the elected few.

“The worst part is that he is self-sustaining,” he said. “If you’re one of the four teams that get an invitation in the first round, the first time they are launched for CFP, it makes it easier to recruit the best talent, which means you get back to it. that’s the math: 20 of the 28 CFP invitations went to four schools. “

Part of the delay in establishing a new playoff system is keeping everyone happy with the right distribution of media rights, appeasing the Rose Bowl to adhere to all of its traditions, managing venues in cold weather, and resolve any potential health or academic issues that might arise with more games.

“We all want to expand the college football qualifiers,” Kliavkoff said. “And we all want to do it as soon as possible.”

On his campus tours, this proactive commissioner has met with athletic administrators, coaches, players, donors and the media, eager to hear what each has to say in terms of improving the Pac-12.

Referring to the athletes, Kliavkoff said: “They ask the best questions.”

He responded to a wide range of media requests, such as elevating Pac-12 football nationwide to move the league headquarters to a location cheaper than San Francisco to find more conference events. which can be organized in Las Vegas with football and basketball.

Kliavkoff also said federal regulations are needed to control Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) opportunities for players, or rampant abuse will emerge if only state law oversees them.

A year ago, the Scott-led Pac-12 came under fire for its lack of leadership after being among the first to postpone or cancel all sporting activities at the height of the pandemic and the last to restart football. Teams such as UW, WSU, California and Arizona State only played four games a year ago.

Kliavkoff has so far been praised by the UW administration and the rest of the conference for coming out ready to push for change.

“He’s a guy with extraordinary experience and transparency,” said Husky athletic director Jen Cohen, who accompanied the commissioner to the various local meetings. “We couldn’t have had it come at a better time with all the changes to college sports.”

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