Many Pac-12 fans are now even more angry at the USC Trojans due to President Carol Folt reportedly turning down an opportunity for the Pac-12 to expand last year after the Big 12 saw Texas and Oklahoma leave.
According to the LA Times, Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff set up a Zoom meeting with three Pac-12 school presidents and three Pac-12 school Athletic Directors to discuss expanding with Big 12 schools. Sources told the LA Times that Folt "shut down" the expansion talks in less than 15 minutes.
First of all, it's possible that this isn't even true. Folt responded to this with; “We’re not going to respond to anonymous comments or hearsay,” and I don't blame her. There could be much more to this story. Either way, though, Folt did absolutely nothing wrong.
USC President Carol Folt turned down expansion because she felt there was no need for the Pac-12 to expand then.
USC President Carol Folt simply looked around, and thought that jumping to expand may not be a correct knee-jerk reaction at the time. That's more than a fair take; as the Pac-12 was already doing a terrible job providing USC with what they were bringing in.
The equal-revenue sharing model that the Pac-12 does isn't always a bad one, but when there are athletic programs like Washington State and Oregon State not providing anywhere close to what USC is bringing in, that creates problems. The reason is because the conference as a whole is the worst of the Power 5 in revenue generation.
Therefore if the flagship, blueblood SC is getting an equal share of what everyone else is getting, they're not getting very much in general because the conference doesn't have enough strong brands/programs like SC to bring in the type of money an SC-level brand/program does.
So, USC was carrying the conference through its history, tradition, academic strength, and revenue generation--but not making as much as the rest of the bluebloods across the country. So, why would Folt agree to add more programs to have to share the smallest pie in the country?
This wouldn't benefit anyone at the time--not just USC. Nobody was getting a lot of money, because the conference wasn't making anything to begin with. Now, she's going to agree that our conference's schools should make potentially even less? She felt that this would make no sense.
Why fill the conference with more small markets when that's been a huge problem? Why sacrifice the academic integrity of the conference? Why do something that puts this conference at further risk of its programs losing even more money, just to be seen temporarily as a Power 4 conference?
She understandably seems to have thought that this just sounds like a 'Power 4' conference that wouldn't last long. Many others thought that too. The Pac-12 was widely considered to have benefitted, if anything, to Texas and OU going to the SEC.
They didn't have anything stripped from them, and they could work their way back up with a new commissioner. Now people are mad because they see Folt as having screwed the Pac by not being willing to expand, just to leave anyway.
But again, expanding certainly may not have been the right move anyway. The current programs in the Pac-12 would potentially make even LESS than what they were before. Also, why should Folt not be focusing on what the best moves were for the conference AT THE TIME she was asked?
Besides, it's not Folt's job to protect all these other schools that aren't bringing in revenue that gives her own school the proper amount of revenue that they have been chipping in back.
Remember when the Pac-12 did absolutely nothing when USC was hit with the Death Penalty for Reggie Bush taking money TO LEAVE the school? They allowed it to happen with ZERO pushback whatsoever, despite the investigation proving that Bush did NOT take money to COME TO USC, but to LEAVE.
Why should USC be held to the standard that they need to be looking out for everyone over themselves, when everyone else sat back and laughed when USC was severely punished, despite the investigation finding that Bush/USC didn't even do anything wrong?
Look, it's easy to understand why these Pac-12 fans are angry in general. They've been praying on SC's downfall since Day 1, only for SC to follow up their worst year in program history by hiring a top five head coach in America, having the most unique offseason in college football history, and already surviving realignment.
They swore USC was "irrelevant," only for the Big Ten to take them, and pass up on all their schools. Even if they eventually get accepted into the Big Ten, they were told they were not the priority over the second-best college football program of all time. That probably hurts.
Directing anger at USC's president, however, over their own schools is baffling. They should be focusing on their own faults that they have in not building their own programs to survive realignment the way USC has, or building their own programs to where the Pac wouldn't have to be shaken up at all.
The 11 other teams in the Pac other than USC combine for 11 football championships. USC alone has 11. It's not USC's fault that these schools aren't good enough to have a viable conference right now.
All these fans swore that USC wasn't making enough money and weren't as healthy as they were before because they weren't good enough at football. It's time they keep the same energy when discussing their own programs.