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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

A Grip on Sports: It’s too bad dollar signs have blinded so many in college athletics to their hypocrisy

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The audacity of some folks never ceases to perplex us. How the heck can any of the 10 departing Pac-12 schools, with a straight face, purport to believe they have a say in what happens to the conference as they walk out the door? After all, they all agreed, every one of them, that wasn’t the case.


• If there is anything that is being revealed in the cutthroat world of college athletics – read, college football – realignment, it is the powers that be in the academic world are just as greedy, just as self-centered, just as untruthful as any reviled entity in our nation.

The wolves of Wall Street, the two-faced hucksters in Washington, the three-card Montys in Time Square have nothing on some college presidents, chancellors and bursars.

And to think, we once believed “Animal House’s” Dean Wormer was an over-the-top caricature. Little did we know he was a template.

Our bile is directed down that path today due to the direction Washington State and Oregon State have been forced to take recently.

We’re sure no one in Pullman and Corvallis wanted to reveal how duplicitous their soon-to-be former colleagues can be, but here we are. The two schools, fighting for their athletic future, are making a case for a summary judgement in their lawsuit with the other schools. And all the Northwest duo is using is the schools’ words and actions over the past year or so.

The summary is simple. The Pac-12 has been falling apart since the summer of 2022. First USC and UCLA left. Much more recently, Colorado departed. Then Oregon and Washington. The mountain schools. And throughout the process, everyone remaining agreed the conference’s bylaws meant the schools leaving no longer had representation on the board. Until Cal and Stanford bailed, leaving WSU and OSU alone.

Odd, isn’t it? Everyone, including the commissioner, George Kliavkoff, had one stance while the conference still contained two California schools, and then it all changed once the Bay Area became a suburb of Raleigh-Durham.

At stake is, supposedly, millions of dollars. And therein lies the rub.

The pursuit of money is at the root of all evil. At least this evil.

Washington State and Oregon State filed documents yesterday which included evidence of everything from meek acquiescence of the inevitable from USC and UCLA to a Kliavkoff text message to sports columnist John Canzano. Every bit of data corroborates their position – as could be expected, as they are trying to make their case – every school knew that once they announced they were leaving, they no longer could be part of the decision-making process. Expected, yes. But also damning.

Heck, we thought USC’s run defense was leaky. The Trojans’ D has nothing on what they and their nine colleagues are presenting in this regard.

The simple fact is any judge with a modicum of common sense, or a sense of justice, will look at the facts, weigh the evidence, evaluate past actions and probably start laughing. Or get really angry.

Either way, a decision shouldn’t be hard.

Even if you feel it’s unfair Washington State and Oregon State should have control over the Pac-12 decision-making process now, that whatever funds are available were earned by the dozen members together, it’s impossible to deny the past precedent they all agreed upon. The schools leaving don’t have a say. Even if that’s 83% percent of the original group.

It’s what they signed up for, what they enforced, what they knew would happen.

Now they want to change it all. The cheekiness is astounding. Not surprising, sure, but cheeky nonetheless.

All we can do in response is paraphrase the aforementioned Dean Wormer, as his world fell apart around him.

We hate those guys.


WSU: Just when Washington State was moving toward running the ball more to take the pressure off Cameron Ward, the running back room is decimated. First came a dismissal. Now backup Dylan Paine has a high ankle sprain. Which means Nakia Watson’s backups will be two freshmen, only one of the redshirt variety. Greg Woods has both those stories. … We linked Matt Calkins’ column yesterday in the Times. It ran in the S-R this morning. … We linked Jon Wilner’s report on the court filings yesterday above. Here it is again, as well as a column by Canzano and a story in The Athletic. … Arizona State has a Texas transfer that has helped its pass rush. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and the nation, Wilner also has his picks for the week in the Mercury News. Some national folks make picks as well, including the key Pac-12 games this week. … A walk-on may have saved the season for Washington. … There is only one savior at Utah. That’s the head coach. Well, two. That title might apply to the conference’s newest two-way sensation. … Dan Lanning’s Ducks are trying to prepare for anything the Utes may throw at them. … Oregon State has never had an offensive lineman taken in the first round of the NFL draft. That could change. … It’s not only Cal’s fan who are upset with how the season is going. So is the head coach. … On the other hand, Colorado is focusing on the positives as it gets ready for its visit to UCLA. … USC isn’t about to roll over. … There is a slight connection between Arizona and the Michigan staffer in the middle of a sign-stealing investigation. … In basketball news, Utah is ready to show what it is capable of this season. … The Oregon women will play WSU next season.

Gonzaga: As we’ve said before, it’s awards season, preseason version. Anton Watson is on the Julius Erving watch list, as the best small forward. Jim Meehan has that story. … Three GU women are on the watch list for the player of the year, which is unprecedented in school – and national – history. Greg Lee has that story. … There is more, though, as Jim has a story on a highly sought-after recruit deciding to go somewhere else. Asa Newell’s decision to attend Georgia was expected.

EWU: The Eastern run defense better be ready this Saturday. Portland State loves to run the ball and run it over and over. Dan Thompson has this look at the challenge the Eagles face. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, Montana returns from a bye week to play winless Northern Colorado. … Idaho State will try to continue its roll against Sacramento State.

Preps: It’s a pivotal weekend in high school football. The final one of Washington’s regular season. Dave Nichols examines the games ahead. … Dave also has a roundup of Wednesday’s action. … Greg Lee’s notebook looks at the district cross country races this week.

Seahawks: With Uchenna Nwosu out for the season, it looks as if the Hawks will re-sign veteran Frank Clark. Wonder if he has a few sacks left in him? We do too. … DK Metcalf should play this week.

Mariners: The World Series starts tomorrow. The teams representing the American and National leagues have something in common, according to Larry Stone. They show M’s fans what they are missing from the team’s front office. … Howie Stalwick delves into the Spokane connections with this Series as well as historically.


• Ya, we know. Money. But shouldn’t someone, somewhere have said in the halls of West Coast academia pointed out the hypocrisy of changing tunes in the middle of the realignment dance? Or is hypocrisy not a worry for anyone anymore? Wait, we answered our own question. Sorry. Until later …