A JERSEY GUY:  Pac-12 Still Dancing In Dark

Mark Blaudschun

As the country continues to grasp the idea of college sports returning with various restrictions, the college community continues to make plans on how to do that.

Watching it unfold is a fascinating process. 

There are four of the Power 5 conferences and then there is the Pac-12, which continues to march to its own beat.

Again. 

As usual.

Here's the deal with the Pac-12. In the so called "country club'' sports, or those producing little or no revenue, the Pac-12 has been a monster conference, especially over the past 20 years.

Let's take a quick look.

Men's golf--Stanford, 2019 national champion.

Baseball--Oregon 2018 national champion, UCLA 2013 national champion, Arizona 2012 national champion

Rowing--California 2016 national champion

Women's soccer--Stanford defending national champion

Water Polo--Stanford defending national champion

Softball--UCLA defending national champion

Women's Tennis--Stanford defending national champion

Impressive without a doubt, backing up the contention that athletics and academics at Pac-12 schools can meld smoothly,

But then we come to football and men's basketball, the two cash cows for the NCAA and its members.

The last glimpse at a Pac-12 national champion was the USC teams of Pete Carroll, but that was 15 years ago.

Basketball? Not since Arizona won the men's national championship in 1997 has a Pac-12 team cut down the nets at a Final Four.

What makes it even stranger is that the Pac-12 doesn't seem all that bothered by it.

Because of the vagaries of television contracts, Pac-12 teams receive less prime time coverage than any Power 5 conference.

The Pac-12 has joined its Power 5 brethren in starting the process of opening campuses this summer so the football teams can begin conditioning drills.

But they seem, as usual, reluctant participants and may indeed not be up and running in the fall when teams from the SEC, Big 10, Big 12 and ACC are scheduling and anticipate playing games.

The level of frustration among ALL the Power 5 conferences is beginning to overflow and it doesn't take much a leap of faith to project a time when the Power 5 schools pull out of the NCAA completely and form their own organization with their own regulations.

When that time comes, count on the Pac-12 to still follow its own path.

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Mark Blaudschun

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