Let's be very clear at the outset: George Kliavkoff is a public figure and a man who is trying to keep the Pac-12 alive and together. He is fighting for his conference's survival, which is tied to his own job's survival. He has a very specific set of interests here.
He obviously isn't going to let USC and UCLA go to the Big Ten without putting up a fight, or at least, giving the appearance that he's mad about it. Of course this is the posture he should take.
Kliavkoff did a reasonably good job of trying to accommodate USC when the Trojans were still in the conference and had not made their fateful decision to move to the Big Ten. He wasn't perfect, but Kliavkoff - in one year - did more than Larry Scott ever did in over a decade as Pac-12 commish.
Now that USC is headed to the Big Ten, Kliavkoff can't - and frankly, shouldn't - just shrug if off as though it never happened. He has to play politics and show to the 10 remaining member schools in the Pac that he's upset. Therefore, he said at Pac-12 media day that USC and UCLA will regret moving to the Big Ten.
Surely Kliavkoff doesn't inwardly think USC will regret the move. The Trojans are making tons of dollars in this deal. However, the UCLA side is where Kliavkoff could have a point. The Bruins are being pushed by the UC Board of Regents. Their exit is being made very uncomfortable. The Bruins might actually feel pain in this process.
That's where we get back to Kliavkoff's remark. Did he include USC just because he wanted UCLA to feel even more pain, or was he really serious in thinking USC might one day regret this move? It seems clear he was playing politics rather than offering a fully candid view of the situation. Anything he can say to make UCLA feel even more unsettled is a way to leverage the situation such that UCLA might have second thoughts about leaving.
USC is gone, but maybe he can persuade UCLA to reconsider. That's probably what's going on here. We discussed this with Mark Rogers at The Voice of College Football.
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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire