USC athletic director Mike Bohn said this week, “all options are the table” when asked if the Trojans would consider leaving the Pac-12 in an interview with the USC 247Sports site.
I view this as a way to gain leverage more than any serious consideration to leave the Pac-12, despite the incompetence of Larry Scott and lagging TV deals.
This will be hard for some fans to believe, but the USC administration actually cares about the academic reputation of the schools in its conference. It’s one reason USC and other Pac-12 schools opposed the idea of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State moving into the Pac-12 a few years ago. They didn’t bring the academic gravitas the Pac-12 believes it has with Stanford, the UC schools, USC, Washington and even Arizona, which has a medical school.
Let’s say USC goes independent for football, where do all the other sports go? The Mountain West? The West Coast? The WAC? All our less prestigious and bring in less money than the Pac-12.
You think USC will go to the Big 12?
I can’t imagine Carol Folt thinks its a good idea for basketball and volleyball players to travel all the way to West Virginia and Iowa State for conference games.
But let’s pretend USC would go independent in football. Just how attractive are the Trojans to a major broadcast network? USC is not Notre Dame nationally, especially after the past few years of underachievement. USC might have been able to do something in the 1970’s when its brand was a lot higher but the Trojans are not even a marquee program right now.
And who would USC play? The Pac-12 schools would have to have short memories to continue to play the Trojans.
Also remember, Folt would make the decision about leaving the Pac-12, not Bohn. They didn’t exactly handle the retention of Clay Helton too well and you think they want to handle leaving the Pac-12?
If you want to see a power move, USC president John Hubbard was so mad about resistance from Stanford and Washington to accept Arizona and Arizona State as new members of the conference, he threatened to immediately leave the Pac-8 in 1976. The threat worked because Stanford/Washington reversed course and decided to accept the Arizona schools.
Was Hubbard bluffing? Probably. But he got what he wanted.
USC might need to make veiled threats today but probably just to get a bigger piece of the TV revenue.