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Like it or not, college football isn’t the same as it used to be.
NIL deals, sponsorships and big-money TV contracts have turned our sacred Saturdays into a corporate cash cow. And truthfully, it was probably unavoidable.
But amid the dismantling of the Pac-12 Conference this week, Washington State head football coach Jake Dickert wondered aloud if all this money might be ruining the sport completely.
“It’s one of those things, guys, that we have to control what we control,” Dickert said regarding the state of the Pac-12. “It’s amazing to me. The old question is, how long would it take TV money to destroy college football? Maybe we’re here. Maybe we’re here.”
Dickert’s comments come amid several Pac-12 teams jumping ship for other conferences.
Colorado is headed to the Big 12. USC and UCLA announced a move to the Big Ten.
On Friday night, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah all joined the Big 12. Also on Friday, Oregon and Washington finalized a deal to join the Big Ten beginning in the 2024-25 season.
Now, the Pac-12 Conference is functionally dead — with just Washington State, Cal, Stanford and Oregon State stuck in limbo.
“To think even remotely five years ago that the Pac-12 would be in this position, it’s unthinkable to think that we’re here today,” Dickert said. “And to think that local rivalries are at risk, and fans driving four hours to watch their team in a road game rivalry is at risk, to me is unbelievable.”
Dickert wanted the Pac-12 schools to stick together. But in the modern era of college sports, it’s money over loyalty.
“At the end of the day, we’ll look back at college football in 20 years and be like ‘what are we doing?'” Dickert said.