Pac-12 Softball Players Rip Conference Realignment With Mental Health Concerns; Lane Kiffin, Eli Drinkwitz Agree

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College sports are going to look completely different in 2024 than they do today, and the Pac-12 as we know it is dead. RIP.

USC and UCLA got things started by leaving for the Big Ten. Colorado officially announced that it is departing for the Big 12 at the end of July. The chaos was only getting started!

With the Buffaloes set to roam a conference they once left for the Pac-12 in 2010, other schools within the West Coast-based conference decided to kick the tires about a departure of their own. Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff met with the current institutions last week and proposed a subscription-based media rights deal with AppleTV that proved to be the final nail in the coffin.

At the end of the day, the Big 12, SEC and Big Ten can offer more money than the ACC and Pac-12. That’s why Florida State is trying to leave its conference as well.

For the Pac-12 specifically, Kliavkoff’s proposed plan came in more than $10 million lower in guaranteed money than the other top conferences. It cannot afford to keep its big players.

As a result, Oregon and Washington packed their bags and joined the Big Ten. Not long thereafter, it was formally announced that Arizona, Arizona State and Utah are off to the Big 12.

The decisions came down to money. They always do.

Deion Sanders isn’t afraid to call it how it is. It’s all about money.

Only Oregon State, Washington State, Cal and Stanford are left from the Pac-12. And even that may soon change!

The ACC is throwing around the idea of adding Cal and Stanford.

(It would be way cooler if it was possible for them to join the Ivy league. Stanford vs. Yale? Cal vs. Princeton? Sign me up. Cal vs. Clemson? Stanford vs. N.C. State? Meh.)

Pac-12 athletes are frustrated.

Rather, soon-to-be former Pac-12 athletes are frustrated.

Although the move makes sense for the departing programs in regard to finances, its athletes are not as thrilled with the move. They chose their specific schools for a reason. Some of that is being ripped out from under them, like the ability to play in front of families and friends during regional matchups.

In addition, the travel is going to be a nightmare.

UCLA football is a good example, but it goes beyond the Bruins and the gridiron.

Oregon athletes will have to travel 2460.21 miles to play Rutgers. Etc.

It’s brutal, and a group of softball players at the soon-departing schools are speaking out.

Arizona State utility infielder Shannon Cunningham wants to play close to home.

Oregon infielder Paige Sinicki feels the same.

Her teammate, fifth-year pitcher Morgan Scotty spoke to the toll that conference realignment will play on mental health.

KK Humphreys shared similar sentiments.

Terra McGown, a catcher for the Ducks, shared Missouri head football coach Eli Drinkwitz’s thoughts on how conference realignment will effect programs beyond his own. She said that Drinkwitz is the only one who has the right perspective.

Lane Kiffin echoed Drinkwitz and the athletes.

It’s all just really sad!! So much tradition and rivalries all gone. How are fans and players families in ALL of the sports going to get to these games?? This is good for these student athletes and their mental health?? Anyone ask them??

— Lane Kiffin, via X

He and his staff know a thing or two on the topic.

Whether the athletes are excited by the decisions made by powers that be or not, they have been made. It is done.

It will be interesting to see how these moves effect roster retention and recruiting, especially beyond football. Will the West Coast athletes who want to play in front of their friends and family choose to play for a more local program over one that travels to the Midwest and Northeast every other week?

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.


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  1. Conferences need to be forgotten and go to regions Especailly for the other sports. They sell the lie that the season is the playoffs before the actual playoffs. Then go to regions. Win your region and move on. Nobody cares about tradition and rivalries Unless it makes money. Southeast northeast Midwest etc etc. the big 10 is 18 teams now!?!? Gonna be 20. I don’t get it.

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