Utah President Address Media Deal Speculation: ‘Still Got A Ways To Go’

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University of Utah president Taylor Randall might not be sweating a new PAC-12 media deal, but he also recognizes there’s still work to be done.

The PAC-12 continues to do its best to hunt down a new media deal, and the honest reality is nobody knows what is truly happening, other than George Kliavkoff and a small group of people.

There have been conflicting reports across the spectrum, and the latest development was ESPN – a possible major in negotiations – is reportedly not close to striking a deal with the PAC-12.

The University of Utah leader is remaining positive, but has admitted a new deal being hammered out is not close at the moment.

The PAC-12 is trying to reach a new media deal. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

PAC-12 leaders try to remain positive.

“I think we’re in a good spot. I like what I’m hearing coming out of our commissioner’s office and where the negotiations are. We’ve still got a ways to go. But I think you’ve got some solidarity with the remaining schools and in the presidents’ room in particular,” Randall explained during an interview on ESPN 700 radio in Salt Lake City, according to The Athletic.

Randall also took an opportunity to address speculation the conference might collapse. In his mind, that’s not a likely outcome.

“It runs contrary to the discussions I have with our presidents. We love the set of schools and values we bring … I don’t think we see a dire scenario,” Randall explained when talking about speculation the PAC-12 might collapse.

Will the PAC-12 reach a new media deal? (Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images)

The situation remains very murky.

Allow me to inject a great 2002 quote from Donald Rumsfeld into this situation:

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

As wild as it might seem, that quote more or less sums up the situation with the PAC-12. We know a new deal is needed and hasn’t happened. Fans also know that they don’t know what’s truly happening behind closed doors. Lastly, there’s things certainly occurring in negotiations that fans aren’t even aware of, and thus, can’t know they don’t know.

Who would have guessed in 2023 we’d be using that quote from Rumsfeld and applying it to the PAC-12.

Will the PAC-12 be able to reach a new media deal? (Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images)

Randall is far from the only PAC-12 official preaching calm. Arizona president Robert Robbins hinted the PAC-12’s new deal would be better than the Big 12’s. The Big 12 deal pays members roughly $31.7 million annually.

However, right before that, Robbins also claimed teams wouldn’t leave for just a few more million dollars. That seemed to indicate the PAC-12 would fall short of the Big 12. Read into that as much as you’d like.

What we do know is the window for a deal gets smaller and smaller with every passing day. At some point, pens need to be put to paper and something has to be locked up. Otherwise, PAC-12 members will definitely start searching for stability elsewhere. That’s a reality that no amount of words or optimism will be able to change.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.

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