Phil Knight may be the co-founder of Nike and have a net worth of $40 billion, but that doesn’t mean he’s below picking up the phone and making desperate calls on Oregon’s behalf.
It’s no secret that with USC and UCLA set to bolt from the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten, the conference will lose most of its firepower.
Not only do the Trojans and Bruins represent two of the most recognizable brands in all of college athletics, they also dominate the Los Angeles market. Losing both of those things is not a good thing for the Pac-12 and Knight, just like everyone else, sees the writing on the wall for the conference.
This latest round of conference realignment has left Oregon in a bad spot. The Ducks are a prominent brand in college athletics and have had far more success on the football field in recent years than USC and UCLA. Nevertheless, Oregon has been left in the dust for the time being looking for a new home.
It’s clear, at least at this moment in time, that the Big Ten or SEC don’t see Oregon as a fit. From Oregon’s perspective, the Ducks don’t see a makeshift Pac-12 or Big 12 as a viable option either.
This is where a desperate Knight making some simple phone calls enters the equation.
Phil Knight Wants Oregon Out Of The Pac-12 ASAP
Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reports that Knight has been cold-calling other conferences to find Oregon a new home. Specifically, Knight reportedly wants to see Oregon land in the SEC or Big Ten.
“Knight has been reduced to cold-calling telemarketer. And that’s a sad situation,” writes Dodd.
“The true impact of this latest round of conference realignment is the image of one of the world’s most powerful sports figures ‘working the phones.’ That’s how one source this week described Phil Knight’s level of desperation.”
It’s quite the picture imagining an 84-year-old Knight worth $40 billion working his contacts to try and find the Ducks a new conference to play in, but that’s the reality of college athletics at the moment.