With all the decisions that came down today, there were some clear winners and losers. Whether it was revenue sharing or divisional alignment, some schools came out on top, while others likely felt shafted by the decisions.
Washington State: The school with the smallest athletic budget in the conference will see an immediate impact from equal revenue sharing. Without a large TV market and -- in recent years -- a marketable product, Washington State was the low man on the totem pole. Not anymore. The Cougs will now get the same share as USC -- the big dog in the old revenue sharing system.
Utah: While they won't be a full-share partner for three years, Utah moves from Mountain West money to Pac-10 money. Even with the current TV contract, Utah will still be ahead of the television money they pulled in while members of the MWC. With a new TV contract and the eventual full-share they'll pull in, the Utah athletic department should see a gigantic financial windfall from the move.
Colorado: As the Big XII (minus two) pays off Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma, Colorado is sneaking out the door and joining the happy oasis that is the new Pac-12. The Buffs enter as a full-share partner right away and are in line for a huge payday with the new TV contract. Be an equal member of a conference of on the upswing or a second-class citizen in a conference about to explode? Point, Colorado.
USC and UCLA: Without paying attention, you'd think USC and UCLA won. After all, they're going to get a $2 million subsidy, right? No, not quite. The $2 million payoff only kicks in if the revenue of the TV contract comes in below $170 million per year. Larry Scott set the number knowing full well -- in my opinion -- that he could exceed that number. Instead of pacing the rest of the conference in television revenue, the Southern California schools will be equals. For USC, that means losing their $8 million gap between themselves and the lowest revenue earning team in the conference.
Divisions and Scheduling
USC, UCLA, California and Stanford: All four California schools won a major concession in getting the "Weekender" games guaranteed each year. The inter-divisional games will be hard-slotted, ensuring that the California schools maintaining their rivalries.
Colorado and Utah: The newbies hop straight into the South with both Southern California schools. They get immediate access to the fertile recruiting grounds of California and end up big winners because of it. Utah also looks like a strong contender for the division championship in 2011.
Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State: The four Northwest schools will play either UCLA or USC each year and will travel to Los Angeles every other year, but the rate of play is much less than it is now. For schools that rely on Southern California, it could be a big blow. Or, if you're of the opinion I am about how this effects recruiting, it could be negligible. Either way, the perception is there.
It's apparent right away that schools were making concessions for the greater good. While the Northwest schools made scheduling concessions for equal revenue sharing, the Southern California schools traded money for rivalries. The entire conference -- all 12 members -- played a game of give-and-take during negotiations. The end result is a conference that came together for a greater good.
Your biggest winner of the day is the entire Pac-12 conference and commissioner Larry Scott for putting this all together. The athletic directors, presidents and chancellors all deserve praise for working together to solve the issues that go along with expansion.