College sports are evolving right before our eyes, especially in the college football realm, as the Pac-12 — the “Conference of Champions” — is heading toward extinction.
New York Giants and Notre Dame Fighting Irish legend Justin Tuck, a two-time Super Bowl champion, believes the decimation of the Pac-12 is just the beginning, though.
“I don’t know if it’s necessarily the Pac-12, or if this is the start of what’s ultimately going to happen with football,” Tuck told Fox News Digital at a promotional event on Sunday. “I do think we’re forging a path, if that’s the right phrase, to this super league future with the employment of NIL and so on and so forth. It’s going to start look more and more like professional football.”
CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM
It’s no secret that college football is what drives many college athletic programs, and the main factor behind that is media rights. While it used to be ticket sales and booster donations that drove programs, media corporations have been willing to dump billions in conferences across the country to own the rights to their games.
The games they want are obviously football.
So, when the Pac-12 couldn’t secure a new media rights deal, the conference began to go up in flames.
OREGON STATE’S ‘BEST OPTION’ IS ‘REBUILDING THE PAC-12,’ BEAVERS AD SAYS
“I’m not surprised with what’s happened with the Pac-12,” Tuck added. “You’re going to start to see teams that can start to grab on the coattails of other big leagues that are falling. Obviously, it seems like everyone wants to be in the SEC, etcetera, etcetera. But yeah, I think this is the beginning of what we’re seeing.”
The latest development in the miniscule Pac-12 is California and Stanford, two of the remaining four schools in the conference, wanting to move on. The ACC was the initial destination, but now the Big 12 is involved.
It’s been reported by the San Francisco Chronicle that Cal and Stanford are also considering bringing Washington State and Oregon State, the final two schools left with them in the Pac-12, to the Big 12.
The Big 12 was very active when seeing the opportunity to poach Pac-12 schools, as Colorado, Arizona State, Utah and Arizona will be a part of the Big 12 for next year’s football season.
There was also the big moves by USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington, as they will all be joining the Big Ten for the 2023-24 academic year.
While the Pac-12 didn’t secure a media rights deal to compete with these other conferences, Tuck’s mentioning of NIL, or name, image and likeness, brand deals is huge for recruitment as well. Student-athletes can be financially rewarded now, which means the school’s brand means even more now.
It’s not just about pitching the tradition and win total anymore, which is why Tuck likened it to the NFL. These athletes coming out of high school want the glory of a national title. But they also want to get paid if they can.
It’s a new landscape that everyone in college football is trying to maneuver, but just like anything else in life, one thing is for certain in this ever-changing sports world: Adapt or die.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The Pac-12 doesn’t appear to be doing so, and those that have are taking advantage.
But, to Tuck’s point, could other conferences fall in the future? Could one conference reign supreme one day as a “super league?”
Tuck was on hand at Chelsea Piers on Sunday afternoon, along with Giants running back Saquon Barkley and WNBA legend Rebecca Lobo, to unveil Six Star Pro Nutrition and Kellogg’s partnership that combines breakfast cereal favorites like Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops with SIX STAR 100% Whey Protein Plus, which is “designed to elevate athletes’ performance and support their nutritional needs.”