Oregon Ducks AD Rob Mullens ‘more confident than ever’ in Pac-12′s pursuit of new media rights deal

By James Crepea
Consider the Oregon Ducks committed to the Pac-12′s future.
Amid a year of uncertainty and rumor for the conference, which is losing UCLA and USC to the Big Ten on Aug. 2, 2024 and been in ongoing negotiations for a new media rights deal for the last 13 months, the Pac-12 projected a stance of solidarity during its annual football media day.
Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff once again said, “Our schools are committed to each other and to the Pac-12” and multiple athletic directors expressed their conviction in the league’s ability to secure a new deal that will solidify its near-term future.
“The macroeconomic conditions have improved,” Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said. “There are more people at the table, as you heard George say, so that’s why I’m more confident than ever. There’s a lot of interested parties for all the right reasons. Now I think we’re closer than ever and I think we’re really close.”
It’s a similar position to what Mullens stated during the league’s spring meetings in May, when he said UO was going to “end in the right place.”
Oregon remains one of the most valuable remaining schools in the league, if not the most valuable. But securing a spot elsewhere, namely the Big Ten, has proven difficult due to the additional value required for teams wishing to join that conference.
Mullens said it remains Oregon’s best option to stay in the Pac-12 going forward because of traditional rivalries, recruiting footprint, alumni footprint and a postseason opportunities.
“It’s a path that we’ve proven can get us to the playoff and in an expanded playoff I think that path is even enhanced,” Mullens said.
To that end, the recruiting impact on the Pac-12 of the Los Angeles schools leaving for the Big Ten has yet to be totally felt, in part because of the uncertainty of conference realignment.
Oregon coach Dan Lanning said his program has and will continue to recruit well regardless of the league’s future composition, whether it be 10 teams or expanded to return to 12 teams.
The Pac-12 has also maintained a preference for its next media deal and corresponding grant of rights, which has already been negotiated, to be for a comparatively shorter term, perhaps five to seven years, rather than as long as its current deal.
Depending on the term of the conference’s new deal, schools wishing to weigh other options for conference realignment in the future could have a harder time if there is a significant gap before another conference could possibly add new members.
Mullens said the possibility of future realignment “does not play into my interest in the term” of a media deal.
“What my interest in a term is getting back in the marketplace and because the market is proven to continue to grow,” Mullens said. “We’re proud members. The Pac-12 has been great for the University of Oregon and we’re excited to close out a new deal and move forward.”

Players mentioned in this article

Allan George

Isaiah Mullens

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