COMMENTARY: Why Pac-10 expansion hurts OSU

TALK OF PAC-10 expansion has been all the rage since commissioner Larry Scott called for "serious analysis and serious conversations" on the topic over the next 6-12 months. But while there are pluses to a possible widening of the conference, there are also big drawbacks for a school like Oregon State. And they are too big a price to pay.

Most of the ideas being floated around call for a 12-team conference, split into North and South divisions. And with a finite number of in-conference games to be played, that means there will be years when Oregon State wouldn't play one of the California schools.

Some years, it could even be two.

And that is a big, big blow to Oregon State and the Northwest schools.


CALIFORNIA IS THE lifeblood of Oregon State recruiting. And in the lengthy process of landing a prospect, there is no bigger exposure for a school like Oregon State when they play a team from their backyard -- both home and on the road.

Anything that distances Oregon State from the Golden State in terms of recruiting -- and expansion does that -- hurts the Beavers. Considerably so.

Say goodbye to Bay Area exposure you enjoy now, Beaver fans. Give a big wave to the Los Angeles area while you're at it.

Oregon State currently plays every team in the conference and it also means a game in both the Bay Area and Los Angeles every year. And California parents sign off on their sons going out of state to Oregon State knowing they can see them play in person with less travel involved than a trip up to Corvallis.

That recruiting selling chip goes away with expansion. The two teams that would be added to the conference would not come from California. The most viable schools, given the Pac-10's criteria, are Colorado and Utah. Both are ancillary recruiting areas at best.

TAKE AWAY Oregon State's victory over USC in 2006 and substitute with a win over, say, Colorado. Do Cameron Collins and Lance Mitchell still sign with Oregon State? And then remove the Beaver win over USC in 2008 and replace it with a win over, say, Utah. Does Michael Philipp still go black and orange?

There is no question the Pac-10 needs to increase the conference's revenue streams and exposure. Expanding to 12 teams and playing a conference championship game isn't the way to do it.

OSU and the Northwest schools would actually get less exposure under expansion, and the California schools would get more. The Northwest schools, including Oregon State, would suffer and the California schools would get stronger.

Find another way, Mr. Scott.

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