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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Pac-12 Commissioner Keeps It Professional, but Pointed, After Defections

LOS ANGELES — When the Pac-12 Conference’s schools congregated Friday at a downtown theater for the summer ritual of football media day — and yes, all the coaches were invited — it carried the air of an awkward family reunion.

Imagine Southern California and U.C.L.A., the West Coast athletic cornerstones that announced a month ago that they would be bolting for the Big Ten, as the ones stepping gingerly through the front door, not sure if they were going to be shunned, given a side eye or offered a limp handshake.

“It feels strangely familiar,” said Lincoln Riley, the new U.S.C. coach, who went through a similarly sticky exercise last summer at Oklahoma, which along with Texas announced it would be jumping to the Southeastern Conference from the Big 12. “There’s been some hard feelings, but everyone has kept it professional.”

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