College conference realignment speculation continues to swirl and the Pac-12 Conference is right in the middle of it.
What will the conference do?
The university presidents of the two Pac-12 schools in Arizona could have a major influence on the future of the conference, according to one Pac-12 Insider.
The San Jose Mercury News’ Jon Wilner recently ranked the Pac-12’s remaining university presidents (and chancellors) according to their clout in the conference and Arizona’s Robert C. Robbins and Arizona State’s Michael Crow were ranked among the Top 4 in terms of their influence among the leaders of the 10 remaining universities in the conference.
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Wilner had three categories in his ranking: Degree of influence in the boardroom, level of passion for, and knowledge of, athletics and amount of football strategic leverage.
Robbins was ranked second on Wilner’s list, which he called the “Presidential Power Index.”
The Arizona president was ranked high for boardroom clout and passion level and medium for football leverage.
“Robbins leads all presidents in passion level and has a better grasp of the landscape than most of his peers,” Wilner wrote. “What’s more, Arizona’s leverage is greater than the value of its football program would suggest, particularly if the Wildcats and ASU are, in fact, a two-for-one package … in the Pac-12 or elsewhere.”
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Crow came in fourth on Wilner’s list, with the ASU president being given a medium ranking for boardroom clout, passion level and football leverage.
“Crow should be damaged goods in the boardroom given his steadfast support for Larry Scott and comically misguided faith in the very policies that landed the conference in this position,” Wilner wrote of the Arizona State president. “But don’t presume the other presidents view him that way. Crow isn’t shy about making his opinions known, for better or worse.”
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Oregon’s Michael Schill led Wilner’s ranking, with Washington’s Ana Mari Cauce third and Utah’s Taylor Randall rounding out the Top 5.
ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported Monday that talks to partner between the Big 12 and Pac-12 had ended, perhaps ending one popular rumor about the future of the conference.
The ASU and Arizona presidents could potentially have a big influence on where the conference goes from here, at least according to Wilner.
What will the future hold for the conference and will Robbins and Crow help determine that future?
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Reach Jeremy Cluff at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Pac-12 conference realignment: ASU, Arizona president key to future