The late Texas crooner Dan Seals once wrote a song entitled “Everything That Glitters Is Not Gold.” 

The Pac-12 Conference is finding out just how true that can be as negotiations for a media contract drag into spring and could linger into summer.

And may take even longer, considering the predictions made by some league presidents that a pact was near clear back in February.

Locally, folks can be grateful University of Utah president Taylor Randall gave more reasonable expectations recently when he explained a new league media deal will take time and patience.

“I think we’re in a good spot. I like what I’m hearing coming out of our commissioner’s office and where the negotiations are. We’ve still got a ways to go. But I think you’ve got some solidarity with the remaining schools and in the presidents’ room in particular,” Randall explained during an interview on ESPN 700 radio in Salt Lake City in late March.

That was three weeks ago.

West Coast-based national college football editor Stewart Mandel of The Athletic cautioned that Pac-12 presidents who publicly declared a late March or mid-April completion date were a little antsy and optimistic. 

The latest developments include multisourced reports from Mandel and others that the Pac-12 is looking at the CW Network as a home for the league’s football games, along with the announcement that the second-in-command in the league office is leaving.

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The CW news immediately brought mockery on social media because of that network’s lineup of shows, which include “Gilmore Girls,” “Gossip Girls” and a stash of DC Comic franchises. CW has no facilities to produce football games, but does air LIV Golf events. 

Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand on Monday discounted talk that CW is going to be the league’s media mule:

Wrote Ourand, “Last week, The Athletic reported that The CW emerged as a new potential partner for the Pac-12. Sources told me that CW reps did hold initial talks with the conference, but those talks never got serious. The Pac-12 expects to wind up with deals that combine traditional TV with streaming. But there’s little chance that The CW will end up with those rights, sources said.”

A few days after The Athletic announced Pac-12 negotiations with CW,  the league had a reputable, well-liked and respected administrator announce he was leaving his home state of California for a new job in Texas in a communications company.

On Monday, Deputy Pac-12 commissioner Jamie Zaninovich said it “Now feels like the right time” to examine other career paths.  

Zaninovich, who joined the Pac-12 as chief assistant to Larry Scott and then George Kliavkoff in 2014 from his post as the commissioner of the WCC, was once considered a top candidate for commissioner of the Big 12 when Bob Bowlsby retired, although the league later hired current commissioner Brett Yormark.

The Zaninovich departure is huge.

He was the link between the Larry Scott and Kliavkoff eras.

He was one of the league’s chief negotiators with the long-sought media renewal deal. He was also the Pac-12 chief operations officer. 

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Zaninovich said one of his new duties at his new gig at global communications agency TrailRunner would be to consult with the Pac-12 on the ongoing media negotiations.

His last day in the Pac-12 is Friday.

He was a graduate of Stanford and lived most of his life in California.

It’s easy to read too much into the departure of Zaninovich.  

Or is it?

When hearing the news, it brought to mind the lyrics of that Seals song of glitter and gold.

In defense of what the Pac 12 is doing, Spencer McLaughlin of the “Locked on Pac-12” podcast, said it is his opinion that the league is sending a message. 

McLaughlin said league presidents and athletic directors couldn’t care less what folks in the media, including Mandel, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, or Oregon-based Pac-12 loyalist John Canzano, are opining about. “They simply don’t care,” said McLaughlin. “If they cared, they would have taken any deal they could get.”

But he admitted it seems the league is “kicking the can down the road” as far as a timeline that is frustrating many Pac-12 fans.

In the meantime, Pac-12 loyalists are adamant that this is going to work out. If later, fine, just get it done. League presidents were to meet April 10 and very well could be in the final stages. Oregon and Washington may be waiting for a new Big Ten commissioner to be named to see if he had expansion ideas similar to the previous leader Kevin Warren. 

Or it could be that a deal has been practically done and one or two presidents held things up by saying it wasn’t good enough — go back to the drawing board and fix it. CW has potential as a college football carrier because it’s available on DirecTV and Dish Network, as well as many other platforms throughout the country. 

Also, June 30 is a hard deadline for San Diego State because that is the last day SDSU can notify the Mountain West it is leaving to avoid paying a penalty for taking its media rights elsewhere. SDSU administrators have publicly said they are Pac-12-bound.  

There are folks out there that believe that the length of the Pac-12 negotiation, and the disappointment in some figures shared to presidents, will lead to defections and one of the first could be the University of Colorado. 

So, as the Pac-12 saga continues, so does the scrutiny. Derek Duke of Heartland Sports has been keeping receipts on claims by Pac-12 voices, be it media or administrators. He claims in a tweet the Pac-12 has been wrong on everything declared publicly the past eight months.

If you follow the thread in his tweet, he has quite a collection. 

The league could certainly use some glitter that really leads to some gold very soon.

A ref runs past the Pac-12 logo at Sun Devil Stadium Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. The question is, is time running out on the Pac-12 when it comes to landing a new media rights deal. | Ralph Freso, Associated Press