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Tako Tuesdays: An Open Letter to the Pac-12 Network

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I don't ask for much. But I ask for this, because we need it. We need it now.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

To Whom it May Concern at the Pac-12 Network,

Let me first preface this by saying that I enjoy your product immensely. As a resident of California, I appreciate the access to Oregon sports that I would have otherwise missed, be it baseball, softball, volleyball, or otherwise. The brazen commitment to non-revenue sports considering they're just as non-revenue for you as they are for the schools that fund them is commendable. I love that not only do you continue to keep Rick Neuheisel far, far away from a football field, but you have him as the amiable and delightful center of your football analysis. His "Under Center" series talking to Pac-12 quarterbacks was wonderful, and he isn't coaching football. This is two wins with one move, a stroke of genius. You also gave Nick Aliotti a job talking football, and it makes me smile every time I see him on TV. I have no doubt that he's a terror around the office, cursing like a sailor around visiting children on studio tours and giving Mike Yam atomic wedgies whenever he gets the chance. But he's yours now, and you seem to be enjoying his antics. And you're paying the dozen schools under your umbrella handsomely for the inconvenience of each playing at 7:30 Pacific time on a Friday night twice a season. I like money. Money is good. It buys things, like 3-ply toilet paper for the practice facility bathrooms. The last thing anyone needs is Sefo Liufau or Cyler Miles leaving practice with a chafed butt. I've never experienced Cody Kessler walking around bowlegged with an uncomfortable backside due to subpar toilet tissue, but I can't imagine it's pleasant. You've helped us all avoid this kind of encounter. So it seems rude to ask for anything more. But here I am, asking for this one thing, and one thing only.

Give us our fan-created YouTube highlight videos back.

Despite all the beautiful things you have given us, your embargo on "unauthorized" YouTube videos created by enterprising, tech-savvy, and passionate sports fans has created a stranglehold on access to highlight reels, must-have replays, and anything using the Foo Fighters "Hero" as a soundtrack. Before the Pac-12 Network, it was easy for Oregon fans to find the touchdown, interception, or one-handed catch they were looking for. But this season, perhaps the greatest season in Oregon football history, the highlights, after what little scraps Fox Sports and ESPN throw us, are pathetic. Sure, you can find Byron Marshall's TD in the national championship game, filmed on a zoomed-in iPhone by a guy standing five inches from his television. And you can find Darren Carrington's remarkable catch from the Colorado game, filmed from the opposite 15 yard line by the SportsChat503 guys. And you can watch eight and a half minutes of highlights from the Michigan State game, courtesy of a presumably-drunk guy wobbly holding his phone in front of a hotel room TV. This is what we're reduced to. This is no way to live, not in the 21st century. Cars can drive themselves, plans are in the works to go to Mars, you can create a fake version of your own penis, but a decent citizen can't post a clip of Thomas Tyner spinning around poor saps from Stanford without fear of retribution?

More than anything, I miss my friends, the freedom fighters doing the Lord's work and putting together content that Oregon fans crave. Known angel and saint keeerrrttt has a treasure trove of old Ducks highlights featuring the likes of Romeo Bandison, Cristin McLemore, and Wesley Mallard. Somewhere out there is a young Duck fan with a love of the game and a passion for archiving and curation that rivals this one. This child is missing out on a chance to chase their dreams. You, Pac-12 Network, can give them that chance. Omnipotent demigod madmike1951 was, until this season, THE go-to source of comprehensive game highlights and career retrospectives. His videos have over eight million views. That's over eight million pieces of free marketing for Oregon football and for the Pac-12 conference. But his public service has been silenced by the Pac-12's content monopoly, and the world is a little bit darker because of it. There are countless others out there that are silenced as well. You, Pac-12 Network, have the power to let those voices sing out.

I once started a smoothie stand in my driveway. I ran an extension cord from the garage to the card table I set up next to the street, plugged in the blender, brought down a cooler full of fruit, juice, and Otter Pops, and sold made-to-order smoothies for an entire afternoon. I made like $30. So I completely understand the business end of your decision, Pac-12 Network. You want and need to control the content that you rightly own, to make sure that your brand is preserved. I get it. But the valiant content creators that existed before 2014 weren't trying to damage your brand by posting smear campaigns or troll videos. These were hardworking fans who wanted to use the Web to broadcast their fandom for everyone to see. They deserve a chance to show you that really, they're on your team. They're proud of this conference, and want as many people as possible to see how awesome it is. They agree with you that the SEC is overrated, the Big Ten is outdated fat boy nonsense, and the Big XII is just trying to duplicate the blueprint we started a decade ago. They concur that the west coast is indeed the best coast. Make the right decision, Pac-12 Network. Let your fans loose to create, upload, and share. Set us free.

With love,
Matt Takimoto
University of Oregon (BS, Music), Class of 2010
University of California, Berkeley (MA, Education), Class of 2015
Lifetime Pac-12 Conference Ambassador