George Kliavkoff was in attendance for Washington’s Sugar Bowl victory on Monday night, and he told reporters after the game it was a surreal feeling to see the Huskies win and advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The leader of a soon-to-be-defunct conference, Kliavkoff also made sure to take a parting shot at several of the schools who decided to bolt.

“Happy for the kids. They don’t deserve all the nonsense going on around them,” he said, per Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger. “We were focused on rebuilding football. Took 2.5 years. I wish it would have happened quicker. If some of our schools would have been a little more patient, it would have paid off.”

Kliavkoff also told 247Sports it was “upsetting that some of our schools weren’t more patient because if they saw what we were building it would have paid off.”

USC and UCLA announced their decision to leave the Pac-12 in the summer of 2022. Over the next year, there was intense speculation and a white-hot spotlight on the media rights negotiations taking place between the Pac-12 and TV network partners.

Kliavkoff and other Pac-12 officials expressed optimism that a deal was coming, but that deal looked more and more like a moving target with each passing month. Perceived windows passed with no new information. Meetings came and went without numbers being presented to the CEO group. When Kliavkoff reportedly represented a streamy-only deal with Apple TV to Pac-12 presidents, pessimism about the viability of the league started to prevail.

Colorado announced six days after the conference’s media day it was joining the Big Ten. On Aug. 4, Oregon and Washington announced moves to the Big Ten, which prompted Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah to finalize moves to the Big 12. When Cal and Stanford agreed to join the ACC, the collapse of the 108-year-old conference was complete.

Kliavkoff’s role throughout has been heavily scrutinized, as has his leadership.

Washington’s Sugar Bowl win ensured the conference would have one final football game and a chance at its first national championship of the CFP era.