Announcer Rich Burk in a Pacific University profile. Announcer Rich Burk in a Pacific University profile. (

There are quite a few sports media members who have complained about increased transfers in college sports in general over the past few years following loosened NCAA rules there. A smaller, but still notable, group there has complained about individual players’ transfers. But some of the most remarkable transfer commentary in a while comes from play-by-play announcer Rich Burk, with him not only blasting transferring Oregon State Beavers women’s basketball players he had covered, but tagging them personally in the process.

Burk has called a variety of games across sports for the Pac-12 Networks since 2012, and previously voiced some Pac-12 coverage on Root Sports. He’s also called swimming, diving, and other events for NBC Olympics coverage and ESPN, and calls high-A baseball for the Hillsboro Hops. But it’s his Pac-12 experience that’s particularly notable here, as he used that as the launching pad for a nine-tweet rant on Friday about the players leaving the Beavers this spring, tagging those players’ Twitter/X accounts in the process:

Those kinds of complaints about transferring players and suggestions that they don’t know what they’re doing have certainly been seen on message boards from a lot of rabid fans of particular schools. Some of them have been seen on social media as well, and that’s sometimes included tags of players.

But it’s quite rare to see that from a long-established professional media member, and perhaps even more so from a play-by-play announcer who’s regularly called the team’s games. Play-by-play doesn’t usually include this level of extremely personal criticism, including suggestions that the decision to transfer “doesn’t make sense” (as if these players can’t conclude for themselves if it does or not) without massive paydays elsewhere. And Burk’s commentary here drew a lot of blowback for him. Here’s some of that:

Burk is certainly entitled to his opinions. But others are entitled to criticize them, too. At the very least, this is extremely unusual behavior for a play-by-play announcer.

Burk certainly can believe that there would be huge benefits for these players from staying at Oregon State. But there are significant factors impacting the Beavers, including the exits we’ve already seen, their upcoming conference change (to an independent Pac-2 with a scheduling alliance with the Mountain West), and the future uncertainty there. (Also, they don’t currently have a media rights deal despite some interest, their network in its current form is going away, and there are big questions on how many network employees will be retained to do just Oregon State and Washington State content.)

Beyond that, Burk doesn’t offer much evidence to support his “I believe you would never regret changing your minds and staying” position.  And his belief isn’t exactly bankable for these athletes if they made that decision and it didn’t work out. He can certainly advocate for them to stay, but he’s not making a great case for why they should beyond his discussion of “loyalty” (which often is not tangibly rewarded).

Burk’s critics also make a good point that many coaches and executives have recently moved on from Oregon State and Washington State around the uncertain future of the Pac-2, and most of those departures haven’t seen this level of criticism.  And they particularly haven’t seen this level of suggestion that it “doesn’t make sense” for them to leave. So it’s certainly curious to see Burk single out these women’s basketball players this way, and to do so in an extremely public Twitter thread tagging them.

[Rich Burk on Twitter/X; image from a video in a profile his alma mater, Pacific University, did on him]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.