Larry Scott Feels There Is A “Good Buzz” About The PAC-12, Feels USC’s Suspensions Have Not Damaged The Conferences ReputationAugust 1, 2011 – 9:00 am by Steven Cuce
Life couldn’t be better for Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott these days. Scott took over as the PAC-10 commissioner on July 1st of 2009 and has done some job over the last two years. He made big-time headlines in the summer of 2010, trying to expand the conference into 16 teams going after many of the top teams in the Big-12 Conference. Instead he was able to add Utah and Colorado expanding the conference to 12 teams just in time as the television contract was expiring. The PAC-12 ended up signing a 12-year, $3-billion dollar deal with ESPN and FOX, which Scott claims positioned the conference very “well” for the future.
There seems to major buzz in the air this year as the PAC-12 will play its first ever conference championship game after adding two teams to make a North and South division. Although a dark cloud looms over Oregon for a potential recruiting scandal and USC over vacated National Championships along with senior Marc Tyler being suspended for saying he was being paid to play football at school, Larry Scott feels the PAC-12 hasn’t taken a major hit in the public eye. From the sound of it the college football world out West is doing quite well to start off the pre-season as the PAC-12 commissioner looks to cash in a lucrative television contract.
PAC-12 Commissioner Larry Scott joined XTRA 1360 in San Diego with The Drive to discuss the anticipation for the first season of PAC-12 conference play, more expansion in the future for the PAC-12, the PAC-12 being a more prestigious conference now with the addition of two new teams, USC’s bowl suspension hurting the PAC-12 conference and his support for a new playoff system in college football.
Give us the anticipation going from the Pac-10 to the Pac-12? Is this the moment you have been waiting for?
“Yeah very exciting. We were just had our media days in Los Angeles and the East Coast. A lot of excitement about all that is new with the addition of the two teams. The fact that we will be in North and South divisions for the first time playing for the first time ever the PAC-12 football championship game on the heels of a new broadcast agreement. There is a good buzz about the conference this year.”
It’s Utah and Colorado, but are you done now? Do you believe there will be more expansion in the PAC-12 in the future?
“I believe there will be expansion long term again. College sports is still so fragmented. I believe it will make sense for there to be fewer big conferences at some stage, but I don’t know when that might happen again. Right now we are very happy with the 12 team conference we have. We filled our media rights on that basis and we positioned ourself very well for the future.”
The PAC-10 had always been considered a strong conference of very respected teams. Does the addition of these two teams make the PAC-12 conference more prestigious?
“Not really. The Pac-10 has always been considered one of the most prestigious conferences out there, so when you look at the record of our teams we have stacked up favorably to every other conference out there, so I think it further…these media agreements will further the exposure we are getting. I think there will be more national respected attention for what is going in the conference.”
Do you feel like USC being down and banned from going to a bowl game has been hurting and damaging the conference right now?
“Well it’s hard to measure, but USC is an iconic program. It has been the most successful over the last decade, so you never like to see that. It certainly does hurt, but it is very hard to quantify and we certainly just come off a very successful run in terms of negotiating TV deals and all that, so I do not think it has hurt the long term value.”
Outside of the PAC-12 are you okay with the current playoff system for college football?
“Well we are locked into a four-year arrangement right now. Over the next 18 months we will start discussing the future, but our conference has traditionally supported the current structure in terms of preserving the value of the Rose Bowl, which has been very important to this conference and also in terms of the value of regular season college football that we have benefited from with the recent TV deal that we negotiated, so traditionally the conference has been a big supporter of the current system because we think it serves the conference and its members well. There will be a fresh discussion about it in 18 months.”
Is a new playoff system for college football something that is always on your mind?
“Yes I always think it is on everyones mind thinking is there a better mousetrap? But it’s all speculation at this point.”