Tag:Larry Scott
Posted on: March 3, 2011 1:11 pm

Pac-12 replacing 11 officials

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It doesn't really matter which college football conference you consider yourself a fan of, just about every college football fan has one thing in common: they think the officiating in their conference is terrible. Talk to an SEC fan, he'll tell you the SEC has terrible officials. The same for the Big Ten fan in your life, or the Big 12 fan. Still, if I had to crown one conference as the home of the worst officials in college football,based on all the games I've seen -- and I've seen plenty -- I'd have to name the Pac-10 as the worst in the sport. 

It seems the Pac-10, and commissioner Larry Scott in particular, realized this as well, and it's hoping to ditch this reputation as it becomes the Pac-12. It was announced on Wednesday that the conference was replacing 11 officials with 16 new ones for the first season of Pac-12 play.  Mike Pereira, the former head of officiating in the NFL and current on-air rules analyst for the NFL on Fox, was brought on as the conference's interim coordinator of football officiating, and he talked to the Seattle Times about the decision.

"I certainly did not think that for a geographic area like the West Coast that can draw from a lot of officials, I certainly didn't think it was at the level that it could be," said Pereira. "I'm not saying it was horrible, but it was not at the level that it deserved to be and that this conference deserves to have."

"We felt like these 16 were better than the 11 that did not have their contracts renewed."

This brings the Pac-12's number of officials to 49, which will be broken up into seven teams of seven officials for each game. Pereira also said that the conference will be hiring seven supervisors -- six of which come from the NFL -- to oversee each position on the field (one for the Line Judge, the umpire etc) and another for the replay booth.

They'll all be based out of a command center that will be located in Walnut Creek, California which will monitor every Pac-12 game.
Posted on: February 18, 2011 10:39 am

Pac-12 Network on its way?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury-News has done Pac-12 fans a favor with this exhaustive review of the current state of the conference's television negotiations. Among the details:
  • After paying the league $25 million for the Pac-12 championship game rights, Fox is the "clubhouse leader" to become the league's next television partner; a new deal could move Pac-12 games to Fox proper and off of FoxSports
  • As the league's current television partner, Fox enjoys exclusive negotiation rights until that window closes sometime in "early May"; a new deal could be reached before that window expires
  • After expenses, the championship game deal should net each school somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 million
  • ESPN is almost certainly not going to bid for the Pac-12 contract.
But likely the element of most interest for Pac-12 fans -- and arguably the most important one for the conference going forward, judging by the Big Ten's revenue stream -- is the development of the planned Pac-12 Network. Wilner says that the league fully intends to start the network, though not entirely for the reasons you'd think:
I also believe commissioner Larry Scott wants to make the Pac-12 Network happen, and that the only reason it won’t happen is if Fox essentially pays the league to not form a network ...

[T]he Pac-12 Network would do more than provide an increase in football and men’s basketball viewing opportunities for fans inside and outside the league’s footprint.

It would also provide a broadcast outlet for the Pac-12’s Olympic sports, which are not only highly successful – the league is an Olympic medal machine — but also so important to the conference['s] longstanding commitment to providing broad-based athletic opportunities.

Within the league’s inner circles, the importance of providing a broadcast outlet for the Olympic sports cannot be overstated.

There's little doubt this would be the first time major college football would be impacted by Cal and Stanford's bitter water polo rivalry. As for Fox potentially paying the league to keep its games on its FoxSports regional networks, given the success Fox has already enjoyed with the Big Ten Network, this seems unlikely.

But as much desire as Scott and the conference might have for their own network, it doesn't mean it's going to be smooth sailing getting it up and running. Wilner points out that the logistics could be "expensive and complicated," with the biggest obstacle being Time Warner Cable. The cable goliath has balked at hosting new sports networks before -- it still doesn't carry the NFL Network, according to Wilner -- and would be able to all-but singlehandedly keep the "P12N" out of Los Angeles, the league's largest and most critical market by a mile. If Time Warner refuses to play ball, will it even be worth the league's effort to build the network in the first place?

If everything goes according to plan for the Pac-12, by fall 2012 Fox will be paying the league a handsome sum commensurate with the SEC's and Big Ten's deals, airing the league's football games in primetime on broadcast television, and helping the league put together an in-house network that would dramatically increase both revenues and exposure. But whether the last part of that plan comes to fruition, only Time (Warner) can tell.

Posted on: February 11, 2011 1:00 pm

Pac-12's hands-on Scott leads officiating changes

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When Larry Scott was named commissioner of the then-Pac-10 in summer 2009, more than one observer wondered how involved in football an East Coast-bred administrator whose only previous sports experience came in women's tennis would really be.

It didn't take long for him to give us an answer, aggressively reshaping the league into the Pac-12 and by many accounts nearly convincing Texas to become the tentpole for a 16-team superconference. Scott has already taken one step to extricate the league from its less-than-optimal television contracts, signing a lucrative deal with Fox for the new conference title game. And now two stories out of the West Coast show that Scott's not slowing down his proactive ways anytime soon.

The first: under the direction of former NFL official (and Fox replay-challenge expert) Mike Pereira, the Pac-12 is overhauling its football officiating programs , starting with the departure of longtime Coordinator of Football Officiating Dave Cutaia and continuing with ... well, we're not sure, but it sounds great:
"Like in other high priority areas, we have taken a fresh look at our program, and will be implementing a series of changes that are forward-looking, innovative and take our program to the next level," Scott said. "The game and level of play is always improving, so it's essential that in the critical area of officiating, the program continue to evolve and improve as well."

The adjustments to the Pac-12 football officiating program came after a season-long review of the entire program by Mike Pereira ... The implementation of the officiating program coincides with the beginning of the new Pac-12 Conference, which features the addition of the University of
Colorado and the University of Utah .
Again, what this "series of changes" entails specifically -- what "adjustments" will be "implemented" when the season begins -- are still a question mark. But given the occasionally laughable errors made by Pac-12 officials the past few years and certain ethically dubious officiating policies , it's clear there's plenty of areas that need the improvement.

But it's the other story that really illustrates how involved with his conference's member schools Scott wants to be. Remember when Washington's athletic director called Oregon's academics "an embarrassment"? Per the Seattle Times, Scott tried to arrange for U-Dub to issue an apology by writing their apology for them :
On the Monday following the Nov. 6 game, Scott sent to UW interim president Phyllis Wise what was referred to as "our suggestion" of a one-paragraph statement UW could release, apologizing for the incident ...

Wise, on Tuesday afternoon following the game, released a letter she had sent to Woodward admonishing him for an "uncharacteristic lack of judgment" and asking that he personally apologize to Oregon President Richard Lariviere . Scott's letter to Wise had not sought a personal Woodward apology.

One sentence in Scott's letter is almost identical to what Wise released, stating that Wise had called Lariviere and "reinforced that these comments do not reflect the views of our administration."

When discussing the most powerful commissioners in college football, the first two names that come to mind are Mike Slive and Jim Delany. But if Scott remains this insistent on managing his league's affairs in this kind of detail as well as leading the charge on issues like TV contracts and expansion, he might find himself in Slive's and Delany's company before too much longer.

Posted on: February 5, 2011 4:24 pm

Pac-12 won't leave Colorado empty-handed in '11

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Colorado finds itself in one of the bigger financial pickles in major college football, needing to pay: a buyout to the Big 12 after having secured their jump to the Pac-12; any and all buyouts for dismissed head coach Dan Hawkins and his former assistant coaches; the salaries of new coach Jon Embree and his assistants under their new contracts and potential signing bonuses. Not only that, but the Buffs will have to do all of that on a budget that was already described as one of BCS football's most stretched.

But the Buffs got some good news this week, as Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said that though the Buffs would have to wait a year to get a full share of the conference's television payouts, their first season in their new league home will net the program something (emphasis added):

Scott said the conference and Colorado have reached an agreement under which CU will receive a pro-rated share of any new revenue the league generates outside of its current television agreement, which will expire at the end of the 2011-12 school year.

The conference already has secured new revenue that meets that standard in a $25 million television agreement with Fox for the rights to the first Pac-12 football championship games and other games played throughout the year by Colorado and Utah that don`t fall under the league`s current television deal.

"They will get several million dollars next year from us because we were highly successful in negotiating our championship deal, even though we didn`t guarantee them any money next year," Scott said. "But it won't come anywhere close to what they're forgoing and what the (Big 12) buyout will be."

Scott added -- and clearly, the Buffs brass would agree -- that the Buffs will eventually profit by making the move, since the money shelled out by ESPN for the new Texas network suggests that the market will pay handsomely for the new Pac-12 contract (which will go into effect for the 2012-2013 season once signed). And thanks to the initial agreement with Fox, Colorado can even pick up "several million dollars" while they wait.

Until then, the Buffs are still going to be digging out of a financial hole, one that's going to make an already-difficult transition to the Pac-12 under a new coaching staff even more difficult. But they can take heart that even if their new conference brethren "didn't guarantee them" a cent for 2011, they appear nonetheless committed to helping the Buffs out of that hole as best they can.
Posted on: September 21, 2010 12:23 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2010 3:19 pm

Report: Colorado to join Pac-10 in 2011

Posted by Tom Fornelli

A little over a week ago Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott was quoted as saying that he believed the chances of Colorado leaving the Big 12 to join the Pac-10 as early as next season were "worse than 50-50."   Well, according to one report, it seems that Mr. Scott may not want to go into the bookmaking business anytime soon.

According to Orangebloods.com, the Buffaloes are now expected to be a member of the Pac-10 starting next season.

But it's looking more and more like [the Pac-10] will be a 10-team league in 2011 because Colorado will move on to the Pac-10 after this school year, several sources said.

"There is too much consensus to get Colorado on its way to the Pac-10," an administrator at a Big 12 school told Orangebloods.com. "That's what Colorado and the Pac-10 want. That's what the Big 12 wants."

At issue is the money. Colorado doesn't think it can remain financially viable if it has to pay the one-year notifcation departure fee, which is an 80 percent forfeiture of revenues over a two-year period. But sources said the Big 12 is working on a payment schedule for Colorado to pay those fees over time to the Big 12.

Well of course the Pac-10 wants Colorado to join as soon as possible.  Did you see the 52-7 beatdown Cal put on them?  Everybody wants a piece of that action.

Okay, so maybe the Pac-10 wants them in next year so they can move forward with the division realignments, scheduling, a conference championship game, and their new televison network so they can start raking in the dough.  It makes sense that the Big 12 would prefer Colorado left in 2011 as well, seeing as how Nebraska will be joining the Big Ten next season and they don't want to be caught in 11-team limbo for an entire season.

The Orangebloods article also goes on to say that Texas AD DeLoss Dodds is also holding out hope that Notre Dame would one day bring it's non-football sports programs to the Big 12.  For that, we live Mr. Dodds with this.

Dream until your dreams come true, DeLoss.

Posted on: September 12, 2010 2:54 pm

Colorado not likely to join Pac-10 next season

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Colorado Buffaloes got a nice taste of what playing in the Pac-10 might be like when they join the conference thanks to Cal as the Bears handed the Buffs a 52-7 shellacking in Berkeley on Saturday.  It was a beating that may have made Colorado think twice about the move, or at least consider delaying it.

Though according to Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott , the odds of Colorado joining the conference in time for the 2011 season aren't good.  In fact, Scott said they're less than "50-50."

"The chances are worse than 50-50," Scott said. "I don`t know how to rank it beyond that. At this stage, we`re planning as though they`re coming in in 2012. In other words, we`ve got an 11-team football schedule for next year teed up."

The uncertainty does provide the Pac-10 with some problems.  They know that Utah will be a member in 2011, but having to wait on Colorado's move means they have to wait on figuring out when and where to have a championship game, and how the new 12-team conference will be aligned.  Which is why Scott says that the Pac-10 has decided to institute a "self-imposed" deadline of mid-October for Colorado to have its decision.

Scott says the timetable may be pushed back, but that it's not likely since the conference needs to plan for a title game and a television schedule.  Scott also said that the Pac-10 is still open to the idea of helping Colorado pay the fee they'd be charged for leaving the Big 12 early.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com