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Listening to Pac-12 abettor Larry Scott’s Zoom appointment on Thursday, in the countdown to Friday night’s appointment football championship* bold amid USC and Oregon, I was addled by a comparison. And I don’t anticipate he’ll like it.
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Scott reminds me a lot of Frank McCourt, the reviled above buyer of the Dodgers – i.e., the guy who acclimated the ballclub as his claimed ATM and ultimately ran it into the ground. That’s not the exact allegory I had in mind, admitting it ability fit.
The affinity that addled me was this: Like McCourt, too generally it’s not what Scott says about a subject. It’s what he leaves out.
For instance, the allowance was asked by aide Adam Grosbard to avert the accommodation to put Oregon, the North Division’s second-place team, adjoin South Division champ USC on Friday night at the Coliseum for the Pac-12 championship* (and yes, that asterisk is declared to be there; adapt it as you wish). After a few account of chat salad, he landed on this:
“In the case of the Big 12, they’re accomplishing it about absolutely like we’re accomplishing it. They would alter a aggregation in their championship bold if one was not able to play, as would we. And the champ of that bold is activity to be the appointment champion. So aloof acknowledge the befalling to clarify. I haven’t apparent absolutely authentic advertisement on that, but we are in appealing abundant lockstep with the Big 12 in agreement of how we’re accomplishing it.”
The reporting, it seems, is added authentic than the explanation. What Scott larboard out is that the Big 12 does not accept a bounded setup, and the first-place aggregation (Iowa State) plays the second-place aggregation (Oklahoma) on Saturday. Presumably, the third-place aggregation (Oklahoma State) would accept been abutting in band in case of a COVID-19 outbreak, but it wouldn’t amplitude believability about as much.
In fact, if the Pac-12 did things the way the Big 12 does them, after divisions, it ability be Colorado adjoin USC in the Coliseum. That would at atomic account the abstraction of the two best teams in the appointment squaring off, and it would accomplish up for a regular-season affair that was never played because of coronavirus issues.
As it is, Colorado was royally shafted in the countdown to this final weekend, the Buffaloes’ approaching basically put on authority while the appointment bent if Washington could comedy USC. The aboriginal plan was to accept both the Ducks and Buffs appear to Southern California to prepare, and while Scott said Colorado could accept appointed a nonconference adversary (Colorado State, maybe) for this final week, how do you do that back the accessories barter has to arch against L.A. aloof in case? They beneath to do so, and Scott played the “not our fault” card.
Yes, Pandemic Football is abounding of uncertainty. Still, wasn’t there a bigger way to handle this?
But this is the way the Pac-12 operates: By the bench of its pants, acutely authoritative things up as it goes along, with the abettor glossing over its flaws and consistently affairs the abstraction that acceptable things are appropriate about the corner.
Another McCourt allegory – and yes, L.A., I abhorrence to accumulate bringing him up because those Dodger years are thankfully a abroad anamnesis – but he was consistently assured that the abutting TV arrangement would bond him out.
Similarly, Scott – whose arrangement as Pac-12 abettor runs through the end of 2022 – afresh brought up the conference’s abutting media rights deals, which would booty aftereffect with the 2024 football season. In ablaze of the actuality that ESPN, one of the conference’s arrangement partners, is activity to be all-in with the SEC in its 10-year accord that begins in 2024, the catechism is how that impacts Pac-12 media negotiations.
What Scott said: “It’s been my abysmal acceptance that appear ’23, back we accept a adventitious to renegotiate our TV rights, we are activity to see a huge access in our media value. We’re sitting on a lot of beginning advance … We’re announcement cardinal backbone because we accept that while added leagues are resetting rights now, back our rights appear up, like we did in 2011, we’re activity to bolt up to the added leagues, maybe alike leapfrog some leagues.”
What Scott larboard out: As anyone who has been advantageous any absorption to academy football is able-bodied aware, the Pac-12 is a afflicted property. Its regular-season best and best achievement for a atom in the Academy Football Playoff, USC (5-0), was basically snubbed by the committee, which ranked the Trojans 13th this anniversary (behind four two-loss teams). Alone alert in the CFP’s six seasons has it put a Pac-12 aggregation in the final four – Oregon in 2015 and Washington in 2017 represent two of a accessible 24 slots over that amount – and alike if the appointment hadn’t started after than all of its aeon this season, it would acceptable accept been advised extraneous nationally.
Blame a decade-plus account of mismanagement, as exemplified by the acquirement crawl of a appointment cable arrangement assertive on activity it abandoned (and still not accessible on DirecTV, eight years in), or a appointment appointment that spends far added money with beneath acknowledgment than any of the added Power Five conferences. The aftereffect is an ambiance in which Pac-12 teams lag abaft their counterparts in added conferences back it comes to staffing, budgeting, coaches’ salaries and the like. And this existed able-bodied afore COVID-19 put a broad aperture in every academy program’s budget.
Will the abutting media affairs break those problems? Or is it added acceptable to reflect the beneath amount of a appointment that block added abaft its aeon with anniversary casual year?
I asked Scott on Thursday if there had been or would be aftereffect conversations apropos those issues.
“We accept had approved chat with student-athletes and football student-athletes,” he said, abacus that amusing amends issues were allotment of those conversations. “The groups that we accept that are adumbrative of the locker apartment and the student-athletes accomplish abiding to accommodate some of the choir that were in that aboriginal accumulation that accomplished out to us in August. So I’m absolutely admiring with the akin of chat and admiration we’ve been able to accept with our student-athletes.”
That would be progress, I suppose. But he didn’t announce whether bread-and-butter issues that appulse the athletes, such as the Name/Image/Likeness question, are allotment of that dialogue. My assumption is that it isn’t the blazon of absolute chat the allowance prefers.
@Jim_Alexander on Twitter
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