Saturday, 27 July 2013

2013 Pac-12 Media Day Recap, Part 1

 (photo cred Jae C. Hong - Associated Press)

Yesterday, you may have heard that Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, all 12 Head coaches and one veteran offenive and defensive player from each of the 12 teams flew down and descended upon Los Angeles (I guess the Trojans and Bruins could have walked) and talked about all things Pac-12. Also, in case you want to feel really inferior about where you live and the school you went to (if it was outside the Pac-12 like it is and was for me) then watch this video that was show at the start of media day and feel really inadequate about your life.

For Part 1, here is a recap from Commissioner Scott’s time at the podium. Part 2 will be built around the North and Part 3 will feature all the teams from the South.

The war between the Pac-12 and DirecTV will never end. Larry Scott didn’t even wait to be asked about the ongoing situation with America’s largest television provider, in fact it was the first thing he mentioned after he got through his usual run down of every sport in the conference and all the championships they’ve won. Scott's exact words were:

“With a month to go before kick-off of Pac-12 football, I want to be up front with our fans who are still unable to watch the Networks, especially those with DirecTV. As recently as last week our team discussed a deal with DirecTV that's fundamentally the same as the 50-plus other distributors that are carrying the Networks. We're still at an impasse with DirecTV, no closer than we were last football season.”

Here’s the deal. The Pac-12 isn’t going to come down to DirecTV’s price because they were profitable in year one without DirecTV and if they do, they will be forced to renegotiate a cheaper, sweetheart deal with at least 50 other television providers. Scott can’t possibly cave to DirecTV and give them Pac-12 Networks for cheap in good faith while knowing he sold the Networks to Dish, Time Warner, Cox, Comcast, et al at a much higher rate. However, DirecTV isn’t going to come up to the Pac-12’s price. Since they are the only provider with NFL Sunday Ticket, they know that most sports fans won’t leave them no matter how badly they want Pac-12 Networks.

My recommendation and this is a totally unbiased one because I live in Canada and I can’t get Pac-12 Networks period and all major TV providers in Canada have Sunday Ticket, would be to switch to another provider that has Pac-12 Networks. Then, round up some buddies and spend every Sunday at the Pub. Sunday Ticket is extremely expensive and frankly, I would rather buy a lot of nachos and a lot of beer and get the football for free rather than spend the same amount on the football and get nothing else. I know you’re really attached to your couch at home and maybe I just enjoy Pubs way too much but I don’t see a hole in this theory.

Scott also fired some shots at the NCAA saying “It's clear right now they are at a crossroads. It's time for a new vision.” He also spoke of an “eroding trust” between the NCAA and the conferences and that “confidence in the enforcement process is at an all-time low.” Scott did say he isn’t in favor of breaking away and seeing the five major conferences succeed from the NCAA which is what I want to see. He also mentioned in an interview with ESPN’s Ted Miller that he is in favor of paying all student athletes in all sports and wants pay based on Universities having resources to support athletes more thoroughly and not based on athlete performance.  

What I like about Scott’s Media Day performance was that he didn’t mince words and he stuck to his guns as far as his stance on controversial topics. I agree with some of his opinions, namely that DirecTV isn’t negotiating in good faith and fans should switch, and that the NCAA should lean more on athletic directors than school presidents. I also disagree with him about paying all athletes because I just don’t see how you can look at revenue numbers and justify paying football players the same as water polo players.

At least Scott is opinionated and willing to stand behind his words. There was nothing worse than previous commissioner Tom Hansen and his wishy-washy statements and outright avoiding of the media. I like the Pac-12’s direction under Scott and hope he is a major driving force behind evolutionary change within college athletics.
Parts 2 and 3 will be along in a bit.

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