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SB Nation bloggers took to the internet yesterday following Larry Scott’s Pac-12 press conference to opine on the ramifications for their universities. The structure of the Pac-12 garnered much attention nationwide and our local bloggers had differing opinions on the matter. Most schools won in one way or another, whether it be due to scheduling, divisions or revenue sharing. Still, the change necessitated by the addition of two schools to the Pac-10 didn’t leave everyone happy.
Over at UW Dawg Pound, writer John Berkowitz thinks the Huskies gave up too much in the negotiations.
At first glance it looks like Washington gave up more than any other program in the conference under the realignment plan that was announced yesterday in San Francisco.
He goes on to bemoan the loss of a guaranteed game in Los Angeles and a loss of revenue — noting the Huskies were historically on the top-end of the revenue scale before falling well behind USC in the last revenue cycle.
So taken at face value Washington gives up playing in LA every year and a historically bigger piece of the conference TV revenue pie. In exchange UW gets membership in a stronger overall conference whose goal is to compete on an equal footing with the Big 10 and SEC going forward.
UW Dawg Pound’s Purple Reign 91 felt Colorado and Utah won big at the Huskies’ expense.
Well now, THAT about sums up my feelings regarding the latest rumors on Pac 10 expansion. Rocky Mountain and Arizona schools, we’re going to give you exactly what you want, and oh, by the way, we’re going to give your very own football division with the LA schools, a conference championship game, new television contracts, and whole boat-load more money for your troubles.
The tone from the Washington State side couldn’t be more different. The Cougs scored a major victory in equal revenue sharing, but CougCenter author Jeff Nusser thinks WSU won in every facet of the negotiations.
Think about what WSU could do with an extra $5 million to $10 million a year in its athletic budget. As we’ve said before, this money means more to WSU than perhaps any other school in the conference, because the cash will increase its budget by the largest percentage. Money was the most important thing for WSU to secure in this deal, and the Cougars got it.
Honestly, I can’t find any downsides to any of this. Money trumps everything, and everything else is just gravy. And there’s lots of gravy here. This is a great day for WSU.
And finally, I took some of the fantastic work one of our readers did and made it into a faux-interview with athletic director Bill Moos.
There’s been plenty of reaction from fans, coaches and athletic director to the details of the Pac-12 that Larry Scott laid out yesterday. Our own Bill Moos came out a big winner in the negotiations, securing equal revenue for WSU. The Cougars have historically been at an extreme financial disadvantage under the old appearance based system, but will now be on equal footing with the rest of the conference.
Read on for the picture montage of Moos.
With all the decisions that came down today, there were some clear winners and losers. Whether it was revenue sharing or divisional alignment, some schools came out on top, while others likely felt shafted by the decisions.
Washington State: The school with the smallest athletic budget in the conference will see an immediate impact from equal revenue sharing. Without a large TV market and -- in recent years -- a marketable product, Washington State was the low man on the totem pole. Not anymore. The Cougs will now get the same share as USC -- the big dog in the old revenue sharing system.
Utah: While they won't be a full-share partner for three years, Utah moves from Mountain West money to Pac-10 money. Even with the current TV contract, Utah will still be ahead of the television money they pulled in while members of the MWC. With a new TV contract and the eventual full-share they'll pull in, the Utah athletic department should see a gigantic financial windfall from the move.
Colorado: As the Big XII (minus two) pays off Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma, Colorado is sneaking out the door and joining the happy oasis that is the new Pac-12. The Buffs enter as a full-share partner right away and are in line for a huge payday with the new TV contract. Be an equal member of a conference of on the upswing or a second-class citizen in a conference about to explode? Point, Colorado.
USC and UCLA: Without paying attention, you'd think USC and UCLA won. After all, they're going to get a $2 million subsidy, right? No, not quite. The $2 million payoff only kicks in if the revenue of the TV contract comes in below $170 million per year. Larry Scott set the number knowing full well -- in my opinion -- that he could exceed that number. Instead of pacing the rest of the conference in television revenue, the Southern California schools will be equals. For USC, that means losing their $8 million gap between themselves and the lowest revenue earning team in the conference.
USC, UCLA, California and Stanford: All four California schools won a major concession in getting the "Weekender" games guaranteed each year. The inter-divisional games will be hard-slotted, ensuring that the California schools maintaining their rivalries.
Colorado and Utah: The newbies hop straight into the South with both Southern California schools. They get immediate access to the fertile recruiting grounds of California and end up big winners because of it. Utah also looks like a strong contender for the division championship in 2011.
Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State: The four Northwest schools will play either UCLA or USC each year and will travel to Los Angeles every other year, but the rate of play is much less than it is now. For schools that rely on Southern California, it could be a big blow. Or, if you're of the opinion I am about how this effects recruiting, it could be negligible. Either way, the perception is there.
It's apparent right away that schools were making concessions for the greater good. While the Northwest schools made scheduling concessions for equal revenue sharing, the Southern California schools traded money for rivalries. The entire conference -- all 12 members -- played a game of give-and-take during negotiations. The end result is a conference that came together for a greater good.
Your biggest winner of the day is the entire Pac-12 conference and commissioner Larry Scott for putting this all together. The athletic directors, presidents and chancellors all deserve praise for working together to solve the issues that go along with expansion.
The plans for the Pac-12 were announced today in a press conference held by Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott in L.A. Scott announced this was “truly a historic day for the Pac-12 conference,” laid out the Pac-12 divisions, revenue sharing and detailed plans for the new conference championship game. The goal for Scott was “building not just a national, but a global brand” for the Pac-12.
The decisions laid out by Scott were all voted on unanimously by the board of CEOs. The chancellors and presidents came to a clear consensus in shaping the future of the conference and unanimity was vital when making such important decisions.
The Pac-12 will be aligned in geographic divisions, with Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, California and Stanford in the North and USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah in the South. Scott said the decisions were made based on four major factors. “The importance of rivalry games, competitive balance, geographic and fan experience” were all vital in the decision-making process.
“We did an analysis of wins.” Scott said, “From a competitive standpoint in football, there’s incredible balance.” The conference commissioners looked at conference wins and felt the geographic alignment was fairly balanced and would be the most balanced proposal in terms of wins.
Scott also announce the Pac-12 “will have equal revenue sharing going forward” saying, “From 2012 on, all media revenue will be shared equally.” The equal sharing will take affect with the new TV contract in 2012. In 2011, the conference will maintain the current appearance-based revenue sharing structure. If the television rights are $170 million or less, USC and UCLA will receive a $2 million payout to ensure they continue to grow at the rate they have.
Scott placed a heavy emphasis on the fan experience and the maintenance of traditional rivalries. As such, the four California schools will be guaranteed games against each other each year. Teams will play five intra-divisional games and four inter-division games each year.
“For the Northern California and Southern California schools, two of those games are locked.” Scott said while explaining the scheduling, “Then we will have a rotation to fill the other two games.” For fans of the Oregon and Washington schools, Scott said “If you are a Northwest school, you will play in LA every other year. You will play each of USC and UCLA every year.” So the Northwest schools will play one Southern California school each year, but are not guaranteed a game in LA.
Fans have been worried about being shut out of Southern California, but one Oregon coach — one can assume it was Chip Kelly — spoke to Scott and said, “No problem, we plan on making the championship game every year.”
For those who can’t wait to see the schedule, Scott said, “The exact schedule will take about 30 days to come out. Thirty to 45 days from now the schools will publish the exact 2011 schedule.”
The conference championship game will be played at the school with the best record that season. “Hosting is something you will earn by having the best overall conference record,” Scott said, noting that there will be tiebreakers in place if teams have equal records. They came to the decision based on the logistics needed for fans to book arrangements to get to a neutral site on short notice. The Pac-12 followed the model of the NFL, making the championship game merit-based.
While the weather in December isn’t delightful in the Northwest, Arizona State’s Michael Crow didn’t seem worried, saying, “This is football. Weather is a part of it.”
Scott expects the Pac-12 media deal to top $170 million a year and is focused on both money and other non-financial considerations. A Pac-12 network is on the way and will be discussed in the upcoming media negotiations.
It was clear Scott and the leadership of the conference took the fan experience and the tradition of the conference’s institutions into account when making all decisions. Many times, Scott mentioned the fans, the history of the rivalries and how much importance was placed on giving the fans a worthy product while maintaining the pieces that made the Pac-10 so great.
Finally, Scott addressed whether this was a permanent move or simply a step toward further expansion.
“You can plan on us being the Pac-12 for the foreseeable future.” he said, “I suspect the media deals will be quite long-term. All of our planning is around being the Pac-12.”
If the conferences do continue to expand, Scott feels the Pac-12 “will be in an extremely good position going forward.”
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott will take to the stage around 11:30 this morning to announce plans for the expanded Pac-10 Conference. Among the items on the agenda, revenue sharing, divisional alignment and scheduling are to be discussed after a vote by the conference leaders to finalize the deal.
It's a historic day for the conference and its 12 members. The decisions made today will shape the landscape of the Pac-12 for at least the near future, shaking up a conference in an attempt to catch up to the rest of the NCAA.
The decisions announced today are the first step towards the upcoming television negotiations Larry Scott and the Pac-12 are preparing for. After years of sitting on a sub-par TV deal, expansion and the benefits that go with it were made in an effort to better position
The Pac-12, after deciding to get with the times and utilize the Internet, will stream the press conference live online. Check back at 11:30 to watch the embedded video from UStream below.
While football has been getting all the attention in the Pac-12 talks, basketball will also see the effects of expansion and are another of the issues being decided this week. It was always assumed the Pac-12 would forgo creating divisions for basketball, instead opting to throw every team into one division and get creative with scheduling. In football, divisions are necessary to host a championship game — one of the biggest reasons for expansion. In basketball, that’s not the case.
The Arizona Daily Star’s Bruce Pascoe gave a nice overview of the decisions that will shape the Pac-12 conference, noting the changes basketball would see in the near future.
The CEOs are almost certain to go with athletic directors’ recommendation of an 18-game format, with each school playing its geographic rival and six other teams twice every year. Four teams would be played only once and the only question is whether the four single-game teams would be rotated around on a five-year or 10-year cycle.
As expected, all 12 schools will be placed in one division and the rivalry games are all preserved. The details of the schedule, however, are not so clear. Which teams would be guaranteed home-and-homes, how the single games will be handled and what kind of rotating schedule will be in play are all important details that aren’t so easy to figure out.
We do know Larry Scott will announce the conference’s intentions Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Up until now, we’ve only heard about the football details being discussed. How the conferences will be aligned, how the television revenue will be split and what the details of the conference championship gain has garnered all the attention while basketball has taken a back seat.
Stay tuned for more on the basketball front as the conference begins to take shape this week.
After the dust settled this summer, the Pac-10 conference added two teams -- Colorado and Utah -- in the first major expansion effort since Arizona and Arizona State joined the conference in 1978. With a 12-member conference, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has been working since July to hammer out the details necessary to make it all work. On Thursday morning at 11:30 a.m., Scott will announce those plans to the world, following the vote to finalize the details.
The major issues on the table for the newly expanded conference included how to align the divisions -- a 12 member conference must have two divisions. Every school in the conference wanted a piece of Southern California -- with the fertile recruiting grounds and television exposure that comes with the biggest market in the conference. After a variety of divisional alignment ideas were thrown about, the conference settled on a North/South alignment, with California and Stanford joining the Northwest schools in the Northern division (via ESPN's Ted Miller).
Athletic directors voted 7-5 on the alignment -- Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA, USC and Utah in one division and Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington and Washington State -- in the other, Haden said.
Washington, Washington State, Oregon and Oregon State didn't want to become "the division up there" so ensuring they had a presence in California was a deal-breaker. The four California schools, however, wanted to maintain the rivalries they've had for decades. The result is likely scheduling concessions allowing the California schools to continue their annual games.
"I proposed a 5-2-2 model that has us playing the five schools [in our division] every year and then have the Northern California schools as part of our regular two and then rotate the other two. We need to play Stanford and Cal."
Maintaining the rivalries means the Northwest schools lose valuable games in Southern California each year. Instead of having a guaranteed game in LA each year -- against USC or UCLA -- the Northwest schools conceded the point, but forced the rest of the conference to make a big concession in their favor -- equal revenue sharing (via The Seattle Times' Bud Withers).
Sources familiar with the Pac-10's recent discussions over the expansion issues say the presidents will vote on a proposed $2 million-per-year payout apiece for USC and UCLA above the other 10 members of the new Pac-12 until the year that combined broadcast revenues reach a certain threshold. Then the 12 members would share equally.
On the surface, it seems like USC and UCLA won big in this scenario. In actuality, USC and UCLA are losing money, the rest of the conference will share revenue equally in 2011 and, in 2012 when a new TV contract is in place, the odds are high that the $2 million payout goes away. Over at CougCenter, I looked at the details of the revenue sharing proposal.
What does it all mean? Nothing, in fact. In 2011, USC and UCLA will get their $2 million payoff while the rest of the conference shares revenue equally. In 2012, when the new TV contract goes into effect, the entire conference will share revenue equally. Larry Scott set the threshold for equal revenue sharing knowing full-well that he could hit the number in contract negotiations.
In the end, the vote on Thursday is simply a formality. Equal revenue sharing, geographic divisions and a few scheduling concessions were agreed upon by the athletic directors after numerous concessions by every side. The conference athletic directors -- at the direction of Larry Scott -- worked together to find a deal that was acceptable for all.
The details of the Pac-12 will be announced during a stream press conference Thursday at 11:30 a.m.
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