Larry Scott Lays Out Plans For The Pac-12

The Pac-10 conference became the Pac-12 conference over the summer. In a press conference today, Commissioner Larry Scott detailed just what the new league will look like in football, and how the conference will share its money going forward. In short, the Northwest schools are happy.

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Pac-12 Divisions And Revenue Sharing: Winners And Losers

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.

Revenue Sharing

Winners

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.

Losers

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.

Divisions and Scheduling

Winners

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.

Losers

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.

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Larry Scott Details Plans For The Pac-12

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.”

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Pac-12 Press Conference Streaming Live At 11:30 A.M.

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.

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Pac-12 Basketball Picture Coming Into Focus

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.

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