It wasn't that long ago that people were praising Larry Scott as the savior of the conference. He took a conference that was stuck in its ways and modernized it. He led the charge to turn the Pac-10 into the Pac-12, led the charge to launch all seven of the Pac-12 Networks and led the charge for the conference's expanded exposure into different countries.
Today, just a couple of years late, Scott appears to be on the hot seat... And two of the big advances he spearheaded may be the reason why.
The Pac-12 Conference is set to meet this week in Phoenix, and two of the meetings on the docket will be "Update on Pac-12 Networks" and "Update on Pac-12 Global Initiative," two programs Scott and the conference have taken criticism for in recent memory.
The Pac-12's TV networks have been a hot button issue for the conference for quite a while. The networks have struggled for distribution since they launched, and that was brought to the limelight last year when their (failed) negotiation with DirecTV was brought to the public. Even more criticism came in basketball season when the networks decided to only air out of market games on their national network, which is only available to most in SD and on a sports tier.
With schools publicly griping about the payout of the networks, while other conferences thrive, it will be interesting to see what is discussed at the spring meetings. The big question is, will the conference ever be open to selling equity? We may never find out.
As for, the Pac-12 Global Initiative? It sounds like a good idea, but many are questioning how useful it really it, especially with more pressing matters on the homefront. Jon Wilner explains.
Hotline sources outside the conference — these are sources with zero stake in the outcome — are with increasing frequency questioning Scott’s push to the Pacific Rim, noting that it costs time, energy and money but has little, if any chance of producing a tangible short-term gain. And this is true: It’s not like the conference is on the brink of opening a massive new revenue stream in China or Australia. The end-game for the global initiative is years (and years) (and years) down the road. That’s not my view. Scott has said as much.
Add on intrigue from the satellite camp vote and Scott specifically calling out one AD and there should be plenty of fireworks. Stay tuned, folks.
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