As the Pac-12 Networks approach their fifth year of existence, conference commissioner Larry Scott says there has still been no movement toward getting DirecTV to carry the league’s flagship channels.
The announcement came today during his annual "state of the Pac-12" address at the beginning of Pac-12 media days.
In addition to the usual highlighting of the conference’s accomplishments, Scott also announced that Twitter will be live streaming some of the non-revenue sports broadcasts that are produced by the universities themselves and already were online-only broadcasts. For WSU, think of the baseball, soccer and women’s basketball broadcasts that you could find at WSUCougars.com.
But the lack of a carriage deal with DirecTV, the nation’s largest satellite television provider, continues to be a big black mark on Scott’s legacy.
"Our team is regularly reaching out to DirecTV trying to engage them, convince them to carry the Pac-12 Networks," Scott said. "No news on that this morning, and we continue to be disappointed and frustrated that our fans have gone for four seasons, and those that are with DirecTV have been deprived of all the content that's on it."
While it’s always risky to try and interpret tone, Scott did not sound optimistic. In fact, it simply sounded like "no change."
Scott reiterated that the conference is happy with its football scheduling arrangement, which includes nine conference games and a conference championship game prior to teams being selected for the College Football Playoff.
"Well, with only a four-team playoff, of course you worry about teams beating each other up, but the philosophy in our conference and amongst our schools has always been to schedule tough, take on all comers, and if a team deserves to be in the playoff, they will be," he said.
Scott continued: "The philosophy of our conference for a variety of reasons is to play the best, strongest schedule they reasonably can, non-conference, strongest conference schedule, nine games, championship game, and that if we've got comparable records with teams from other conferences, our teams will get the benefit of the doubt (in playoff selection)."
The partnership with Twitter is an interesting development; it’s distributing content that already exists to a wider audience, and that certainly isn’t a bad thing. It sounds like the content also still will be available in the places where it previously resided.
Scott also spent some time highlighting all the things the conference is doing for student athletes.
"We're listening to and engaging our student-athletes more than anyone else, and because of that, we've been staunchly focused on the reforms that would ensure student-athletes can be successful on the field and courts and off," Scott said, "and our latest effort centers around rebalancing the time demands student-athletes spend on academics as well as athletics."
This includes the "Flex 21" plan agreed to a week ago by the commissioners of the Power 5 conferences, which "will provide students, in many cases, with at least an additional 21 days in which they are free of required athletic activities during the academic year. These 21 days are in addition to the current rules related to time off."
He also brought attention to the conference contributing nearly $4 million to Pac-12 university research projects through its "Student-Athlete Health and Well-Being Grant Program." According to an announcement earlier this week, "The research projects will explore important student-athlete health issues including head trauma, overuse and injury prevention, cardiovascular screening, thermal management and hydration, and mental health."
He touched on a number of other topics, including e-sports, the conference’s international initiatives, and more. You can read a complete transcript of his appearance here.