Pac-12's Scott Bearish On DirecTV Deal, Bullish On Lacrosse
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said he would not use the word "never" when talking about whether the conference will ever strike a deal with DirecTV, but he noted in the "foreseeable future, there’s really no prospect of it that I can see." Appearing Tuesday on Atlanta-based WSB-AM's "The Bald Faced Truth," Scott said the current media landscape is "too dynamic." Scott: "We’ve tried a bunch of different approaches with them, including offering AT&T the ability to continue sponsorship with the conference and our schools and all kinds of things. I think they’ve dug their heels in for reasons that are kind of hard to understand, and there’s really no active conversation at this point.” Scott said the subject of paying college players "starts with a philosophical perspective that college sports should be for students and not for employees, and not the place you go to earn a living. That’s where I start from, where our conference starts from." Scott said the best players skipping college and going straight to the pros "would have some effect" on the NCAA's product, but "in some ways, it might help it and strengthen it." Scott: "If it lost a little of its allure and a little its value, but it brought college sports, and college basketball in particular, back to what its core mission should be, not just for myself, but most of my colleagues across the country would like to see that happen.” He added, "We’d like to see superstar, high school athletes go straight to the NBA, or an improved G League, to not feel like they have to go play college basketball if they’ve got no interest in being students and working toward a degree" (“The Bald Faced Truth,” WSB-AM, 3/6).
VEGAS, BABY: In San Jose, Jon Wilner notes moving the Pac-12 tournament to Las Vegas "isn’t the best thing" Scott has done in his nine years as commissioner, but "it’s close -- an indisputable success that has improved the event’s appeal and helped prop up the conference’s basketball brand." The tournament "wasn’t working at Staples Center." Whether home base is the MGM Grand Garden or T-Mobile Arena, basing the tournament in Vegas is the "best thing the conference does -- even better than the football championship game." The "butts in the seats are proof." Vegas "appeals to constituents from each school; it’s everyone’s favorite alternative to being at home." And it "assuredly won’t be long before we see the NCAAs piggyback off the Pac-12 at T-Mobile" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 3/8).
NEW FRONTIER: U.S. LACROSSE MAGAZINE's Marisa Ingemi noted Scott said he is "delighted with the support that women's lacrosse has received" from schools as the conference begins its inaugural season tomorrow, and also that the sport will get a "big commitment" on the Pac-12 Networks. Scott said of adding a new sport in today's landscape, "It’s not easy ... with the financial pressures on our universities. All the focus on expenses, it’s not easy to add a sport. The fact that we’ve added lacrosse is in recognition of the growing popularity and interest our schools have in competing at the highest level. In our conference, we need at least six universities that will add the sport at a varsity level. In a quick period of time, we got there." Scott said of possibly adding men's lacrosse at some point, "It’s more complicated and challenging on the men’s side because of Title IX and football. The combination of the law and with football having 85 scholarships, it means the school has more flexibility and it’s easier to add women’s sports. But the growth in youth lacrosse, the growing popularity, is impossible to ignore. Even though it may be more complicated, I think in more time we’ll have schools look seriously at adding men’s lacrosse" (USLAXMAGAZINE.com, 3/6).