Pac-12 leaders will convene Saturday in Las Vegas, where investment advisory firm The Raine Group will brief presidents, chancellors and ADs on the "status of a possible equity sale that could generate a needed cash infusion," according to Jon Wilner of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. Colorado Chancellor and Pac-12 BOD Chair Phil DiStefano does "not expect a decision this week." He said, "I don’t see us taking any action based on Raine’s report, but it’s important that we’re all hearing the same thing." The Pac-12 retained The Raine Group in late January to "identify an equity partner." At the time, Raine co-Founder Joe Ravitch indicated that the "due-diligence process could stretch into May" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 3/14).
NET LOSSES: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Rachel Bachman wrote Pac-12 men's basketball is "having its darkest and stormiest season," and some school leaders "worry that the struggles in football and men’s basketball could worsen with schools’ growing financial challenges." Lagging revenues from the seven-year-old Pac-12 Networks have "contributed to the conference falling behind." The decision to launch a network "without an established media partner," made by Commissioner Larry Scott and school presidents/chancellors, gave the conference "more control." But the network has "proved costly to operate and difficult to sell to carriers." The revenue gap between the Pac-12 and other Power Five conferences is "widening and could continue to grow" until '24, when the current $3B rights deals with Fox and ESPN "expire and new ones are expected to fetch another big payday." Stanford AD Bernard Muir said, "We’re concerned. We want to stay in the game. We want to be competitive" (WSJ.com, 3/13).
USC's involvement in a nationwide college admissions scandal was "far more systemic" than other schools and involved four people who had "worked for the athletic department," according to Brian Costa of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. A 204-page FBI affidavit outlines how USC's bribes became a "form of institutionalized fundraising for athletics," more than a "mere coach cashing in." On Tuesday, USC fired Senior Associate AD Donna Heinel and water polo coach Jovan Vavic, who were "charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering." Former USC women’s soccer coach Ali Khosroshahin and former USC assistant women’s soccer coach Laura Janke "were also charged." USC in a statement said that it "hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing and is conducting an internal investigation." Heinel is "mentioned repeatedly throughout the FBI’s affidavit," as William Singer, the scheme's alleged mastermind, "cites her role to assure parents of the scheme’s reliability"(WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/14). In L.A., Hamilton & Ryan in a front-page piece note over the last decade, USC has been "hit with a series of scandals that have raised fundamental questions about the university culture." The NCAA "slammed the school for violations involving gifts and benefits given by agents to star football player Reggie Bush and basketball player O.J. Mayo." The admissions scheme comes at a time when USC is "trying to move past the scandals and select new leadership" (L.A. TIMES, 3/14).
TIME FOR A SWANN SONG: In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes two scandals that drew FBI investigations having occurred under USC AD Lynn Swann's "careless and chaotic watch." The school's "heart has been damaged, its soul tainted, and it's time for a change." It is time for USC to "retire Lynn Swann and find a real athletic director." Athletics used to be "one of the school’s major selling points," but it is "now an embarrassment." USC’s academic reputation is "spiraling because of athletics, and that’s on Swann" (L.A. TIMES, 3/14).