Pac-12's Larry Scott Says Missing Playoff Again "Painful" For League
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said the conference once again being left out of the CFP is "painful," and being the one Power Five league absent from the field is "harmful to our positioning, our brand and everything we've got," according to Ralph Russo of the AP. Scott said that while changes to the playoffs are "being discussed behind the scenes, being halfway through the current 12-year television rights contract with ESPN means there is no urgency." Scott: "I completely get that it would really release the pressure of being the one that's been on the outside looking the most in the first six years to say that automatically we've got our champion (in). But we also have agreements through 2026 (the championship game) that I think will be very challenging for us to all agree how we're going to amend and change" (AP, 12/12). YAHOO SPORTS' Nick Bromberg wrote making the playoff and "getting the revenue that comes with it is more vital for the Pac-12 than it is for any other major conference." The Pac-12 Networks have "struggled for distribution and relevancy" since their inception. Bromberg: "We're not having this conversation if Utah wins and stays ahead of Oklahoma in the playoff rankings." Instead, Scott has to "once again answer questions about his conference's playoff status" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/12).
LEARNING ON THE JOB: Scott said he has changed his personal style of management and engagement with Pac-12 ADs and school presidents, admitting he "made some mistakes" during his first decade as commissioner. "I've had to adapt my style," he said Thursday during an interview at the Learfield IMG College Intercollegiate Athletics Forum. "When I was brought in in 2009, it was by the presidents and chancellors that were looking for a different governance model. They wanted the conference to be run top-down, with myself and presidents collaborating with others, but it was pretty clear they wanted a strong, CEO type of leader." Scott continued, "As time went on, it became clear to me that some of our stakeholders felt disenfranchised. ... It became clear that our athletic directors didn't feel that their point of view, their experience, their expertise was being leveraged. They felt cut out of the big decisions, and I was slow to recognize the problem that this would create and I was not very good about building the type of support you need." Scott said of what he changed in terms of dealing with ADs, "I had to learn to bring athletic directors more into the fold, to appreciate the benefit of their perspective, their advice, their knowledge, their close relationships with their presidents. We even made changes to our meeting structure. Now, before almost every one of our board meetings, the presidents and chancellors and me will have a dinner along with all of our athletic directors to identify the two or three biggest things on our agenda." Scott also noted that when he now has an opportunity to do a press conference, he will "do it side-by-side with a president or chancellor or with an athletic director." Scott: "That's been appreciated, and I've benefited from it as well" (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).