Highlights of a live chat with Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott talked about Washington football, conference expansion and whether college athletes should be paid in an exclusive live chat Thursday with readers.
Q: Will DirectTV and/or Dish carry the Pac-12 network next year? I need to know which to order.
Scott: We hope so. Our initial sounding distribution agreements were with the major cable operators. We have had initial discussions with the satellite operators and are hopeful that by the time we launch, in August 2012, they will agree to carry our service. It will take some time to conduct these negotiations, and I cannot predict the exact timetable.
Q: Have you ever thought about running for president? Of the United States of America, that is.
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Scott: Commissioner of the Pac-12 seems a lot more fun right now.
Q: What is your next project?
Scott: We have a lot to do in the next year — hosting a successful first football championship game, deciding the future location of the Pac-12 basketball tournament, launching our networks, new digital initiatives.
Q: How’s your backhand nowadays?
Scott: Next question.
Q: Would four 16-team superconferences be good for college football?
Scott: People can fairly debate whether it’s a good direction or not, but as I’ve said since last year, it has seemed inevitable, and the recent instability is evidence of that — fewer, more stable conferences could be better long term.
Q: Be honest — which is your favorite Pac-12 school?
Scott: Same answer I give my kids. I love you all the same.
Q: Can you explain, for us laymen, why football drives expansion and why basketball is not seen as important as football?
Scott: It comes down primarily to television value, which relates directly to ratings. Regular-season college football is a blockbuster. It is second only to the NFL in terms of ratings and interest. While I would put NCAA March Madness in the same category, unfortunately, regular-season basketball has been diluted for a variety of reasons and isn’t drawing big-time audiences on television.
Q: What do you think of Oregon’s uniforms?
Scott: The fact that I’ve gotten a question about that proves their strategy has been a huge success. Oregon, thanks to Nike, defines themselves as innovative, cutting edge and cool. The fact that many other schools across the country are following suit it the ultimate compliment to Oregon and Nike’s genius marketing.
Q: As a USTA guy, how did you decide this was the place to go for you?
Scott: Pac-12 presidents had the vision to reposition our conference and felt they wanted a “nontraditional” candidate that would relish the marketing, television and revenue challenge while having an appreciation for sports, academia and the role of the student-athlete … It just seemed like an amazing opportunity.
Q: What is your take on college players being paid on top of their scholarship? Should they or shouldn’t they?
Scott: Should not get paid. However, should absolutely get full costs of attendance covered.
Q: Are you allowed to bet on any sport? Do you ever fill out a bracket?
Scott: No. Neither college nor pro. In fact, I wanted to do NFL fantasy football with my 10-year-old last year and was told I could not. Bummer.