The Pac-10 will become the Pac-12 as soon as Colorado and Utah officially join the conference.
NEW YORK — For years, people involved in the Pac-10 — from players to fans — have complained about a lack of recognition and an alleged East Coast bias that caused the conference to be underappreciated nationally.
Commissioner Larry Scott, who grew up in New York on Long Island, decided instead of complaining it was time for the conference to act.
Say goodbye to the old Pac-10.
The conference has a new shield logo, a more aggressive attitude and two new members set to arrive — Utah next year and Colorado no later than 2012. And when both officially join, the conference also will have a new name.
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The Pac-12 is on its way.
“We will be mathematically correct going forward,” Scott said Monday at a news conference at a Manhattan hotel.
Scott brought all his football coaches and a few high-profile quarterbacks — including Washington’s Jake Locker and Stanford’s Andrew Luck — to the Big Apple for a couple of days to draw more attention to a conference that has made some headlines this offseason.
In June, it seemed as if Scott nearly turned the Pac-10 into the Pac-16 — and in the process nearly killed the Big 12 Conference.
But Texas, Oklahoma and three other Big 12 schools decided to stay put. Thus Scott had to settle for adding Colorado from the Big 12 and Utah from the Mountain West Conference.
Scott, about to start his second football season as commissioner, says he received a mandate from the university presidents he works for to remake the conference and he has embraced that task.
“I spent my first three months kind of listening,” he said. “The common refrain I kept hearing was everyone recognized the excellence of the Pac-10 here on the West Coast but we don’t feel we get the respect we deserve nationally. It seemed to be a bit of an excuse and that the Pac-10 in my estimation was very laid back and passive in terms of how it went about telling its story and promoting itself.”
The Pac-10 will be in the market for a new television contract starting next year. Scott’s goal is to land a deal that will allow it to compete with the Southeastern Conference and Big Ten, which reportedly are paying their members about twice what Pac-10 teams make, based mostly on more lucrative television deals.
Scott and other Pac-10 officials say they hope that by increasing their nationwide exposure, they will be able to potentially start their own cable-television network — similar to what the Big Ten has done.
“The Pac-10 is a long way off from where other conferences are,” Scott said. “Our coming to New York is indicative of our telling our story differently and signals that this isn’t your grandfather’s conference and we’re not going to lay back and let people form their own assumptions.”