Pac-12 commissioner Scott talks DirecTV, officiating
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott started his Saturday at the Pac-12 headquarters in Walnut Creek, Calif., flew to Tempe, Ariz., for the 3 p.m. ASU versus Washington football game and ended in Tucson at Arizona Stadium for the home football game against Utah.
Scott made his rounds, catching up with the universities’ presidents, touching base with leadership and trying to get to each school for a football game. Fresh off the plane, he arrived in Arizona’s press box, ready to answer any questions the media had for him about current Pac-12 issues.
Pac-12 football officiating
Pac-12 football officiating doesn’t have the best reputation.
On Saturday, Scott defended the officials and claimed the issue has gotten better. Controversy has arisen recently, however, over some bad calls made by referees.
The ASU-Wisconsin game in September gave the Sun Devils a victory out of a faulty call. The Utah-UCLA and Stanford-Washington games also caused attention with strange calls.
“If it’s drawing attention, it’s usually not good news,” he joked.
Scott said the Conference of Champions has upgraded its officiating technology and now grades the officials and has accountability, offseason training and better communication.
“The state of our officiating overall, if I look at where we were four years ago to where we are today, I’m very pleased with the progress,” Scott said. “We’ve changed the leadership — the program brought in a top NFL referee, Tony Corrente.”
Scott didn’t have any news on the DirecTV and Pac-12 Networks negotiations.
DirecTV is the sole major television service without the second-year Pac-12 Networks.
“It’s unfortunate. It really sets a frustration for me, for our fans, that can’t get this amazing product,” Scott said.
With 35 football games and 150 men’s basketball games coming up, a large opportunity to get viewers is being missed. Arizona men’s basketball is scheduled to air 12 games on the Pac-12 Networks.
Scott said he knows the Pac-12 Networks is of high value because of all the major cable operators taking it. The issue remains at a standstill, however.
“I hope they change their mind soon,” Scott said.
Top college men’s basketball players generally only stay a year before leaving for the NBA, which has a rule allowing players a year out of high school to be drafted.
The so called “one-and-done” rule is not popular.
Scott doesn’t think the rule is good for college basketball or the NBA.
“We’ve got much healthier setups in football, baseball,” Scott said. “I for one certainly believe that if young men want to go for basketball, they know that going in. I’d like them to have a pathway to that before they get to college.”
Scott said that over the past few years, he has been focusing on football and the new playoff process.
“Now we’re really turning our attention to some broader issues affecting the NCAA related to governance [and] how we serve student athletes better,” Scott said.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been appointed a member of the new College Football Playoff selection committee. Rice, now a Stanford professor, is a college football fan and was first approached by Scott about the position.
“It wasn’t something she was expecting,” Scott said. “[We are] outlying the importance of diverse backgrounds, having a lot of integrity and credibility to the system, and we’re really looking for a blend of people with pure football background, athletics administrative and other people with great understanding of the game.”
Scott said Rice was excited about the offer right away. She will help select college football’s final four teams when the playoffs start next year.
— Follow Megan Coghlan @MeganCoghlan