NCF Nation: Comcast
How has the conference changed under Scott?
A conference that was known for its stubborn adherence to tradition expanded by two teams, but only after an attempt to create a 16-team super conference -- a proposition that terrified all the other automatic qualifying conferences -- was left at the altar at the moment vows were supposed to be exchanged. A conference that lagged behind the Big Ten and SEC now owns the richest TV deal among all conferences -- $3 billion over 12 years from ESPN and Fox. A conference that lacked exposure will own a national network and six regional networks, which will ensure every football and men's basketball game is televised.
Much has changed.
With what's happened and will happen, it seemed like a good time to check in with Scott.
So you've expanded the conference, reorganized the officiating, signed a new TV contract and started a network: What's next?
Larry Scott: Well, we've got an awful lot to do in the next year to make this all work and work well. Our championship game has all kinds of operational challenges, given that with home hosting we don't know in which venue it is going to be. A lot of work has to be done on that. We are currently looking at the future of our basketball tournament and evaluating its location. And with what we've just announced, we've got a monumental amount of work to do in terms of building a management team and launching a year from now seven different TV networks, as well as building a digital business, too. The next year is going to be a very busy and challenging one.
With the network: Can you explain the revenue model? How will the conference profit from the national and regional networks?
LS: In its simplest form, there are basically two revenue streams for TV networks. One is subscriber fees, one paid by the satellite or cable or telecom companies [a monthly fee for each subscriber]. And the second is advertising. Those are the revenue streams. There are a lot of costs in terms of production and operations and marketing [which come from the Pac-12 coffers].
The biggest negative response has been from folks with satellite TV: How reassuring to them can you be that they are not going to miss Pac-12 football?
LS: Our vision is that the other satellite companies and cable companies and telecom companies will also take the network. But all we have announced so far is our partnership with these cable companies [Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks]. All I can say to fans is I hope the satellite companies will take it further into discussions, and as deals get done they will be announced.
You've talked before about your belief that there's another wave of expansion ahead. Any insights as to what that might look like?
LS: No, I really don't have any insights or predictions about how and when. But I still believe, the way I have consistently said, that over time further consolidation will make sense. I couldn't begin to predict when that might happen.
Do you think it's likely the big conferences will eventually break away from the NCAA?
LS: I certainly hope not. There's no talk about that going on now that I know of. But we've got a very interesting and creative time coming up, with [NCAA president] Mark Emmert, a new leader, and trying to set a new agenda, trying to engage presidential leadership. It will be interesting to see if the NCAA can be more nimble and responsive and bold in terms of creating a reform agenda than has been heretofore.
Speaking of the NCAA, there's been a lot of frustration at USC about first how harshly it was treated, then by how the NCAA has handled other major violations cases, most notably Ohio State. Has anyone explained to you this apparent double standard?
LS: Well, I don't want to get ahead of ourselves. We don't know what the final outcomes of some of the other cases will be, the ones you're probably referring to. But I certainly think the USC decision was a harsh one, and my view is that it's important from a standards perspective that there not be a double standard and that people be treated fairly and evenhandedly. That's what we will be looking for.
The Pac-12 has a TV deal that is more than competitive and now it has new networks. Is the conference on equal footing with the SEC and Big Ten, or is there more catchup ahead?
LS: I guess it depends on how you look at it, what metrics you're looking at. But I feel extremely good about where we are, from an exposure standpoint, from a revenue standpoint and from a competitive standpoint.
The SEC has won five national titles in a row. Is the consensus among commissioners from other conferences that the SEC plays better football, or is this just a historical cycle?
LS: I'm probably not the best historian in terms of analyzing the cycles of college football, but definitely they've been a real powerhouse. You have to admire their recent run. But if you look at USC in our conference, it's probably been the strongest program over the past decade. It depends on how you look at it. Long term, I see it being very competitive. I think there will be trends and cycles.
You've been on the job a couple of years now. Can you tell me what the biggest surprise has been about your job?
LS: It's probably been the amazing amount of potential. I took the role in the first place because I was inspired by the vision of Pac-12 presidents. I thought it was a great opportunity. Now that I've gotten to see under the hood, to see how much potential there is for change and uplift, it's been a very pleasant surprise.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Happy birthday to me. I'll wish for ... a bunch of links. Here ya go:
- Projected starting wideout Jeff Cumberland missed Illinois practice with a sore foot, Bob Asmussen writes in The [Champaign, Ill.] News-Gazette. Also, Asmussen takes a look at the defensive tackles, where Josh Brent looks to step into a starting spot after Sirod Williams' season-ending knee injury. Illinois is returning to its roots as a football school, Mark Tupper writes in the Decatur Herald & Review.
- Indiana kicker Austin Starr fends off the one-and-done perception about the Hoosiers, Mike Lucas writes in The Capital Times. Here's a breakdown of Indiana's defense from The Indianapolis Star's Terry Hutchens.
- Standout tight end Tony Moeaki is expected to rejoin the mix at Iowa this fall, Susan Harman writes in the Iowa City Press-Citizen. There's a report he's injured again, which will be clarified on Saturday at the open scrimmage.
- Here's a look at Michigan Stadium's steel-clad facelift from Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press. The Wolverines go bowling next week to raise money for the paralyzed brother of offensive lineman Elliott Mealer, John Heuser writes in The Ann Arbor News.
- Oklahoma transfer Keith Nichol could set up an interesting competition at quarterback with Kirk Cousins next year at Michigan State. Here's a look at Nichol's journey, courtesy of Andrew Mouranie in the Lansing State Journal. The Spartans are getting local for the 2010 recruiting class, Matt Dorsey writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- If you didn't know already, the Big Ten Network launches on Comcast today, Shannon Shelton writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- Former Minnesota star safety Dominic Jones, now serving jail time for sexual assault, will address the team next week, Dennis Brackin writes in the [Minneapolis] Star Tribune. Jones requested the chance to talk about his experience.
"I think it will be a very positive message, and I know that I'm looking forward to it,'' head coach Tim Brewster said. "The exciting thing for me is that it seems like he's really trying to make something positive out of this. You look at different situations and try to learn from them, because that's all you can do.''
Minnesota's defensive renaissance hinges on better line play, Marcus Fuller writes in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Northwestern's offensive line is filled with new faces but is slowly making progress, Shannon Ryan writes in the Chicago Tribune. After an exciting offseason, Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald is looking toward a bowl run.
- Ohio State wideout Brian Robiskie is fighting a shoulder injury, while Curtis Terry could be back on defense, Doug Lesmerises writes in The Cleveland Plain Dealer. An influx of talented freshmen gives Ohio State's offensive line unparalleled depth, Tim May writes in The Columbus Dispatch. Some of those freshmen linemen have hideous haircuts, Lesmerises notes on his blog.
- A.Q. Shipley came to Penn State to play defense, but he has become a perfect fit at center, Ron Musselman writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Also, former Nittany Lions offensive linemen Josh Marks has transferred to Pitt. Penn State's young running backs will throw different looks at defenses this fall.
- Retiring Purdue coach Joe Tiller doesn't mind being called a senior this season, Al Hamnik writes in The Times of Northwest Indiana. Coach-in-waiting Danny Hope is finally getting the chance to work with a full complement of offensive linemen, Tom Kubat writes in The [Lafayette, Ind.] Journal and Courier.
- More on Wisconsin cornerback Aaron Henry's knee injury from Jim Polzin of The Capital Times. Henry "re-tore" his ACL, coach Bret Bielema said, and could end up redshirting the season. Meanwhile, Defensive end Brendan Kelly is among the true freshmen to see the field this fall for Wisconsin, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
RANTOUL, Ill. -- I took off my Illinois blinders for a few minutes to look around the league. Here's what I found.
- Three Michigan State freshmen face one of the vaguest charges I've ever heard -- "failure to obey the police" -- after a June 30 incident. The Lansing State Journal's Joe Rexrode has the story. Defensive end Cameron Jude, one of the three, should be in the mix for playing time this fall.
- A Wisconsin injury update from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Jeff Potrykus. Several key players sat out Wednesday's first practice, including quarterback Allan Evridge [hamstring], defensive end Kirk DeCremer (back), cornerback Aaron Henry (knee) and running back John Clay (ankle).
- After the title game flop, Ohio State's defense is hoping to change its national perception this fall, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
- The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette's Mike Rothstein has a good interview with Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, a former Notre Dame assistant. Alvarez commented on having his own statue in Madison.
"You always feel like when they put a statue up, the guy's dead. It's different, though."
- An interesting development in the Iowa sexual assault case. Apparently the alleged victim text-messaged with one of the accused former Hawkeyes football players after the alleged incident, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reports. Thankfully, there is some news about what's happening on the field at Iowa, as running back Shonn Greene returns to the mix. Iowa isn't the only Big Ten school to add a player development position, Randy Peterson writes in the Des Moines Register.
- The wait is finally over for Comcast cable subscribers, who can begin watching the Big Ten Network on Friday morning, Mark Alesia writes in The Indianapolis Star.
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
8:00 PM ET 20 Duke 1 Florida State 8:17 PM ET 2 Ohio State 10 Michigan State 4:00 PM ET 5 Missouri 3 Auburn 12:00 PM ET 17 Oklahoma 6 Oklahoma State 7:45 PM ET 7 Stanford 11 Arizona State 3:30 PM ET 25 Texas 9 Baylor 12:00 PM ET 16 UCF Southern Methodist 10:00 PM ET Utah State 23 Fresno State