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Thursday, October 14, 2010
Cal and Stanford to the North?

By Ted Miller

New USC athletic director Pat Haden told Trojans boosters this week that the athletic directors voted 7-5 in favor splitting the new Pac-12 into North and South divisions in 2011, with California and Stanford joining the Northwest schools in the North and new members Utah and Colorado grouping with the LA and Arizona schools in the South, according to WeAreSC.com.

Here's the relevant quote from Haden when he was asked about expansion:
We’re going for the money, sadly, that’s what it is.  We need a conference title game.  I went to my first athletic directors meeting last week and we discussed expansion. We made a recommendation that passed 7 to 5 and the presidents of the schools will vote on it later this month.  There’s no guarantee it will pass, it was only a 7 to 5 vote, certainly not unanimous.  The alignment that got 7 votes was one that puts USC/UCLA, the Arizona schools and Col/Utah in the same division.  I told them my alumni will kill me if we don’t play the Northern California schools and have the weekender every year.  I proposed a 5-2-2 model that has us playing the five schools (UCLA, AZ schools and Co/Ut) every year and then have the Northern California schools as part of our regular 2 and then rotate the other two.  We need to play Stanford and Cal.

The Pac-10 blog became aware of the item because of a post from Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News.

What this means is commissioner Larry Scott has convinced a majority of athletic directors to go along with his original plan, the one Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn revealed in June. And you'd have to say new members Colorado and Utah are big winners with this plan, due to the immediate connection to Southern California.

Here's an interesting idea to think about: Assuming the four California schools voted AGAINST this plan -- they'd favor a California-Arizona division -- and the four Northwest schools plus the two new members voted for it, then it appears the Arizona schools split their vote.

The Pac-12 presidents meet on Oct. 21 in San Francisco to vote on this and also on a revenue sharing plan, and those two items are linked. Scott and most ADs favor equal revenue sharing with TV money, which is what the Big Ten and SEC do. The model used at present -- appearance-based -- favors the LA schools, particularly USC.

Haden obviously wants to preserve an annual game with Stanford and California. His 5-2-2 model, though, limits the number of visits to the rich recruiting grounds of Southern California for the Northwest schools. So you'd expect the Northwest presidents to counter with, "Fine, but equal revenue sharing then starts in 2012 with the new TV contracts."

That might be the endgame compromise.