Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Pac-10 expansion to get earnest consideration
By ESPN.com staff
Debating Pac-10 expansion is no longer idle chit-chat. Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott made that clear during a teleconference with reporters Tuesday.
"It really is over the next six to 12 months that we'll start having serious analysis and serious conversations," Scott said about potential expansion.
Scott was joined on the conference call by Kevin Weiberg, his new right-hand man. Weiberg, the former Big 12 commissioner and Big Ten executive, was named deputy commissioner and chief operating officer this week.
Scott said he spent the first six months of his tenure listening to administrators throughout the conference. Now he's turning his focus toward action.
"The announcement of Kevin is really the start of changes and repositioning you'll see for the conference over the next 12 to 18 months," he said.
That time period is vital because the conference's TV and media contracts expire after the 2011-12 academic year. The conference needs a significant upgrade in revenue if it is going to keep up with the other BCS conferences, particularly the SEC and Big Ten.
And expansion could make the conference more alluring during negotiations.
"It makes sense [to consider expansion], if you are going to do it, to do it when you can monetize it and get value for it commercially," Scott said.
It also appears that some sort of Pac-10 network -- it could be a partnership with another BCS conference -- will get serious consideration. Scott said Weiberg's experience building the Big Ten network was "very significant."
"A network is absolutely one of the solutions we will look at," Scott said.
Scott said there have been no serious discussions with any potential candidates if the Pac-10 were to expand. He only said he'd noticed an increased "curiosity" about expansion among conference members, which was, in part, inspired by the Big Ten announcing it was looking into expansion.
Still, it's fair to say a subject of seemingly endless debate -- expansion -- might be resolved within the next year.