Category Archives: Pac-12 Football

Too good for their own good

This guy.

I don’t think that’s the Pac-12’s big problem, Lar.

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Filed under Pac-12 Football

“Our time is coming…”

Just a reminder that when it comes to whistling in the dark, Larry Scott is a master.

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Filed under Blowing Smoke, Pac-12 Football

“Resources do matter.”

I imagine Larry Scott somewhere, sipping on a fine bottle of expensive Bordeaux, nodding his head and saying to himself, “this is fine”.

I thought of Mullens’ comment last week when news broke that Purdue coach Jeff Brohm had agreed to a seven-year contract for $5.26 million annually.

What is “drifting out of range”?

It’s when the head football coach at Purdue — Purdue! — makes more money than every coach in the Pac-12.

It’s when the salary pool for Boilermakers assistant coaches is larger than those of every program in the Pac-12 except Washington and Oregon.

Brohm is 13-13 in two years in West Lafayette. He used an offer from Louisville (his alma mater) as leverage to sign a killer deal with Purdue.

The issue here isn’t Brohm specifically.

It’s that a third-tier football program in the Big Ten has the cash and the willingness to pay its coach more than the most accomplished coaches at the top programs in the Pac-12.

Hey, that’s nothing a hedge fund partner can’t fix with a little equity stake, amirite?

5 Comments

Filed under Pac-12 Football

One man’s bold is another’s financial opportunity.

Pac-12’s gonna Pac-12, y’all.

We know Scott likes bold. He went bold trying to form the Pac-16. He went bold with the $3 billion Tier 1 deal with ESPN and Fox. He went bold with 100 percent ownership in the Pac-12 Networks.

Bold works when it’s the right bold, not when it’s the wrong bold.

The conference made a wrong turn with its business model for the networks: 100 percent ownership, 850 live events and six regional networks created supply that exceeded demand — and not nearly enough viewership or revenue.

Which is why the conference is seeking a cash infusion in the first place.

A Hotline source told me recently that athletic department officials are concerned campus executives will view the cash provided by an equity partner — perhaps as much as $60 million per school — as a chance to eliminate debt.

That those responsible for balancing the books will hijack the process, leaving the athletic departments with nothing left for long-haul resource investment.

They would be right back where they are now, except with an outside entity sharing in their media revenue.

(Over the course of decades, the money lost by splitting the pie 13 ways instead of 12 would quickly erase the initial windfall.)

“It can’t be about helping our budgets,’’ the source said. “It has to be about helping us compete.”

If debt elimination is the end-game … if that’s the other end of this wormhole … the conference will be much worse off than it is now.

But the schools’ books will be sounder.  And isn’t it their money and their choice on how to spend it?

I’m not trying to argue who’s right and who’s wrong here.  It’s clear, though, that this is a bunch that’s never been on the same page with the guy they brought in to be bold.  That’s how you get to a point like this.  Given their track record, what are the odds that whatever choice they eventually make works?

3 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football

“There will always be disagreement on decisions I make as the athletic director.”

For some reason, Southern Cal decided it was important for Lynn Swann to make an official statement in response to that LA Times article about his trip east to sign autographs.

In regards to today’s story about me in the Los Angeles Times, the article would have you believe that I traveled to sign autographs with no concern for what is going on at USC. Nothing could be further from the truth.  While on this brief weekend trip back East, I was constantly connected with people at our university.  Also, as a matter of principle, I live up to my commitments and contractual obligations.  I signed a contract months ago to appear at the event, well before news broke of what is going on at USC now.  Not showing up would have been a breach of contract.

Calling this a principled business decision!  The First Rule of Holes must not have made it to the West Coast.

The former USC player quoted in the article may not have understood these details.

Details, schmetails

For former USC linebacker Riki Ellison, images of Swann’s appearance that subsequently were posted on social media raised a question: During a time of crisis for the school’s athletic department, why would the person in charge be all the way across the country just to pocket a few extra bucks?

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Ellison, a member of USC’s 1978 national co-championship team who runs the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a Virginia-based nonprofit. “Lynn’s a good guy, but isn’t his salary in the millions? Why does he need to do this? It’s just embarrassing.”

… Organizers for the Virginia show declined to disclose Swann’s appearance fee. Ben Litvin, a talent and marketing agent who show organizers said managed Swann’s booking for the show — and also has worked with Heisman Trophy winners, including O.J. Simpson — declined an interview request.

Celebrity booking websites list Swann’s appearance rate for motivational speeches and corporate meet-and-greets as ranging between $20,000 and $50,000.

“My understanding for these shows is that the athletes get paid by the promoter in a lump sum, and then the promoter decides what to charge for the autographs,” said Bert Lehman, editor of the Sports Collectors Digest.

Nah, I’d say he’s got a pretty good grasp of the situation, Lynn.  But at least you’ve got your principles.

2 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football

The worst AD in college athletics?

Amazing.

Back in Los Angeles, the struggling football program was holding a spring scrimmage. The disappointing men’s basketball team was sitting out March Madness. The athletic department was coping with the ongoing fallout from the college admissions bribery scandal that already has resulted in the indictments and subsequent firings of the school’s water polo coach and a senior administrator. And trustees and senior leaders were discussing university governance issues at a retreat in nearby Santa Barbara.

Meanwhile, USC athletic director Lynn Swann was more than 2,600 miles away, signing autographs for money.

Along with Randy Moss, Emmitt Smith and the actor who played the unmasked variation of mass murderer Jason Voorhees in the horror film “Friday the 13th Part 2,” Swann was among more than a dozen sports and entertainment celebrities who appeared Saturday at a memorabilia show held in the suburbs of the nation’s capital.

Dressed in black, Swann sat behind a folding card table inside a drab, fluorescent-lit exhibition hall for nearly two hours — laughing and smiling, shaking hands and posing for pictures, making small talk and paying extra attention to a toddler in a Pittsburgh Steelers onesie.

Mostly, Swann signed stuff, running his Sharpie across football helmets and jerseys and red seats rescued from Pittsburgh’s demolished Three Rivers Stadium, over and over again, all for fans and collectors who paid $220 and up for the privilege.

That’s like the living embodiment of a “this is fine” meme.

For former USC linebacker Riki Ellison, images of Swann’s appearance that subsequently were posted on social media raised a question: During a time of crisis for the school’s athletic department, why would the person in charge be all the way across the country just to pocket a few extra bucks?

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Ellison, a member of USC’s 1978 national co-championship team who runs the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a Virginia-based nonprofit. “Lynn’s a good guy, but isn’t his salary in the millions? Why does he need to do this? It’s just embarrassing.”

If Lynn Swann didn’t exist, Greg McGarity would have to invent him.

25 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football

In for a penny…

Larry Scott, ladies and gentlemen:

The Pac-12 is seeking $750M from investors, considerably more than the $500M it originally discussed four months ago, according to multiple sources. The conference will distribute $700M of that investment to its 12 schools.

LOL.  I mean, if you’re gonna fantasize, what’s a few hundred million more?

Besides, it makes for a nice distraction from “We do not appreciate the direction this Conference is headed under your direction by disgracing its long and respected heritage,’’ amirite, Larry?

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Filed under Pac-12 Football