Category Archives: Pac-12 Football

The Pac-12’s got a new mission.

And academics got nothin’ to do with it.

The Pac-12 presidents are open to hiring a commissioner who would transform the conference’s business structure and implement a model used by professional leagues, according to the job description published by the search firm assisting the process.

The description includes the following passage:

“While historically intercollegiate conference offices have been focused on sport operations and the business of the ‘collective,’ the Pac-12 is open to a more modern conference structure and approach which can be seen in several professional sports leagues.”

Now one thing professional sports leagues have in common is that they pay the hired help.  So that’s certainly one possible take from the corporate gobbledygook.  Of course, the other one is simply “whatever we decide, it won’t be to hire another Larry Scott, thanks.”  I’ll leave you to decide on the more likely interpretation.


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

Money to burn

Larry Scott is proud of plenty about his 11-year tenure as commissioner of the Pac-12.

Eleven years!

Ummm… how much money are we talking about, Spencer?

Eleven years, and he’s proud.  At some point, all you can do is sit back and admire the man’s nerve.

I’m sure there will be plenty of “I would have done the same job for half the money” takes today.  Sadly, they’re all correct.

Oh, yeah — you know what the definition of an optimist is?  Somebody who thinks that the same people who tolerated Scott’s grift for over a decade are now going to nail the hire of his successor.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

TURRible officiating

Or, as it’s referred to in the Pac-12, good work.

That was from the Cal-Stanford game, where nothing much was on the line.  Far worse was the attempted hose job on Oregon State (what the hell does the conference have against the Beavers, anyway?) where it seemed like the officials did their damnedest to save the game for Oregon — who, coincidently, was the conference’s highest ranked team at the time — as OSU drove late for what turned out to be the winning score.

For example, this somehow isn’t offsides.

There was also a missed touchdown on a quarterback sneak when he got the entire top half of his body over the goal line, but in the end OSU overcame all of that and managed to score on another sneak to pull off the upset.

In the SEC, there’d be complaints about refs throwing the game, but it’s just another day at the office for Larry Scott’s crew.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

“All the power is in the coach’s hands — you can’t negotiate.”

Siri, what is the opposite of doing it for the kids?

Henry Bazakas embodied everything the University of California wants in a football player.

A third-generation Cal student who grew up in Berkeley, Bazakas arrived on campus five years ago as a walk-on offensive lineman. Three times he earned an award for having the team’s highest grade-point average. He and a teammate spearheaded a summer reading program at local elementary schools. He won another award, for his commitment to strength and conditioning while recovering from a torn knee ligament. And last season, after he finally earned an athletic scholarship, he started three games at left tackle.

But none of that counted for much in June, when Bazakas called the Cal football coach, Justin Wilcox, to say that he was opting out of his final season because of health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The call was the beginning of an odyssey that illustrates the normally unseen, cutthroat side of the business of college football, with tensions that have been magnified for athletes by the determined push to play during the pandemic.

Nine days later, Bazakas found his scholarship had been cut off, and he was then billed more than $24,000 halfway through his summer term because the athletic department had revoked the financial aid that it had already paid.

Nice way to thank him for his service.

The summer school aid was ultimately reinstated by a university appeals committee, which said the school had violated N.C.A.A. rules by abruptly pulling Bazakas’s aid before giving him an opportunity for a hearing.

Chalk it up as another episode of enhancing the academic experience.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

Larry Scott’s uphill battle

A commish can dream, can’t he?

The College Football Playoff management committee will discuss delaying the 2021 event when it meets Wednesday afternoon, according to sources with knowledge of the agenda.

The move to formally discuss a delay — it’s on the agenda — came at the request of Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott but, sources said, does not indicate a change is imminent.

To this point, the committee has shown a strong preference for keeping the semifinals on Jan. 1 (the Rose and Sugar bowls) and the national championship on Jan. 11 (in Miami).

“They’re talking about anything and everything,’’ CFP executive director Bill Hancock said (via email) of the management committee, which consists of the 10 conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.

“Larry did suggest considering the dates of the games, which is certainly in the ‘anything and everything’ universe.”

When you can’t even get Bill Hancock to wax optimistic for you, that’s the definition of a lost cause.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Pac-12 Football

Same as it ever was.

Every once in a while, I find little surprises when I check the blog’s data.  There’s one this morning, in that right now, this is the most read post on the blog today.  Talk about your golden oldie!

The question, is why, of course.  And the answer can be found here.

♦ Oregon State was driving to take a fourth-quarter lead when it ran a third down and 1 play inside the Huskies’ 5-yard line. The Beavers appeared to make the first down. The spot looked short and bad. OSU then ran a fourth and 1 play, and again appeared to make the first down. The spot again looked bad (See: Jon Wilner tweet with photos). UW took over on downs. It was a game-changing sequence.

♦ The Beavers’ game vs. Washington kicked off at 8 p.m. on FS1. It was apparent in watching the game that the television crew had a limited number of camera angles. I’ve been in the Centralized Command Center in San Francisco on game day. It’s an impressive set-up. But what surprised me was learning how inconsistent the number of cameras was from Pac-12 game to game.

Mike Ortiz, the conference’s senior director of video operations, showed me a dozen angles in one Pac-12 stadium that day and only six on another, for example. Six is the minimum number of cameras for any conference game.

Guess how many were at Husky Stadium on Saturday night?

Answer: six.

Here’s Wilner’s tweet:

It’s a bad call, and it had an impact on the game.

Give Larry Scott credit for this, at least — he’s upholding the Pac-12’s long tradition of being the shittiest officiated P5 conference.  (That’s saying a lot, too.)  It’s your Pac-12 point of pride.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

“What exactly is the Pac-12 Network right now?”

This really is the saddest quote.

One high-ranking conference official told me: “No media company wanted to partner with the Pac-12. ESPN declined. FOX, CBS, even the Discovery Channel declined. Nobody knows this.

“We weren’t wanted.”

Whether that’s truth or hyperbole, “even the Discovery Channel declined” rocks.

I didn’t realize until I read that piece that Larry Scott runs both the conference and the network and draws a salary from each.  Whatever pictures he’s got on people, they must be doozies.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

Larry tried.

Hey, Larry Scott went through a lot of trouble to restart a football season to qualify for some of that sweet playoff cash he didn’t think was going to be there, and this is how you repay the favor, Mr. College Football Playoff Man?

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott asked the College Football Playoff management committee on Wednesday to consider expanding this year’s playoff to eight teams but the proposal was declined, playoff executive director Bill Hancock told USA TODAY Sports.

“After thorough, respectful and civil discussion, they decided that the best outcome would be to make no changes in the format, because it would have been such a significant change and would come with so many challenges, especially given that the season is already underway,” Hancock said.

That’s a shame.  Now Larry’s gonna have to argue with a straight face how his 6-1 conference champ deserves a spot alongside nine and ten-game winners.

Due to the league’s limited number of games compared to its Power Five peers, the Pac-12 would have stood to benefit most from increasing the number of teams in this year’s playoff.

A bigger tourney would have meant more TV money, too.  Sorry about that, Lar.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Pac-12 Football

Larry Scott makes his move.

The Pac-12 is back in, baby.

The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season beginning Nov. 6, the league announced Thursday.

The decision, voted on by the Pac-12’s CEO group on Thursday, represents an official reversal after the conference announced in early August it would postpone all sports until at least Jan. 1, citing health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Would the CFP accept a team that only played seven games?  Well, let’s put it this way:  they haven’t said they wouldn’t.  Besides, Larry’s got his eyes on the real prize.

Even if the Pac-12 doesn’t have a team worthy of inclusion in the four-team field, the eligibility component is important so it can be in position to collect the sizable payout. Last season, there was a $66 million base payout to each of the Power 5 conferences.

It’s always a relief when medical science aligns with profit.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

Larry Scott, a man for his time

How do you know when you’re watching an Olympic-class shitheel at work?  Paying out performance bonuses to high level employees approximately one month before half the staff was laid off or furloughed is a fairly ordinary shitheel move.

What elevates it to the truly spectacular is moving up the bonus payment schedule so that it came before the layoffs.

“I have no idea why they changed the schedule, but I was surprised,’’ one networks employee said. “I was just told, ‘Heads up, bonuses will be paid at the end of the week.’’’

A conference spokesperson said the payment timeline was accelerated to coincide with salary reductions for the highly-paid employees and because — with furloughs and layoffs possible if the football season was disrupted — the payments could be used to “support the retention of key employees.”

Yeah, I’m sure losing key employees during a pandemic shutdown was a real risk.

If Larry Scott has a bottom, I don’t think we’ve found it yet.

1 Comment

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