Tuesday at Pac-12 Media Day I had the unique opportunity to have lunch with Commissioner Larry Scott who candidly shared his thoughts on a number of newsworthy topics regarding the conference.
Here are some of the things Commissioner Scott talked about from a national perspective during our conversation.
What was your initial reaction to the NCAA sanctions handed down to Penn State on Monday?
“I think it’s fair to say what happened to Penn State is unprecedented. I like and endorse the statement that was made. The football team isn’t bigger than the University.”
How are things coming along with the Pac-12 Network which is set to debut next month?
“We are only 22 days away. We are only airing seven live events before football starts. One of those is the 2011 National Champion Stanford women’s soccer team hosting Santa Clara on August 17. We have six college football games the first weekend. Football is the must-have content. I’m thrilled [with the progress]. I’m really proud. We had to go from a standing start.”
Do you believe the Pac-12 as a whole will be more balanced in football this season?
“When it comes to the top we’re well-positioned. With USC and Oregon, they’re being mentioned as possible National Championship contenders. We’re at the turning point now [as a conference]. We have depth at the top. The national image of the conference will change.”
What are your thoughts on the Rose Bowl likely not hosting the National Championship game in the near future?
“I had mixed feelings. I liked it for Pasadena, but I think there’s an element of confusion. The Rose Bowl brand stands alone [Pac-12 vs. Big 10]. I worry about losing the clarity of what the Rose Bowl is.”
With the new playoff system in place, are you in favor of strength of schedule being weighted more heavily under the new rules?
“I feel like Oregon was punished for playing LSU [last season]. How could you put Stanford ahead of Oregon last year? I like in a couple of years we’re moving in a different direction. It’s certainly time for that.”
Do you feel the new playoff format will stop schools from jumping from conference to conference as we’re seeing now?
“I’m hopeful for more stability and less change, but nobody’s really sure. It’s hard to say what will happen when the music stops.”
Are you content with where the Pac-12 stands right now, as a whole, with the changes you’ve made since accepting the position three years ago?
“Our schools have always been very competitive. When I was hired, we were falling behind. I feel we’ve caught up.”