The Pac-12 is in a bit of turmoil. Recent subpar performances by Pac-12 schools during the football season along with an embarrassing showing at March Madness has this conference spiraling towards the drain. Oregon, an school experiencing an athletics uprising, just had sanctions placed on their basketball and track teams, which doesn't make things better. Larry Scott's ineptitude has been documented frequently, to the point where athletic directors from schools such as Alabama (Greg Byrnes) are stating a lack of welcoming constructive criticism from Pac-12 leadership. This mainly concerns the lack of collaborative leadership and the conference's revenue distribution model.
So what needs to change? What can be done to prevent the Pac-12 from going even further down the rabbit hole? For starters, a better Pac-12 Network contract must be negotiated. The Pac-12 Network is in crisis mode, with some carriers such as AT&T U-Verse dropping the Pac-12 Network. It also took the Pac-12 Network a while to get added on. If the Pac-12 Network is to succeed, they must relaunch the network in some way. If it means letting a major network such as FOX take a stake in the Pac-12 Network the way the Big Ten did with their network, that's fine. If it means trusting ESPN to come up with a new Pac-12 Network of their own and in the mold of the SEC Network and ACC Network, that will do fine as well. Either way, the Pac-12 Network needs a better contract that will have more money invested into it. Getting a major network/outside company such as FOX or ESPN to help with the funding and construction of the network will go a long way in getting the Pac-12 relevant again. After all, money talks.
Another action that needs to be taken is getting rid of Larry Scott himself. Scott hasn't done a good job establishing a sense of leadership the way commissioners such as Bob Bowlsby (Big 12) have. If the Pac-12 is to succeed in the future, it cannot have Scott steering the ship. Who might be a fit with the role of Pac-12 commissioner? Why not someone such as Lynn Swann, who has taken on the role of athletic director at the University of Southern California after Pat Haden retired. Swann has also served as the Chair of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under the Bush Administration and has served on numerous company boards, including H.J. Heinz and Wyndham International.
Would expansion help the Pac-12 as well? Maybe. Obtaining another market would help broaden the Pac-12's reach. However, expansion won't be touched... at least for now. Still, expanding the Pac-12 won't solve all the conference's problems in one fell swoop. After all, the Pac-12 is going to need different remedies to address their issues.
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