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October 31, 2011 at 6:50 AM

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott likes NCAA rule changes

Programming note: Live chat 2 p.m. today
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, who recently negotiated a 12-year, $3 billion media rights deal for the conference, favors paying student-athletes an additional $2,000 above their scholarships.
He’s received a strong consensus from conference presidents on implementing the new rule for the 2012-13 season.
Scott hasn’t thoroughly reviewed the rule changes approved last Thursday by the NCAA board of directors, but last Friday at the Pac-12 men’s basketball Media Day he confirmed the $2K payout only applies to student-athletes who receive a full scholarships. Many sports such as baseball and track and field, which offer partial scholarships to players would not be able to pay their players.
Washington State coach Ken Bone believes the extra cash could help Pac-12 teams recruit against conferences who don’t opt for the new rule.
“I don’t know if it will help, we’ll find out, but I don’t think it will hurt to basically put the carrot out there and say hey not only do you get exactly what the other schools are offering, but also here’s a couple thousand dollars,” Bone said. “I’m not positive at this point whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s going to happen. I’m glad I’m on the side of we’re going to have that money to offer.”
California coach Mike Montgomery disagrees with deregulating recruiting rules that will now allow coaches to send unlimited text messages to recruits.
“It kind of blows my mind to be honest with you,” he said. “The fact that we’re now going to be tweeting, texting, calling these kids any time anyplace, it’s hard for me to really understand. I’ve always been relatively protective of kids and their privacy. I think kids need to have an opportunity to focus on some of the things that are important in their lives such as academics and family. I just don’t know how this is going to work itself out.
“I can remember the whole evolution of all the things that have gone on in the last 30 years as to why we made decisions to protect kids’ privacy, to protect kids and give them
a chance to study and keep them away. It’s so difficult now to keep kids level headed in terms of relative to where they are and what their expectations are, to turn 340 Division I coaches on them 24 hours a day, I’m not certain how this is going to work itself out.”
However, Montgomery was in the minority on this issue. Many other Pac-12 coaches including USC’s Kevin O’Neill favor recruiting deregulation.
“I’m in favor of deregulation,” O’Neill said. “I think the less rules we have, the better. I’ve never understood why they couldn’t text to recruit anyway. I think that’s ridiculous. I
think — they don’t have to pick up their phone if they don’t want to.
“There are some people that call me. I look at my phone, and I’m like I’m not picking that up, no way. So I think you’ll see a lot of that. They all have an opportunity to do that, but
it might cut down on some transfers if you get to know these guys a little bit better and spend some time with them on the phone, or you might find out I don’t want to recruit this guy at all. He’s a moron, I don’t want to deal with him.
“So I’m for the deregulation, and the opportunity to get to know these guys better. I think the less rules we have, the better off we are.”
Scott also endorses the stricter academic measures and believes it will level the playing field, thus helping Pac-12 teams compete nationally.
He also confirmed Seattle and Los Angeles are two of the cities that have formally submitted a bid to host the Pac-12 men’s and women’s basketball tournament. It doesn’t sound as if the commissioner is favor or rotating the tournament between several different sites and would rather have it remain in one location for a certain length of time.
He expects to conference to make a decision before January 2012.
Here’s a transcript of a brief interview with Scott.

(Thoughts on last week’s rule changes.) “These things have been socialized for some time and people can quibble about whether you’ve gone too far or not far enough, but as far as the direction I think it was spot on. I personally am a big proponent of refocusing the academic standards.)
(At the high school level or with the junior college transfers?) “Really both. Entry level and staying eligible. If you’re the Pac-12 conference and some of the most elite academic institutions in the world, we want as much of a level playing field as possible because we think our schools do things a certain way. … We’d like to see these schools that we’re competing against – on the field and on the court – held to some of the same standards. I’m all for that.
“Certainly the step for cost of attendance is a good start. Again people can talk about the amount and is it enough? But we crossed the Rubicon in agreeing that one size doesn’t have to fit all. Just because every school in Division I might not be able to afford something, doesn’t mean you should prevent the schools that want to do the right thing from doing the right thing. So I really like that direction.”
(As a conference will you vote on that measure any time soon?) “I haven’t decided exactly when and what form we’ll do it, but our conference has been very supportive of that. Cleaning up the rule book and focusing on the big ticket stuff and deregulating some of the small things like texting … that kind of stuff, I’m definitely in favor directionally. I like all the moves. I commend the presidents for taking this step. … I’m hoping this will be the beginning of the journey and not the end of the journey. I like the direction that it’s heading.”
(Most teams don’t offer full scholarships. So what happens to the $2K payment in those cases?) “Well these are for full scholarships with the idea being for someone that you want to give a full scholarship – where you’ve made that decision – I want to try to cover their full costs. For me this puts student-athletes on a level playing field with other students that may be on a full ride, but (also) going to work and have some spending money. Because a lot of those student-athletes can’t. They’re practicing all the time. They practice in the summer. But it is and it has to be limited.”
(Your thoughts on schools having the option of giving multiple year scholarship instead of the one-year renewable.) “I like it. I like it in that I think it’s the right thing to do for the student-athlete to not necessarily feel like they’re being held hostage or at risk. But you got to be careful. I don’t want the pendulum to swing completely the other way. You hear from some coaches that you want to make sure the student-athletes are taking it seriously and putting in the same commitment as other student-athletes and not slacking. I think it has to be a healthy balance, but I do think year to year was too far and this I think is a step in the right direction.”
(Which cities are in the running for hosting the Pac-12 Tournament?) “I won’t confirm all of them, but I will confirm Seattle is one of the bidders.”
(What’s the likelihood of the tournament moving?) “It’s hard to say. LA is also bidding to keep it so I don’t think I’ll handicap it.”



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