A few fast thoughts after Pac-12 football media day, just before jumping on a plane . . .
— Sony studios wasn’t an especially showy place to hold Friday’s event, and by my count, it’s like the fifth different site in five years for it. Not sure what the league is trying for here, but some stability would be nice.
— It rained. Only the slightest sprinkle, to be sure, during the informal lunch session with coaches and players, but that’s probably not something the league was counting on.
— To clarify commissioner Larry Scott’s position on the big topic of NCAA governance that has been sweeping the country, Scott thinks it is indeed time for a “new vision,” but his remarks — both to the assembled media and to a couple of us privately afterward — weren’t critical of NCAA president Mark Emmert, as those of some other league commissioners at recent league media events. But he did say he thinks “confidence in the enforcement process is at an all-time low. The fairness, speed, consistency and thoroughness of NCAA investigations must be reviewed as well as the impact these investigations and decisions have on our universities as a whole.”
Scott talked about the one-size-fits-all conundrum in the current NCAA governance structure, wherein small schools can vote down legislation that fits the larger schools with completely different athletic agendas. He said he sees change coming there, and could envision it being something that allows the five big conferences to vote more nimbly within the current structure, or even all 31 leagues that attended a regular Conference Commissioners Assn. meeting. But the key to Scott is doing it within the current structure, not as a breakaway entity from the NCAA.
“I believe it would be a colossal failure by everyone if it gets to the point that we’d have to start talking about doing something outside the system,” he said.
— Underplayed, and wrongly so, in Scott’s address to the media was a call to modify the one-and-done phenomenon of college basketball, which I consider one of the really negative aspects of college athletics. Scott called it a trend that “threatens our credibility and the goal of balancing athletics and academics.” He didn’t offer specifics but said he was confident that “meaningful progress can be made in the next year to put us on a different path.”