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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

May 6, 2014 at 12:25 PM

The Pac-12 does a little housekeeping in Phoenix . . .

The Pac-12 Tuesday morning began its annual spring meetings at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, and it’s uncertain whether anything momentous will happen, or whether the meetings will be routine. At any rate, nothing final can occur, because presidents and chancellors don’t jump into the picture until the league’s June meetings; anything happening now would take the form of a recommendation by the league’s athletic directors.

The format: Football coaches met Tuesday morning, and basketball coaches (men’s and women’s) in the afternoon. The athletic directors join each of those groups Wednesday to hear concerns, etc.

Football coaches were expected to listen to some routine stuff on the league championship game and a review of officiating from coordinator Tony Corrente. No doubt there was talk about NCAA matters like cost-of-scholarship issues, the Northwestern unionization movement, and oh yes, the SEC’s controversial decision to stay at eight league games while the rest of the country goes to nine (a move that has drawn the ire of several Pac-12 coaches).

Basketball coaches were due to hear from Jamie Zaninovich, newly hired from the West Coast Conference, and in recent years, a member of the NCAA Division 1 basketball committee, who will discuss the selection process.

Got to believe there will be some interesting asides given what’s been going on in the state of Oregon, with Craig Robinson’s ouster at Oregon State, and a report of alleged sexual assault linked to three Oregon basketball players, for which there will be no charges filed.

(By the way, that was a telling OSU-website headline on the Robinson news: “Craig Robinson relieved as OSU basketball coach.” Not as relieved as a lot of Beaver partisans.)

Dave Hirsch of the league office describes the meetings as usually more on the informative side. But you never know what kind of recommendation might emerge from the athletic directors.

Meanwhile, Hirsch says the league will do something several other major conferences are doing: Going to multiple football media days — two, in the Pac-12’s case, July 23-24. The SEC has been hogging publicity over three days with its event, while the Pac-12, even as it expanded from 10 to 12 schools, stayed with one. It became a cumbersome, hurried event, with virtually everything jammed between 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The new format should allow things to go at a more relaxed pace and — I’m sure this was a topic within the league office — to get more attention for the conference.

And remember the “zipper” format that was discussed as a way to align divisions when the league went to 12 — you know, put Washington and WSU in opposite divisions, Oregon and Oregon State, etc.? That’s the way they’re doing media days. Having USC and UCLA on separate days ensures that the LA media contingent hangs around for both days.




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