Larry Scott At Pac-12 Media Day
Transcript of Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott’s address to the media:
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thrilled to be with you here today for the inaugural Pac-12 media day.
First, let me start by welcoming you to the FOX Studios here in Los Angeles, the first time we’re holding our media day here. In Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world, an important center for the Pac-12 conference. We’re thrilled to be here as we get ready to kick off what promises to be a very exciting 2011 season.
I want to thank FOX for adjusting their production and other schedules to make their facility available for us today. With all of the iconic leaders and amazing performers in the history of success that have originated from these studios, we’re thrilled to be able to talk about a similar level of excellence in the Pac-12 and in our football programs, and this is truly an ideal setting for this event. Especially given the recent announcement of the extension of our partnership with FOX and ESPN, we’re thrilled to be co-hosting you all with our partners at FOX here today to celebrate the future of this conference.
Also want to thank many of our bowl partners who are here with us today in attendance. We’ve got some of the finest bowls in the country, and really what the Pac-12 season is about is competing not just to participate in the first ever Pac-12 football championship game this year, but also to qualify for postseason play in the bowls, which is such a unique experience for our student-athletes. Something they treasure, and something that many of them look back on as one of the most exciting, rewarding experiences of their career as football players.
Finally, before we go further, want to thank our friends at the NFL and NFLPA for settling their problems so we can now concentrate on college football.
The last 12 months have brought monumental change to the Pac-10 conference, now the Pac-12. I certainly want to welcome members of the media and the football coaches and players that are here today from Colorado and Utah. Today is the dawn of a new day for this storied conference, and we’re thrilled with the additions of Colorado and Utah.
We’ve got great pride in the academic and athletic excellence and the superior levels of achievement that our conference has stood for historically. The conference moniker, Conference of Champions, has been well-earned and embraced over the years, and this past year was no exception.
Stanford continued their run at the top of the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup for now many years in a row. The Pac-10 this past year won nine NCAA Championships, the most of any conference in the country. We’ve got a string going for 45 of the last 51 years. This conference has been in more NCAA Championships than any other, and I think is well with known, in total, the conference has won more NCAA Championships than any other in history.
But this is a new era for the conference as we embrace the future, and the addition of Colorado and Utah very much helped us secure a landmark media agreement that’s going to provide for unprecedented exposure nationally for the conference. So this wonderful story of this academic and athletic excellence is going to be better told and more broadly told than it’s been before, and importantly, this media contract will provide greatly enhanced revenue stream at a very challenging time for our universities.
Our goal is that all of our athletic departments are going to be able to operate on a going-forward basis and be self-sustaining, and not have to depend or draw upon the vital resources needed by the university for further needs. And this media contract has very much put us on the path of our schools being able to do so.
We’ll have the first ever championship football game the first week of December this year, which is creating a great deal of excitement throughout our conference and for our schools.
Our schools are centers of excellence in so many areas. We’re also going to be coming up with new ways to expose that through Pac-12 Enterprises and the new Pac-12 Network that we’re working on. We’ll be able to use athletics as a bridge to promote and showcase the broader achievement of our universities and to do so in a very collaborative way for our schools.
In short, our future is as bright as it’s ever been. The success of our football programs can be directly tied to our prolific coaches, some of the best in the country, who have delivered consistent results and remarkable success through their energy and leadership, and that which they’ve instilled in their programs.
We’ve got a dynamic blend of coaches who you’ll see today, seasoned veterans and visionaries that provide attractive balance of leadership on our sidelines. The direction that they’ve provided historically has produced some of the most high-powered offenses and attack-oriented defenses, and some of the most skilled football student-athletes this country has seen. The success is a direct reflection of the caliber of our coaches.
The Pac-12 brand of football, if I can describe it that way, is as dynamic as any in college sports. Year after year we seem to produce the best quarterbacks and the most sophisticated offenses in the country, and 2011 promises to be no exception.
Nine teams return their quarterbacks this season, six of them threw for more than 2,400 yards last season. All five of the quarterbacks that are here with us today uphold the standard of play that legends before them set. I’m talking about guys like Troy Aikman, Drew Bledsoe, John Elway, Dan Fouts, Warren Moon, and Aaron Rodgers, who helped establish this pedigree and this legacy of great quarterbacks and great offenses in this conference.
But the skill level runs much wider and deeper than that position. The Pac-12 has eye-opening talent across the board at every position: wide receiver; running back; tight end; offensive/defensive line; special teams; etcetera. They promise to thrill us week-in and week-out, and elevate the standard of play throughout the conference.
This conference is also built given our unique set-up on storied rivalries and tradition. Natural pairs of rivals up and down the landscape of our conference. That’s why one of the things we’re most excited about with this upcoming football season is the split into two divisions, North and South, each having the natural rivals in those divisions. Where not only is postseason play at stake every week, but the opportunity to qualify for the first ever championship game, which will be the first Friday in December on FOX Broadcast Network, shown to what I know will be a massive national audience for this inaugural game on the home field of the team with the best conference record, which we think is a unique attraction for this event.
We’re coming off a very, very strong year in football. Oregon and Stanford both made BCS bowl games and we, obviously, had two of the Heisman finalists in Andrew Luck and LaMichael James. They both return this season.
But something we’re equally proud of is the fact that we also had two finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy. A trophy people often refer to as the academic Heisman, where Mike Mohamed of Cal, and Owen Marecic from Stanford were finalists for that award as well. And that, for us, is really a reflection of what the conference is all about. Academic excellence twinned with athletic excellence, and our football student‑athletes exemplify that and have been recognized for that nationally through the Heisman and academic Heisman that I mentioned.
Sitting here today, I can’t overstate the excitement for this conference for the upcoming season, a historic new beginning for the conference.
Let me conclude and start the next round of activities here by simply thanking you, the media, for all of your support throughout the year. Today’s attendance certainly seems to be the biggest that we’ve had in recent history. Hopefully an indication of the growing footprint of the conference, the growing awareness and excitement about all that is new and progressive about this conference.
But the Pac-10 couldn’t be recognized, and now the Pac-12, the way we want to without your support, so I appreciate you being here. We’re looking forward to the first week of September, and the kickoff of the season. Have a good day.”