Among the agenda items for this week’s Pac-12 meetings in Phoenix is something called “Update on Pac-12 Networks.”
What that is, exactly, could be any number of things. Will the topic be the network’s meager payout to schools in comparison to the networks that the SEC and Big Ten produce?
Or could it be about the league’s decision to put only regional content on its regional feeds, meaning Pac-12 Arizona subscribers now don’t get league games not involving UA or Arizona State? Or the now-ages-old question of why DirecTV doesn’t carry it, costing the league exposure?
Similar questions surround a number of other items on the league’s meetings, which will include football and basketball coaches meeting with athletic directors today.
The Pac-12 has scheduled an “Update on Pac-12 Global Initiative,” which likely means news on its efforts of trying to increase exposure in the Pacific Rim. Like how the league sent an exhibition basketball team to China in 2014 and had Washington open last basketball season in Shanghai.
Then there’s a meeting with TV partners, which could get into the oft-controversial starting times and dates for both football and basketball, among other things.
Other items include reviewing last season in basketball and football, and the officiating in both, plus meetings with the Pac-12’s student-athlete leadership team.
“We expect a full docket,” UA athletic director Greg Byrne said. “They’ll be plenty of things to talk about.”
While declining to offer detail, Byrne said he expected to hear about the Pac-12 Networks’ regional telecast issue. The Pac-12 used to carry out-of-region games on its regional channels but switched earlier this year to what was its original plan of carrying only regional content on regional channels.
But that’s become a problem since some cable operators carry only the regional channel or carry the national feed on a secondary tier — making the out-of-region games suddenly less accessible. This was initially an issue in Tucson during the Pac-12 Tournament, because Cox Arizona does not carry the national feed at all, but Cox wound up putting non-UA or ASU games on an alternate channel.
While Byrne said there has been some discussion about changing the basketball schedule format, which has kept its traditional “travel partner” model, he said it “is nothing that has gotten serious legs at this point.”
Byrne also said the court-storming issue that has affected UA far more than any other school in basketball is being addressed among the conference presidents and chancellors, so it won’t be a formal item this week.
This is whose country?
Leave it to UA alum and restaurateur Sam Fox to give the Wildcats a welcome mat into Tempe.
Two years ago, the Wildcats tried to hold one of their promotional “road show” appearances at Tempe’s Four Peaks Brewing Company after the Pac-12 meetings. The venue then “unexpectedly backed out,” Byrne wrote in his weekly newsletter, presumably because of the location in ASU’s hometown.
UA, after all, has been aggressive in expanding its brand recently, putting “This is Wildcat Country” billboards all over the state.
But Fox opened up his Culinary Dropout restaurant in Tempe to the Wildcats. So on Thursday, Byrne, football coach Rich Rodriguez and basketball coach Sean Miller will appear at the restaurant for a program to start about 5:45 p.m.
Admission is free, and fans can RSVP via arizonawildcats.com/roadtour.
Combine could be Wildcat-free
Kaleb Tarczewski and UA’s other three departing seniors are not among the 77 invitees and alternates for next week’s Chicago NBA combine, according to a list compiled by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
The NBA’s official list is expected to be released later this week.
While Tarczewski appeared the most likely to be invited, Ryan Anderson made the all-tournament team at the Portsmouth Invitational predraft camp earlier this month.
In any case, UA seniors will likely be invited to some individual team workouts. Last year, guard T.J. McConnell was not on the combine’s initial list but eventually went, thanks in part to Miller’s lobbying, and wound up making the Philadelphia 76ers roster.
Anderson and fellow UA senior Gabe York have been training in Southern California.