HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — The first half of Pac-12 Media Days brought good news and bad news when it comes to the conference’s cable networks.
How you view the news depends on the cable or satellite system to which you subscribe.
If you’re a Cox Communications customer, and an Arizona Wildcats fan, Thursday was a happy day.
The Pac-12 announced that Cox will carry the conference’s national network on its “essential” programming tier in Arizona and parts of California. Cox previously carried only Pac-12 regional networks in those markets. Now Cox customers will have access to both.
The Pac-12 national network airs 35 football games (every one the league gets) and more than 100 basketball games, including conference tournament games. Arizona’s games against Grambling State and Hawaii will air on Pac-12 Network.
“All football games, the majority of our basketball games (and) our Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament will be available to the widest population of fans in those territories in HD,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said. “So that’s going to mean more eyeballs and, I think, more satisfied fans.”
The Pac-12 national network will be available on channels 70 (standard definition) and 1070 (high definition) for Cox subscribers. The regional network — consisting primarily of Arizona- and Arizona State-oriented programming — will be on channels 75/1075. Cox plans to implement the changes by Aug. 2.
Additionally, Cox subscribers will have access to all seven Pac-12 networks through the TV Everywhere app.
Cox serves about 400,000 subscribers in Southern Arizona for various services, a company spokeswoman said.
Meanwhile, Scott reported no progress with DirecTV. The Pac-12 Networks are entering their fifth year of existence without distribution on the nation’s largest satellite provider.
Scott and other Pac-12 officials had hoped to break that impasse last year, when DirecTV merged with AT&T, one of the conference’s main sponsorship partners. However, negotiations collapsed.
Talks remain open. League executives remain frustrated.
“We’ll continue to pursue it,” Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans told the Star. “I will not be happy, I will not be close to satisfied, until Pac-12 Networks is fully distributed.
“DirecTV is an outlier. We now have 75 providers who value our content and want to deliver it to their customers. I feel bad for DirecTV customers, particularly the ones who are in our footprint who have the ability to watch the Big Ten Network and the SEC Network, yet they can’t get their own Pac-12 Networks.”
One alternative for DirecTV subscribers who are fans of the Pac-12’s “Olympic” sports: A minimum of 150 events will be live-streamed on Twitter during the upcoming academic year.
Jones ‘good to go’
Arizona senior safety Tellas Jones has been reinstated and is “good to go” for training camp, UA coach Rich Rodriguez said Thursday.
“He’s served his penance,” Rodriguez said.
Jones was suspended for spring practice after a Feb. 7 traffic stop in Scottsdale. He subsequently pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges (marijuana possession, speeding).
Jones ranked fifth on the team with 55 tackles last year, including seven for losses. He is a candidate to start.
“He doesn’t have any experience in this new defense, so he’s going to (take) awhile to learn. But nobody does,” Rodriguez said. “There’s going to be some growing pains for us. I understand that.”
Senior defensive lineman Sani Fuimaono has dropped almost 50 pounds since the Dec. 19 New Mexico Bowl.
Fuimaono, who’s 6 foot 1, now weighs 267 pounds. He played in the New Mexico Bowl at 315.
Fuimaono made the changes to his body in part because he’s playing a new position, defensive tackle vs. nose guard. He looks and feels like a different person.
“Ever since I dropped all this weight, my body has felt great, especially my joints,” Fuimaono said. “As you know, I’m on the older end of the spectrum on this team. (Fuimaono recently turned 24.) I need all the help I can get.”
Fuimaono lost most of the weight by changing his diet. He stopped eating desserts, dairy and white rice, instead dining on chicken breasts, brown rice and broccoli. Breakfast often consists of oatmeal with honey.
• Rodriguez said offensive lineman Freddie Tagaloa is healthy after missing spring and the end of 2015 because of a knee injury. He will compete for a starting job, likely at left guard.
• Linebacker Michael Barton, a grad transfer from Cal, is expected to have an immediate impact. Barton likely will play inside linebacker.
• Rodriguez said injuries aren’t the only reason linebacker Derrick Turituri is no longer with the program, but he declined to elaborate.
• Rodriguez said he’s hopeful linebacker Jake Matthews (foot) will be healthy for the start of camp. Rodriguez said Matthews’ offseason workouts have gone well.
• The UA is still waiting to hear from the NCAA whether receiver Zach Benjamin, a transfer from South Florida, will be eligible to play this year, Rodriguez said.
• Rodriguez said it’s been a major challenge to figure out what opening foe BYU will look like with a new coaching staff. Rodriguez and his staff have been looking at a lot of old and different film.
• Rodriguez is happy to have the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility but said Arizona still needs an indoor practice bubble because of the harsh summer weather in Tucson.