PAC-10 CONFERENCE

League expansion under review

Best time to grow is now, Pac-10 chief says, citing TV deal
2010-02-10T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:53:59Z League expansion under review Patrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 10, 2010 12:00 am  • 

The Pac-10 will spend the next 12 months considering expansion for the first time since 1978, commissioner Larry Scott said Monday.

"To me, the logic is if the Pac-10 is going to think about expanding, it's now," the first-year commissioner said. "If you're going to consider a reconstruction of the conference, there should be a value proposition associated with that."

That value, he said, is television. The conference's current television deals expire at the end of the 2011-12 school year.

It could make sense to expand "when you can monetize it" with a television contract, Scott said.

The commissioner stressed the Pac-10 has "had no serious discussions with any individual institutions."

He praised the conference's unique setup - five sets of two regional teams.

Whether the Pac-10 would have to find similar partners within an expansion plan wasn't clear.

"Fundamentally, institutions would have to be a fit, academically and culturally, with the Pac-10," Scott said.

Colorado, Utah, Boise State, San Diego State, UNLV and Brigham Young could all appeal to the conference, for different reasons, though BYU does not play on Sundays. The Pac-10 is considering changing its basketball schedule, which could include more Sunday games.

When Scott was hired seven months ago, he said it was his duty to look at expansion.

University presidents aren't more interested in expansion now than they were then, Scott said, but acknowledged a sense of "intrigue" and "curiosity" relating to the Big Ten's declaration last year it would explore adding another team.

Scott said he hadn't felt "any sense of pressure" to expand simply for that reason.

The Pac-10 last expanded in 1978, adding the Wildcats and Arizona State.

Scott referred to "a whole analysis you go through in terms of cost benefits" before a decision could be made. He said the league will not name a special panel for the issue.

"Our group of presidents and chancellors are very engaged right now in the most important strategic issues of the conference going forward," he said.

UA interim athletic director Kathleen "Rocky" LaRose was traveling and unavailable for comment. Basketball coach Sean Miller said he liked the league's scheduling and the fact it "crowns a true champion" every year.

Asked if he favored the current 10-team structure, Miller demurred.

"I know our commissioner is trying to make our conference better," he said. "So if expansion is at the forefront of his thoughts, I'm sure the research has talked about it as something that's been good for all parties."

Reporter Bruce Pascoe contributed to this report

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