Pac-12 basketball teams won’t be able to feast heavily on cupcakes during nonconference play starting in 2020-21.
Conference school CEOs voted Monday to implement a scheduling standard in which teams must schedule nonconference opponents with a collective five-year trailing NET average of 175 or better, and avoid road games against teams with 200 ratings or worse.
The standards, which also include not playing onetime road games for cash or scheduling non-Division I teams, won’t likely affect Arizona. The Wildcats annually mix in home-and-away or neutral site games with highly rated teams and participate in well-regarded multi-team events (MTEs).
“It doesn’t concern me at all,” said UA basketball operations director Ryan Reynolds, who executes the Wildcats’ schedules. “Our schedules ever since we’ve been here have all been pretty safely within the standards.”
The collective average means UA can keep scheduling traditional nonconference opponents such as NAU, which had a NET rating of 287 last season, as long as it sets those games off with enough quality opponents. Pac-12 deputy commissioner Jamie Zaninovich said each opponents’ five-year NET rating will be factored in to a Pac-12 team’s collective score as of the time a game contract is signed.
Because NET ratings began only last season, Kenpom numbers will be factored in for seasons before then, Zaninovich said.
UA’s nonconference opponents for 2019-20 had a collective NET rating of 138 from last season, counting three games factored as 130 from the Wooden Legacy (opponent NET ratings for MTEs are based on the average of all participating teams).
Last season, UA’s nonconference opponents averaged 134, counting the actual NET ratings of Maui Invitational opponents Iowa State (19), Gonzaga (2) and Auburn (13).
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said league teams only occasionally have scheduled above the 175 line collectively.
“It was not a regular occurrence but this was something our coaches thought we should implement,” Scott said.
On the advice of coaches, Pac-12 school administrators also voted earlier this month to implement a 20-game conference season starting in 2020-21. The idea behind both scheduling ideas was to maximize the conference’s ability to receive NCAA Tournament bids.
Pac-12 releases financials
The Pac-12 said Monday it will distribute $31.3 million to each school for the fiscal year 2017-18, counting an average $1.8 million from Rose Bowl reserves, since the conference does not earn significant Rose Bowl revenues in years such as 2018 when its teams do not play in the Rose Bowl because of the College Football Playoff rotation.
The $31.3 million figure trails reported per-school payouts from the Big Ten ($54 million), SEC ($43.7 million) and Big 12 ($36.5 million). Overall, the Pac-12 reported revenues of $497 million, counting $127 million from the Pac-12 Networks, and gave out $354 million in total distributions.
Scott, meanwhile, received $5.3 million in compensation in calendar 2017 between his roles running both the conference and the Pac-12 Networks, a raise of $500,000 over 2016, according to tax filings obtained by the San Jose Mercury News.
Athletes who transfer between Pac-12 schools will no longer lose a season of eligibility, though the NCAA’s required redshirt season for transfers still applies to football, hockey, baseball and basketball players.
In addition, the Pac-12 will extend $3.6 million in annual funding to a student-athlete health and well-being initiative for three years.