Scott: Texas Network Didn't Sink Pac-16

Pac-10 commissioner Scott said political pressure, not late demand for its own cable network, kept Texas from joining conference.

An eleventh-hour push by Texas to establish its own cable network did not derail plans for the Longhorns and four other teams from the Big 12 South to join the Pac-10, commissioner Larry Scott said Thursday.

Scott, who spoke at the Rose Bowl during media day, the last stop of a three-day blitz to boost the conference's profile that included trips to New York City and the Bristol, Conn. campus of ESPN, instead blamed political pressure from inside the state of Texas for sinking the creation of the first 16-team mega-conference.

"Texas and Texas A&M separating with Baylor created a tsunami of Texas political pressure and it just got way too hot for the politicians," Scott said. "At the end of the day, I don't think it would have not happened over a deal point.

"I don't think you would have gotten that far if it was about a few dollars here or there or TV rights. That wasn't stopping it."

Instead, the Pac-10 added Colorado and Utah, its first expansion since 1978.

"We're thrilled with where we are," Scott said. "I think everyone (across the nation) seems pretty happy with where they are and are moving forward."

The Buffaloes are currently trying to extricate themselves from the Big 12 in hopes of joining the new league in 2011, but neither Scott nor other Pac-10 representatives are involved in those discussions.

Scott will get an update from Colorado athletic director Mike Bone on Friday.

Up next for Scott will be negotiating a new television contract and dividing the new Pac-12 into two six-team divisions, something he hopes can be settled by October.

Among the ideas under consideration are a geographic split and the so-called "zipper" plan, which would split up geographic rivals, allowing schools to maintain annual games against USC and UCLA, which are crucial for recruiting Los Angeles and its rich talent base.

The media deal could include the creation of a cable network similar to the Big Ten Network, but is all but guaranteed to include greater flexibility for when games start and when they are played.

For schools located in major urban centers, like USC and UCLA, they could have trouble accommodating such games without major disruptions for fans and residents, something California coach Jeff Tedford alluded to.

"The exposure for the conference and creating more TV opportunities is something we all need to take a look at," Tedford said. "We may play some away, but I'm not sure it would be a good fit with our academics and everything else that goes on at our place."

There are eight games schedules to be played on Thursday or Friday this season, but only three – UCLA at Oregon, UCLA at Washington and Arizona State at Arizona – will be contested in Pac-10 stadiums on non-holiday weeknights.

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