Highlights of Larry Scott's Q&A at Wazzu

PULLMAN -- By now you've probably heard about Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott's comment that schools like Washington State have "disproportionately benefited" from the conference's revenue sharing agreements. Here's more on that plus some of the other highlights Scott hit upon in Pullman as he fielded questions shortly before the WSU-ASU game.

Has the gap closed facilities-wise between Washington State and others in the Pac-12 from what you've seen?
I'd say the trajectory and the transformation of our conference has been nothing short of remarkable over the last two years...People are talking about the Pac-12 and the SEC in the same breath when they're talking about who's the best conference in the country, who's got greater depth. And I know when I arrived here four years ago you wouldn't have heard that out of anyone's mouth... Because of the revenue sharing agreement.. I think it really has closed (the gap) between schools... schools like Washington State have disproportionately benefited and can do more, maybe more quickly, than the other schools that have had (more revenue).

Is this your first time here since the remodel?
It's not, I have been in here every year. I make it a point to make it to every campus during the season and was delighted to come here last year and be in this facility and see it and hear about all the plans for the end zone project. It's one of the real gratifying things about my job the last couple of years is that the TV deal (has) allowed me to get around the conference and see all the amazing development that's going on.

The first Thursday Night game for Pullman on ESPN since 1990, how do you think it's working for the Pac-12 schools?
It's a feature of our new TV agreement that we play eight Thursday or Friday Night games. We have done.. four previously and I felt like it provided a great national window for our conference… It is very important that ESPN and FOX as a part of our new agreement in terms of the value proposition for them and great opportunities for programs like Washington State to get a national spotlight and get specific promotions. Those are the positive things. We realize it comes with a strain on campus and effects parking and classes and people's schedules... So, we have come up with a policy to make sure the number of weeknight games is spread evenly across the conference.

What about night games in general, the grumblings about the number of night games?
It's one of the by-products of now making sure every single one of our games is on national TV. We have got to get the games into different windows and make sure they are not overlapping. In our prior TV deals a lot of our games were regionalized or not on TV. The exposure that we are getting is enormous. As a result, we will have more flexibility... It's definitely a major adjustment... We'll sit down with our broadcast partners, as we do every year, see where we might be able to make adjustments. But it's something that works exceedingly well for ESPN and FOX Sports. Twice already this season, our evening window on ESPN has been the highest rated game on ESPN the whole day… Based on the feedback that I'm getting from the campuses, they'd like to do fewer (but) we're not going to do away with them…I think most fans understand that. But we'd like the pendulum to turn back a little bit (to less night games overall.) The numbers (East Coast as well) are actually very strong… Every school should expect that two out of three years, we're going to host a Thursday or Friday night game, but they won't have to every year.

Washington State has only had 3 day games, and had 6 night games -- has that created a competitive imbalance?
I don't know that it creates any competitive advantage or disadvantage, I hadn't heard that from any of our programs.

How much revenue per year, per team can be realized if you came to an agreement with DirecTV? Are you still negotiating?
The door is always open. We are very eager to get DirecTV to carry the network -- we have over 50 distributors including four out of the five biggest in the country. But until we get DirecTV, we won't be satisfied and that's a real source of frustration for our fans. We are always trying to engage in dialogue, but there hasn't been any movement… We are at an impasse which is a shame during football season and certainly coming into basketball season… Our fans that are customers of DirecTV are being deprived and we'd like that to chance but they are unwilling to do it on similar terms to others. So not much we can do it about right now. In terms of what the exact numbers are (how much would be realized from an agreement with DirecTV) we don't disclose that.

How happy are you right now with the status of officiating in the Pac-12?
We're always monitoring officiating every single game, every week...We're always disappointed when there are issues that arise of the magnitude of what happened in that Arizona State-Wisconsin game, or for that matter when any mistakes are made. But mistakes get made in officiating all the time, and it doesn't mean you're comfortable with that. If I take a step back to where (the officiating program was) when I came four years ago, we changed the leadership significantly, changed the technology... we recruited better officials from across the country. So by any objective metric, I feel like the officiating program has absolutely improved.

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