Moos previews what may be hot Pac-10 meeting

THE PAC-10 WILL culminate a week of headline-grabbing this Friday when conference athletic directors meet in Los Angeles to hash over whether – or how best – to divide the league into two divisions. TV revenue sharing in the new Pac-12 could also be a hot topic. Washington State's Bill Moos, the dean of Pac-10 ADs, figures to play a key role in the discussions.

So far this week the Pac-10 has paraded all of its football coaches and a handful of its quarterbacks through New York and unveiled a new Pac-10 logo. Tomorrow is the annual football media day, to be held in the Rose Bowl rather than the traditional hotel near LAX.

But all that PR could pale in comparison to the news that does or doesn't come out of the league's meeting of athletic directors.

Moos told Cougfan.com late yesterday that the agenda figures to be centered on whether to divide into two divisions in some or all sports.

He denied a published report that a proposal to divide television revenue equally among Pac-10 schools will be a major part of discussions in Los Angeles -- though that notion is one he embraces "wholeheartedly." And for good reason. If a large new TV contract for the conference is coming, as has been speculated, and if that revenue is split equally – half of the money from each appearance goes to the school on the field and the other half to the rest of the league – then WSU would get a windfall.

Moos said the potential size of the increase in WSU's annual TV income could be "about $12 to $15 million, maybe even more."

WSU received $2.8 million in TV football revenue last season and $791,000 for basketball. In addition, the Cougars made nearly $184,000 from "local" telecasts set up outside the standard Pac-10 contracts.

For perspective on what an increase of $15 million would mean to WSU athletics, consider that the annual budget for the entire department currently is $30 million.

Pac-10 schools currently pocket 55 percent of TV income when their teams perform on TV, while the non-participants receive 45 percent. Most other Bowl Championship Series conferences go 50-50.
Moos said he's uncertain if his allies will approve a 50-50 plan. Washington AD Scott Woodward, for one, has come out strongly in favor of such a plan as long as the league abolishes the rule that gate receipts at rivalry football games are split equally between the two teams. Washington's Husky Stadium seats twice as many fans as WSU's Martin Stadium.

AS FOR THE DIVISIONAL alignment issue, Moos said he certainly expects football to be split into two divisions so a lucrative conference title game can be played (the NCAA requires leagues to have at least 12 teams to play a title game).

One of the key issues in the discussion will be geography and, more specifically Los Angeles. Because Southern California is a hotbed for recruiting, every team in the conference wants to continue playing one game a season there, vs. either UCLA or USC. If the two LA schools are assigned to a southern division, then the northern division schools can probably expect to be in LA only every-other-year unless some gerrymandering is agreed upon.

Moos said he's not certain which way the ADs are leaning on divisions in other sports.

"Everyone has their own agenda right now," Moos said. "It's going to be interesting to see how it plays out. I don't think anything is going to be decided this week."

Indeed, school presidents have the final vote on league matters such as division alignments.

LOOKING AHEAD TO THE additions of Colorado and Utah to the conference, Moos said he's interested to see how many votes the Pac-12 will require to approve conference changes. Eight votes are required in the Pac-10.

"In the old days," Moos said. "when USC, UCLA and Washington were pretty much the ‘haves,' they could control that. You couldn't get that eighth vote.

"When we got the Pac-10 basketball tournament (started), several years back, we could get seven votes every time in a straw vote but we couldn't get the eighth until we could convince UCLA. That's why that tournament is in the Staples Center every year, because to get their vote, we had to put the tournament in L.A."

NOTABLE:

  • Moos, who hopes to revive the "annual home football game" at Seattle's Qwest Field after a one-year break this season, said he tentatively plans to bring in Oregon or Oregon State each year. The previous Qwest games were non-conference affairs. Qwest seats almost twice as many as Martin Stadium, which has a capacity of 35,117. All seven Cougar games at Qwest drew between 41,000 and 64,000. Moreover, the university turned the days leading up to the game into a major marketing and community-building blitz of Seattle.

  • Moos said the Cougars are "in the late stages" of finalizing a contract with ISP sports marketing of Durham, N.C., to handle WSU's radio rights and signage. ISP has handled WSU's in-stadium and arena marketing for a number of years. Under the new deal, KXLY of Spokane – which has long held the contract for WSU radio broadcasts -- would no longer serve as WSU's flagship station, but will continue to broadcast Cougar games.

  • Moos, who said he is working the Spokane market in person most Mondays year-round, will join WSU men's basketball broadcaster Bud Nameck every week for an hour-long call-in show on KXLI 700, Spokane's ESPN Radio affiliate. The show will air at 10 a.m. Mondays, starting this fall. Moos' Spokane focus doesn't end there. He said he's looking at holding a spring football scrimmage -- not necessarily the Spring Game -- every year at Spokane's Albi Stadium.

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