This is getting interesting already. Now Larry Scott is officially saying that the Pac-10 has not decided how the conference will be split up. From Jon Wilner in the San Jose Mercury News:
"We haven’t decided yet," Scott said. "There’s a process we’ll now go through, working closely with our athletic directors, to dig into those questions — whether to have a championship football game and whether to have divisions."
As Wilner notes this is interesting because just 48 hours ago there was chest thumping by Colorado AD in the Denver Post:
But the lack of resolution on the division split is curious given that Colorado AD Mike Bohn told the Denver Post that the Buffs have been assured a slot in the South Division with Utah and the Arizona and LA schools.
So what might have happened? Well here is more from Wilner (emphasis added throughout):
1. Bohn was misinformed or overplaying his hand, which I doubt.
2. He was misled, which I also doubt.
3. Scott figured that his vision — a North-South split with the Bay Area, Oregon and Washington schools grouped together — would be fine with everyone involved.
Except it wasn’t … and the athletic directors let Scott know about it on a conference call yesterday … and now the league is re-evaluating …
In other words Scott totally misjudged the long standing traditions and cultures within the Pac-10. I am going to guess Dan Guerrero is one of those ADs who would have felt a lot of heat from his constiuencies - UCLA alums and students - given the comments here on BN and other Bruin online communities. What is interesting though is the following from Wilner:
It’s entirely possible that Scott, a conference newcomer, didn’t realize the extent of the NW schools’ objections to a North-South split … Or he was simply so focused on the 16-team alignment that he never bothered to gauge sentiment on the 12-team format.
If there is something to the later, we should be a little more worried about this expansion. From more I read about this, the more I get the sense that Larry Scott hasn't really thought this through. Something that shouldn't be very comforting to either Gene Block or Dan Guerrero.
Whatever the final resolution ends up being, I hope the UCLA officials are laying down bottom line figures in terms of financial returns Larry Scott is going to deliver to our university in next 5 years. There is another important takeaway from this.
The discussion going on here on BN and other UCLA online communities matter. It is not a coincidence that the strong reservations expressed here and other places coincided with the ADs expressing reservations to Scott. Remember just two days ago we read on ESPN how other plans besides North-South alignment weren't getting traction among Pac-10 officials and how the NW coaches were going to be "OK" with it. All of that changed within 24 hours.
As I said the conversation taking place here matters and we should continue to collectively watch these developments as closely we can and call out these officials as soon as something doesn't seem right. We clearly changed the momentum of Colorado dictating what should be done to our conference within less than 48 hours.