Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott kicked off the 2017 Football Media Days with an overview of last year’s championships, achievements, and developments for the coming season. The 2016-17 academic year brought in team national championship #500 for the conference, which was achieved by the Washington Huskies women’s rowing team. The Pac 12 now has a total of 501 team national championships, which is almost 200 ahead of the second place conference (the Big 10 has 309).
These 501 national championships are spread over 29 sports, and the Pac 12 leads in 14 of them. If the Pac 12 was a country, it would have placed 5th in the Rio olympics in the medal count.
In addition to reviewing the numbers, Larry Scott also covered the initiatives of the conference, many of which will include advancements and research in the area of student athlete health. There will be research conducted in the areas of cardiovascular health, return to play time, and most notably, concussion syndrome. The conference is partnering with UCLA to study concussions, brain injury, and head trauma to “contribute to research in this area”. When Joe asked Larry Scott specifically about the study that came out of Boston University, he emphasized the conference’s dedication to not only contributing to the research, but also being a leader in this area. In addition, policy decisions have been made (specifically, contact rules) and the area of head trauma is definitely a “high priority”.
For the coming year, a replay model that was piloted at a few schools last year will not be expanded to all 12 Pac 12 schools. This model includes a centralized replay command center that works in tandem with the on-field officiating crew to hopefully increase the effectiveness of replay use on the field for in game decision making.
Some of you will be happy to hear that the Pac 12 is also looking at decreasing game length. During non-conference games this year, there will be fewer commercial breaks, reduced TV timeouts, and a shorter halftime so Pac 12 games aren’t so long (average time was 3 1⁄2 hours). If this model works, it may be expanded to conference games.
Stay tuned for all the football you can handle! In one month, the season officially begins!