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Utah set to be welcomed into Pac-10

COUGARS

With the University of Utah poised to accept membership today in what will become the Pac-12 Conference, it seems as if the avalanche of expansion has petered out without too much damage to the status quo. Which might just be a good thing. Read on.



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Update (12:25 p.m.): The Associated Press reports that Utah has officially accepted the Pac-10 invitation.

• We covered the news yesterday with our story concerning expansion’s effect on Washington State (and there is one more item that we want to cover below). And John Blanchette checked in with his thoughts about the Pac-10’s foiled attempt to engulf the Big 12, a column you shouldn’t miss. But before we get any further along, let’s recap the news. … The Utes’ board of trustees will approve the move this morning and the school will hold a press conference – if you want to watch it, you can here – at noon (PDT). It seems to be a done deal, so much so there is a story in the Salt Lake Tribune examining Utah’s chances in the conference. … How will the new alignment effect the Northwest schools, as it looks as if Bill Moos’ favored divisional setup, with WSU, UW, OSU, Oregon joining Cal and Stanford, earning an early lead in the what’s-next race? Tacoma’s Don Ruiz examines that, talking with UW athletic director Scott Woodward. … But the key piece this morning comes from the San Jose Mercury News, where Jon Wilner breaks down the financial aspects of this expansion. Go ahead, click the link and read it. We’ll wait. When you return, we’ll get into another aspect of this that seems to be getting overlooked a little.

• You back? Good. After reading Wilner’s piece, you noticed he wrote … “so that’s $150-160 million, or about $13 million per school – and the figures do not include BCS payouts and NCAA Tournament money.” … But that assumes the money would be divided equally. And that has not been the case in the past. Will it be in the future? The Pac-10 has this formula (I was going to use the term “convoluted formula” but that would be a value judgment revealing my awful math skills, so I changed my mind) that divides the television revenue based on units, with schools getting more or less based on a number of criteria. That’s why a school like USC can receive around $11 million in overall money from the conference while WSU receives nearly $7 million. Will that formula, and inequity, survive the new conference setup? Who knows, but one thing is certain: Never have the rest of the members gone into a period of major transition with the conference’s big dog, USC, in such a weakened state. With NCAA sanctions looming, it seems like there will never be a better time to get a more equitable distribution model implemented. It will be a subject of discussion, that’s for sure. Will it come about? It all depends on the presidents and chancellors. If there is enough will among the have-nots, there will be a change.

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• That’s all for now. We’ll be back as events warrant. Until then …

 


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