February 10, 2010 in Sports

Time is right to expand Pacific-10 Conference

By The Spokesman-Review
 

PULLMAN – Are you ready for the Pac-12? Or the Pac-14?

First-year Pac-10 Conference commissioner Larry Scott said Tuesday the conference is going to examine expansion over the next 12 months, looking for schools that would “be a fit academically and culturally with the Pac-10.”

There is an impetus behind the expansion talk and, as could probably be predicted, it has to do with television contracts.

The conference’s agreements expire in 2012, meaning negotiations would begin next year.

“To me … if the Pac-10 is going to think about expanding, now is our window,” Scott said on a teleconference.

“If you’re going to consider a reconstruction of the conference, there should be a value proposition associated with that. Given that we’re about to have negotiations regarding our media rights, it makes sense that if you’re going to do it, to do it when you can monetize it and get value from it commercially, in terms of greater exposure for your conference.”

Earlier this week, the Pac-10 announced the hiring of former Big 12 Conference commissioner Kevin Weiberg as deputy commissioner.

Weiberg’s areas of expertise include expansion – he was assistant commissioner of the Big Ten when Penn State was added – and television – he also worked for 18 months at the Big Ten Network.

“A Pac-10 network was something that we were going to seriously explore,” Scott said. “The timing is such that now that we’re less than a year away from our negotiating period, our analysis and evaluation has to get more serious and more rigorous. Kevin will be an absolutely key player in that with his in-depth background.”

“There’s quite a few similarities between what I observed and worked on in the Big Ten and the possibility of this … for the Pac-10,” Weiberg said.

Motum delivers

With Abe Lodwick nursing a stomach ailment and unavailable, Washington State coach Ken Bone needed some help at the power forward position Saturday.

He turned to freshman Brock Motum, who had played significant minutes in just three games all season, and no more than seven minutes in any of his four previous Pac-10 games.

Motum responded. The 6-foot-9 Australian played 17 minutes, hit 4 of 6 shots, made both free throws and finished with a career-best 10 points in WSU’s 78-60 win over Arizona.

“He did a great job the other day,” Bone said. “I was so excited for him because he’s been working so hard. He comes in nearly every day, gets shots up and works with one of our coaches for an extra 30, 45 minutes a day.

“To see him be able to get in the game and actually be very effective was very pleasing.”

“Honestly, I was not really surprised,” said senior Nik Koprivica, the player Motum relieved. “I talked to Brock a lot, he’s an international student like me. I call him my little brother. I told him he had to be patient his freshman year, I was in the same position you were. Wait, keep working hard, your time will come.”

It did Saturday.

Bone said Motum will get another opportunity this weekend as the Cougars travel to Stanford and California, though he’s not sure for how long.

No comment from Bone

On the Pac-10 conference call, Bone was asked to comment on the ending of Saturday’s Portland State game against visiting Seattle University. He declined.

But what would a nonconference game in Portland have to do with Bone and Washington State? That’s easy. It ended with an interesting twist.

Seattle’s Aaron Broussard nailed a 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left, giving the Redhawks an 80-77 lead. Seattle had rallied from an eight-point deficit and, not surprisingly, the Redhawks were excited.

According to a report in the Oregonian, “as the shot went through, everybody from the Redhawks’ bench ran onto the floor to mob Broussard.” There was no way for the Vikings to inbound the ball and try for a last-second shot.

Sound somewhat familiar? Back in January, one WSU player jumped out on the court after DeAngelo Casto’s basket had given the Cougars a two-point lead over Oregon with .3 seconds left. A technical was called, both free throws were made and the Ducks went on to win.

Soon after, the NCAA issued a clarification of the rule, basically instructing officials to refrain from whistling a delay technical, restore order and continue on.

Which, despite protests from Portland State’s bench Saturday, is exactly what happened. Dominic Waters’ heave at the buzzer fell short and Seattle had the victory.

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