An article from the East Valley Tribune in the Phoenix Area.
Commissioner: Pac-10 not in an expansion mode
By Bob Moran, Tribune
The Atlantic Coast Conference's pursuit of Miami (Fla.) hasn't brought expansion back into Pac-10 discussions, commissioner Tom Hansen said this week.
"We just had an ADs meeting," Hansen said. "We observed what was happening. But no one was particularly concerned about the fallout reaching out here."
On Tuesday, ACC presidents and chancellors voted to expand by three institutions. In addition to Miami, the 50-year-old conference is expected to bring in Syracuse and Boston College, though Virginia's governor and the state legislature are pressuring Virginia to insist that Virginia Tech replace Boston College as the third addition.
If the three teams are invited, it likely will spell the end of Big East football. Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Rutgers and West Virginia would be looking for a new home. Temple, a weak sister in football, was already on its way out of the conference, to be replaced by Connecticut.
The ACC's expansion aspirations involve improving its football situation for the next round of postseason television contract negotiations after the Bowl Championship Series deal with ABC expires in January 2006.
By expanding to 12 teams, the ACC could split into two divisions and — like the Big 12 and SEC — hold a lucrative championship game. A Gator Bowl official recently said 12-team conferences will rule college football after the BCS contract expires.
Hansen has fielded a few calls about Pac-10 expansion in wake of speculation other conferences would also make moves to better position themselves if so-called mega-conferences emerge. One southern newspaper guessed the Pac-10 would invite Utah and BYU to have 12 teams, split into divisions and stage its own championship game.
That seems unlikely. The Pac-10, which is based in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, has serious philosophical issues with Brigham Young and doesn't consider it a peer institution of higher learning.
One sports example of the Pac-10's differences with BYU is the Cougars' insistence of not playing on Sunday. That would create scheduling problems the Pac-10 would just as soon avoid.
"There is no apparent obvious candidate for membership in this conference," Hansen said.
Hansen indicated a football championship game wouldn't work in the Pac-10 because the conference is too spread out.
A championship game would have to be played in Los Angeles, the largest media market, he said. A matchup of, say, Arizona State from a southern division and Washington State from the north wouldn't sell tickets in Los Angeles.
"We've had no mention of any interest in a playoff game," the Pac-10 commissioner said. "We talked about it when Penn State (moved to the Big Ten). The most consistent comment was we do not want to divide into two divisions. Everyone wants to play in L.A. once a year for recruiting purposes."
The ACC led all conferences in revenue sharing last year with an average payout for its nine schools of $9.7 million from bowls, NCAA and ACC basketball tournament money, and national and regional television contracts in football and basketball.
Hansen said the Pac-10 divided approximately $70 million, with each school receiving about $7 million.
"Without a football playoff," Hansen said, "that's not bad."
While the ACC is positioning itself for more exposure and additional revenue with more competition, the Pac-10 is concentrating on being the leader in reforming intercollegiate athletics.
"We are very supportive of the reform movement," Hansen said.
The Pac-10 is pushing hard to take student-athletes off the practice field, even if the athletes oppose it.
Additionally, several Pac-10 faculty senates are teaming with counterparts in the Big Ten to enlist the aide of the boards of trustees of the conference schools to get all decision makers on board for reform, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported. Representatives of the two bodies met last month.
"Myles Brand met with a number of those folks," Hansen said, referring to the NCAA president. "He said it was productive and a good meeting."