Notes of Note: The "Don't Blame Me" Commissioner; Bravo Reveno, MLB Greed
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott was on the air again last week offering up his usual excuses for his conference’s inability to garner national respect and reach the College Football Playoff.
The “don’t blame me” apologist was talking to a Salt Lake City radio station about the Pac-12’s myriad problems. To hear Scott tell it, the conference’s failures are all about “a perception problem” and “an East Coast media bias.”
Unfortunately, perception is reality. The perception that “the conference lags behind,” as Scott describes it, is true. The Pac-12 hasn’t had a national football champion since George W. Bush was in the White House (2004), and it hasn’t had an NCAA basketball champ since Bill Clinton was President (1997). In the six years of the CFP, the Pac-12 has had only two participants.
The best way to change the national perception, of course, is to win more games. But to win more games, the conference needs two things that it currently lacks: money and TV exposure. The other Power 5 Conferences generate tens of millions more dollars each year—per team—and get much more national TV exposure.
Which all translates to better resources, better facilities, better coaching, and better recruiting. Which all translates to more Ws.
No need to beat a dead horse here, because we’ve written about this many times, but the blame for the conference’s woes rest squarely on Scott’s shoulders. His national TV contracts with ESPN and Fox (which don’t expire for four more years) are inadequate in terms of both money and primetime exposure, and his Pac-12 network is a joke.
So here’s the reality, folks The gap between the Pac-12 and the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 will continue to widen, and the perception ain’t gonna change.
Bravo Reveno: The NCAA on Friday encouraged its 1,100 member schools to give athletes the day off from sports on election day, Nov. 3. All over the country college coaches and players have organized team-wide voter registration efforts, marches and rallies. Many pro teams have done the same.
The #AllVoteNoPlay movement started with a suggestion from a Georgia Tech basketball coach, Eric Reveno, who suggested, on Twitter no less, that student-athletes be given the day off to vote.
You may remember Reveno from his days as a bruising, space-eating center at Stanford. He went on to become an assistant coach on the Farm, head coach at University of Portland, and now associate head coach at Georgia Tech.
Years ago, I had the chance to work on a project with Reveno. He’s a good guy—serious, committed, always socially conscious, always one of the smartest guys in the room.
MLB Greed: While the NBA announces plans to resume next month and the NFL is committed to starting a full season in September, the sport with the most to lose—major league baseball—can’t get its act together.
It’s no secret that baseball has been battling declining attendance and declining interest among the younger demographics. So much so that Commissioner Rob Manfred, a man clearly over his head in his job, spends most of his time obsessing over ridiculous ideas on how to shorten games.
A missed 2020 season would only exacerbate baseball’s problems, but the gang that can’t shoot straight hasn’t been able to reach an agreement over the format of a shortened season.
League officials and owners are haggling with the players over—you guessed it—money. Seems the tone deaf owners, who’ve seen the value of their teams skyrocket over the last 20 years, don’t want to pay players the full pro-rated value of their contracts for the number of games played.
These same owners, in most cases, have cancelled $400 a week stipends for their minor league players—a virtual pittance given their inflated bank accounts—and they shortened the recent MLB draft from 40 rounds to five to save money.
Talk about shattering the dreams of young ballplayers all over the country.
No major league baseball in 2020 would be a shame. But it would also be a huge fan turnoff for a sport that really needs to focus on building support right now.