Larry Scott did not back down from addressing the top issues surrounding the conference at Pac-12 Media Day, stating some major goals and aspirations of the up and coming powerhouse entity.
Here are four of the major stepping stones the Pac-12 conference will look to tackle, along with specific examples of how each case could affect the Trojans moving forward in the coming months.
Step 1: Athlete Safety (Including New Procedures to Enhance Research)
As the most talked about issue on the afternoon, safety across college football was a highly discussed matter with players, coaches and former athletes.
“We teach tackling every single day,” said Stanford head coach David Shaw. “We use the proper technique and we hope the rule is not overused.”
Others were not as confident in the referees for the new rules next season.
“Being able to get ejected on one play is rather scary,” said skeptical Cal linebacker Nick Forbes.
Spearing has been a major concern in the NFL landscape, and collegiate athletics is taking a similar step to ensure safety for their athletes this upcoming season. Most notably, only two contact practices per week will be allowed throughout the regular season.
While USC prepares for Fall Camp in the beginning of August, new rules on the amount of contact allowed in vaunted two-a-days will make camp feel a lot safer.
Players will engage in new for RFID Study to wear special shoulder pads and helmet sensors to detect injuries and measure impact of full-force contact. Scott also introduced a new Research Task Force, which will use doctors from Pac-12 schools to measure concussion impacts over a 12-month study.
Step 2: Student Finances (Including our desire to cover the full cost of attendance)
Given the financial landscape of collegiate athletics–and considering just the Pac-12’s recent boost in programming up to 750 games this season–the growth of college athletics is at an all-time high.
That being said, the issue of player compensation is definitely prevalent throughout football and was addressed with a wide variety of answers at Media Day. With implications from the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit seemingly floating in the air for months–even impacting production of EA Sports NCAA 14–Larry Scott took control of the conversation.
“Schools that have resources and want to be able to do more for student-athletes are frustrated, [are] concerned that we’re being held back from doing more for the student-athletes in terms of the stipend,” Scott said.
USC’s star wide receiver spoke with Joe Schad early in the morning. He said that Marqise Lee hasn’t secured an insurance policy yet but will look into it with family. This is rather important, given Lee’s status as a possible top-five pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
That being said, Stanford’s Shane Skov put matters into a great perspective. “People have gotten by without it before, and people will continue to do the same if the rule does not change,” said the humble leader of the Stanford defense.
The possibility of a two-thousand dollar stipend has been passed around, but as of this moment the conference is in support of some type of system to reward its players. “We’re advocating for it on the basis that the schools have the resources to do more to support student-athletes–academically, health and welfare and financially,” said Larry Scott.
Step 3: More flexibility in governance
What Larry Scott articulated on this matter is rather simple, but much more difficult to carry out on a full-fledged level. One size does not truly fit all in the NCAA, and the Pac-12 recognizes the need for group decision making on rules, regulations and systemic policies.
Larry Scott says there has been an “eroding trust” in the NCAA but he wants evolution, not radical overhaul. This then begs the question: when will any real force of action unfold?
“I think it’s fair to say there is a collective sense that everyone would like to see a different governance structure that was not exclusively presidents, who are not involved in athletic day-to-day, making the final decisions on things,” Scott said.
This can be achieved by bringing together the best of the best in administrative, personal and executive minds in a similar manner as the panel on the NCAA Playoff Board.
Step 4: Review of the Enforcement Process
This part of the plan strikes close to home for Trojan fans, given the heavy two-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions that surfaced from the Reggie Bush sanctions.
Regarding recent developments across the college landscape, Scott ventured to say “the confidence in the NCAA enforcement process is at an all-time low.” These developments are troubling for many, given a recent statement on SEC and Big 12 media days fledging more open support for change within the NCAA.
The next round of NCAA meetings are set for January, so expect even more drama to unfold in the coming months surrounding all things college football.