Media days for Pac-12 football has kicked off and for the first time in conference history the event was held in Hollywood, California at the Hollywood & Highland Center. Fans from all over the world came to attend the events for both days and was broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network. Two sessions with coaches and two selected players representing each school was split up into a group of six each day.
A series of news updates came from Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott along with media sessions for all twelve teams. Here's some of the details from what happened in Hollywood.
Expanded Broadcasts for the Network
The Pac-12 Network and Scott announced the expansion of coverage through multiple cable providers including Frontier Communications in 34 states and Cox Communications across California and Arizona. The network is now distributed to 75 cable and satellite providers without DirecTV. A deal with the major satellite distributor is still in the works but nothing is in sight for the 2016 college football season.
Another medium that the Pac-12 will be broadcasting to next season is Twitter. It was announced that 150+ games will be streamed live over the social media platform through the duration of the 2016-17 seasons. The non-football and bastetball broadcasts will be simulcast on the team's athletic website and Pac-12.com.
In addition to regular Pac-12 coverage, E-Sports will be rolled out into the future lineup for this upcoming season. A move that Scott says, "Grew out of interest from our students and faculties on our campuses." He went on say, "This makes so much sense for the Pac-12 given where we are, and as we prep for competitions to start later this fall, we expect Pac-12 E-Sports to be a very successful program for our universities."
Notes from Mr. Scott's Desk
Besides setting out growth initiates for the Pac-12 Network, Commissioner Larry Scott laid out plans for the conference to expand relationships overseas with China and Australia being targeted. "With Pac-12 global, the conference and its membership are using sports to push beyond the traditional horizons, and we look forward to continued growth and success," Scott said. "In Fact, Cal is going to kick off this upcoming football season with the first football game of the season in Sidney, Australia, this year, against University of Hawai'i." The conference has noticed great success with having basketball tournaments in China and will expand by having more competitions there in the near future.
Scott was also focused on the upcoming football season and the importance of the conference being represented in the four-team playoff. He realizes the remifications that come early in the season with competition in non-conference play. "Our depth and excellence will be tested throughout the season with the toughest schedule in the nation."Scott followed that up by mentioning a major matchup at Cowboys Stadium, "Right from the start, our teams face a hyper-competitive, non-conference slate that includes the defending national champions, when USC plays against Alabama, and 18 non-conference opponents that participated in bowl games last season." Other premier non-conference games this season feature UCLA against Texas A&M along with USC and Stanford playing Notre Dame.
Return of the Mac
Colorado Buffaloes head coach Mike MacIntyre met with the media and answered questions for a little over thirty minutes. Here's some of the better questions asked during the session.
Media: "Sefo, is he injured?"
MacIntyre: "He's been cleared. He was cleared a couple weeks ago, and he's working hard, and he's in excellent shape. He's really taken this and run with it. He's taken the high road, so to speak. We'll be cautious with him in camp, but he's doing good. He's in better shape than he's ever been, and he's really working hard, and I'm excited about watching him have a good senior year."
Media: "You guys have the only quarterback that's here. There's been a lot of turnover in quarterbacks in this conference.Are you excited about the conference because of that, because there's so much unknown at that position?"
MacIntyre: "Yeah, it was interesting; we did bring the only quarterback here. I think one year there might have been a million quarterbacks here one year. Everywhere you turned there was a quarterback. Yes, Sefo coming back is big for us. He's broken 75 records. Our team has kind of caught up with Sefo, so I'm excited about seeing him perform this year and lead our team. He's a three-time captain. That's only happened twice in the history of the school, so I think that shows his leadership ability and how much the guys believe in him. And then as far as the season, you always want to have an experienced quarterback if you can that you feel like can handle the pressure and do it, and we feel like he can. It's kind of good that you're not walking out there against a lot of senior quarterbacks this year as much as in the past."
Media: "In Arizona they're going to vote soon on recreational marijuana use. Having gone through that, even though campus laws haven't changed and NCAA laws haven't changed, have you had to address that in the locker room to make sure there's no confusion with your players about that?"
MacIntyre: "No, not really. It's definitely something that's against the law on our campus . The NCAA drug test, we drug test, so it's no different than it would be anywhere else.I guess it's an issue that you have to deal with daily. You were asking about if it becomes legal. It's an interesting deal, especially when it first becomes legal."
Media: "I'm not sure if you heard the story that came out two days ago about the comments made by the Chancellor of the University. Can you please address those comments?"
MacIntyre: "Yeah. I've talked to quite a few of our players, and not one of them has ever heard that or used that or anything. I think it was something that happened about 10 years ago the way I understand it. The diversity on our campus and within our athletic program is very important to us, and Rick George has done a phenomenal job of us analyzing and looking into everything with our diversity and our program. Talking to a lot of the players I've talked to since I came out, they were just dying laughing about it saying they've never heard anything about it whatsoever, and they feel very, very comfortable and love the campus and love what we're doing there at CU. I kind of take it as a bump in the road, so to speak."
Media: "What's been your biggest challenge so far in building this program?"
MacIntyre: "Wow, that's a great question. Well, we were so far down when we got there, and I think the biggest challenge in the Pac-12 has been we have improved, but everybody else was so far ahead of us, and they're still driving 80 miles an hour. We've been trying to drive 120 miles an hour to catch them. I think we've gotten close, and we're at that point. I think retaining and building the talent and developing the players, we've been able to do, so it's taken a little bit more time because we were not able to go out and get ready-made guys that were ready to play, developed at 18 years old. We've developed them and they've developed themselves, and now they're really good players, and so they just need to get some size and strength on them. And they've been able to do that. So I guess the patience and persistence to keep pushing them."
A full transcript of the Interview with Coach Mac can be found here.