In his first visit to Colorado since June, Scott met with reporters prior to the annual recruiting luncheon in Denver on Thursday and discussed a variety of issues including the start of negotiations on the league`s future media rights deal, starting a Pac-12 television network, travel issues in basketball and the status of the Colorado-Cal game next September in Boulder.
Scott said the conference and Colorado have reached an agreement under which CU will receive a pro-rated share of any new revenue the league generates outside of its current television agreement, which will expire at the end of the 2011-12 school year.
The conference already has secured new revenue that meets that standard in a $25 million television agreement with Fox for the rights to the first Pac-12 football championship games and other games played throughout the year by Colorado and Utah that don`t fall under the league`s current television deal.
"They will get several million dollars next year from us because we were highly successful in negotiating our championship deal, even though we didn`t guarantee them any money next year," Scott said.
"I think that payback will come and will wind up being a very prudent financial move more based on our future TV deal."
Scott would not say which networks have expressed interest in the future Pac-12 media rights or how many might be involved in bidding for the rights, but he said "there is a lot of interest."
He said the recent move by the University of Texas to start its own network in cooperation with ESPN was another positive sign that the Pac-12 should be in a strong position to negotiate a successful television deal along with the possibility of starting its own network.
"I think the fact that ESPN has made the level of investment they have made in it validates that there is a market and validates the concept," Scott said. "In that case, it`s a school network. We`re a conference. But my view is if they can get that kind of money for a one-school network with the kind of programming they`re going to have on it, it bodes extremely well for what we`re going to do with the kind of premium product we`re going to have as a 12-team conference."
Scott said negotiations are scheduled to begin later this month and will continue well into the spring. He said he doubts there will be any kind of deal struck before the summer. The league has its spring meetings scheduled for June 3-5 in Seattle, which could be an opportunity for the league`s chancellors and presidents to approve a deal. But it`s also possible that negotiations could continue deeper into the summer and maybe even the fall.
Another area in which Scott believes the conference could be able to increase its television revenue is in more flexibility with its basketball scheduling.
Scott said the league uses a "logical and efficient" model now in which schools are paired as travel partners and league men`s games are played on Thursdays and Saturdays and women`s games are played on Fridays and Sundays.
Colorado would be paired with Utah in the future. If the Colorado men`s team is at Washington on a Thursday, the Utah men`s team would be at Washington State. The teams would switch sites for the Saturday game. Meanwhile the same four schools are playing women`s basketball on Fridays and Sundays only those games would take place in Boulder and Salt Lake City.
The downside to the arrangement is more missed class time for student athletes who often miss Thursday and Friday classes during weeks their teams are on the road. Scott said there is no conference rule against teams using charter flights but schools have found it isn`t necessary.
Bears in Boulder?
Scott is not involved in specific negotiations between Colorado and Cal over whether to play the return game of a home-and-home series in football in Boulder in September, but he has approved the idea of the teams playing a nonconference game even though they will be competing in the same conference.
Colorado traveled to Berkeley last season and the Bears are scheduled to come to Boulder on Sept. 10 this year. When the Buffs joined the Pac-10 last summer, most believed the game would be canceled as many other CU contracts for games with other league members such as Oregon, Washington and Utah were. But sources have said Cal officials have insisted on playing the game.
It is not an ideal situation for CU because it makes an already difficult schedule that much more challenging in coach Jon Embree`s first season, but the school has been willing to keep the game on the schedule to accommodate Cal.
Colorado is playing in Hawaii next year allowing it to play 13 games, or not. It could simply opt not to play the Cal game, but that would leave it with only four home games and it would cause a problem for a future conference partner.
Cal is not interested in canceling the road trip and adding a seventh home game to its schedule because it is renovating Memorial Stadium and will play all of its home games at AT&T Park in San Francisco next fall.
"I would just chalk it up, if it happens, to one of those transition issues that you have to deal with when a conference expands kind of like the reason we had to do a one-year deal for a Pac-12 championship football game," Scott said.
Expect an announcement on whether the schools will play or not in the next week or 10 days.