Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott views student-athlete welfare as one of the top priorities of the conference, and he made his first stop Wednesday in the latest effort to improve in that area.
Scott held a 90-minute meeting with student-athletes and administrators at Colorado on Wednesday to discuss the time demands placed on athletes.
He will hold similar meetings at the other 11 Pac-12 schools over the next several weeks.
"The big priority now is really focusing on time demands and making sure all of our student-athletes have the ability to fully engage in the opportunities available to them academically, socially, otherwise," Scott said.
In August 2014, the NCAA Division I board of directors voted to give the Power Five conferences autonomy in writing many of their own rules.
"We've done a lot in a short period of time in terms of enacting legislation to allow schools to cover the full cost of attendance, more medical benefits, guaranteeing scholarships, having scholarship money available for students that want to come back and finish their degrees," Scott said.
The concern now is making sure athletes have the time in their schedules to meet the demands placed upon them academically and athletically while also having time off.
The Pac-12 has done research on the time demands placed on athletes, and last month at an NCAA autonomy session the Pac-12 presented two time-demands proposals. The first would prohibit schools from requiring any athletics-related activities during the two weeks following a season. The second would prohibit required activities during an eight-hour period at night, allowing athletes to get proper sleep.
Scott said the Pac-12 is now in the process of talking to athletes around the conference to find out which general and sport-specific demands they have before presenting proposals to other conferences. He hopes to have legislation passed in January 2017 and put into place for the 2017-18 school year.
"I thought (the meeting) was really valuable, to be able to see where we've come from and how we've been able to really make the improvements for the student-athletes and that they're at the forefront of the legislation," said CU senior Connor Winter, a cross country and track and field standout who was one of several athletes in Wednesday's meeting with Scott. "Us being involved is huge, because it's not just people in a room that are older and don't know exactly what we're going through day to day."
Scott takes pride in how the Pac-12 involves its student-athletes. In October, the Pac-12 became the first major conference to begin involving student-athletes in its voting governance structure.
"I was captain of the Harvard tennis team and got involved on my campus and really respect the role and the voice and the contributions that student-athletes can make as part of the governance process," Scott said.
With the latest efforts of looking into the time demands of the athletes, Scott felt it was particularly important to involve them, and he said his first meeting in Boulder was productive.
"The inspiration for this in the Pac-12 is student-athletes like Connor that want everything - want the best they can be athletically and be an All-American in track and at the same time want to be a mechanical engineer, one of the toughest majors, more rigorous and most demanding academically," Scott said. "We want to make sure our student-athletes don't have to compromise."
Scott was in attendance for Wednesday's men's basketball game against Arizona. It was his first basketball game at Coors Events Center. ... The Pac-12 is not close to a deal with DirecTV to carry the Pac-12 Networks, but Scott said he remains hopeful. "I've never not been hopeful because we have really high quality content," he said. "The 73 different distributors that we have love it, fans love it, so I'm hopeful over time that DirecTV will agree to take the network." The Pac-12 has offered DirecTV the same deal the other distributors have agreed to, and Scott said those obligations don't allow the Pac-12 to change the deal for DirecTV.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.