What do university presidents think of the Pac-12 Networks? ‘It’s a fantastic asset’

This is part three of a series looking at the Pac-12 Networks successes and failures.

For all the criticism of the Pac-12 Networks, the voices that matter most — the conference’s presidents and chancellors — are more than pleased with the networks and commissioner Larry Scott’s leadership.

We know this because I spoke to two of them.

Yep, two out of the 12.

Normally, that would be far too small of a sample size. But the situation at the highest level of the conference is anything but normal, particularly on the issues addressed here.

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Remember, Scott was hired by 10 presidents, not 12, and of the 10, only three remain in power: UCLA’s Gene Block, Oregon State’s Ed Ray and Arizona State’s Michael Crow.

I spoke with Ray and Crow, who are viewed by Hotline sources as the most influential members of the leadership group, and both are happy with the state of affairs. Scott’s approval rating, it seems, is at least 66 percent. (Block was out of town and unavailable.)

What of the remaining presidents and chancellors? Here’s the fascinating aspect, the reason for my limited scope of research.

Max Nikias took charge of USC after Scott was hired but before the Pac-12 Networks launched.

The other six schools that hired Scott and green-lighted the networks (Arizona, Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Washington and Washington State) have all changed presidents in the past two years.

There has been more turnover in the ivory towers than on the sidelines.

When plotting the Hotline’s series on the Pac-12 Networks, it struck me as essential to include perspective from the presidents and chancellors — not only because they are Scott’s bosses but also because they take a longer, broader view than fans, media and athletic department officials on the front lines.

And alternative viewpoints matter, especially when they’re the ones that ultimately, you know, matter.


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