The Pac-12 announced today that it has made a handful of decisions stemming from this year's summer meetings. The most important announcement for fans, I would imagine, is the addition of an 11 a.m. television window for football games this season.
Complaints about late kickoff times have been loud and frequent since the creation of the Pac-12 Networks. Games will now be broadcast in the 11 a.m. time slot in place of the evening time slot (7 or 7:30 p.m.).
“This is a positive step for Pac-12 fans across the Conference,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “There has been an adjustment over the last two years with our new television agreement, and we believe fans – both in our stadiums and in the television audience – will benefit."
There were other announcements, too. From the Pac-12's release:
Walnut Creek, Calif. – The Pac-12 CEO Group – made up of the presidents and chancellors of Pac-12 member institutions – restated its intent to address the evolving needs of student-athletes and reform intercollegiate athletics at the conclusion of Pac-12 Summer Meetings, the Conference announced today.
Citing alignment to their initial letter asking presidents and chancellors of their peer conferences to sign on to their 10-point reform plan, the CEO Group moved closer to finalizing an approach that better addresses student-athletes and simultaneously reaffirms the primacy of our universities’ academic mission.
"We are at a pivotal moment in efforts toward reform, and we have been delighted by the positive feedback from our four peer Conferences," said Dr. Elson S. Floyd, President of Washington State University and Chair of the Pac-12 CEO Group. "Our peers are in agreement on the need to expand scholarships to take into account to full cost of attendance, address student-athlete health, protect against unfair loss of scholarships before graduation, reduce the time demands that athletics make on our student-athletes, and incorporate current student-athletes into our governance groups.”
“Our peers have requested additional discussions on our recommended reforms around strengthening Academic Progress Rates, considering the freshmen ineligibility rule in men’s basketball, and the liberali-zation of current student-athlete transfer rules. Alignment among the five conferences around all these goals has never been more important, and we now look forward to working on the specific details to make reform a reality.”
Pac-12 Student-Athlete Health Initiative
The Pac-12 CEO Group also expanded the Conference’s Student-Athlete Health Initiative, including extending the funding of a research Grant Program at $3.6 million per year for the next three years. The program will be reviewed after three years.
As part of the Grant Program, each Pac-12 member institution will have the chance to submit proposals on an annual basis with the goal of developing research projects that advance best practices and fund product and technology implementation for the betterment of student-athlete health and well-being.
Part of this Grant Program will involve the creation of a Conference-wide repository, which will create a uniform way of collecting, analyzing, and using data across all 12 universities. The repository will be instrumental in facilitating collaboration amongst Pac-12 institutions and conference-wide research projects. Important areas of research will include head trauma, mental health, women's health, cardiac, overuse injuries, injury prevention, and hydration.
"Pac-12 institutions house many of the world’s leaders working to enhance student-athlete health and well being," said Dr. Floyd. "We are committed to advancing these efforts and establishing a mechanism to fund studies that will impact student-athletes in our Conference and across the country."
Also approved as part of the Student-Athlete Health Initiative was the formation of the Pac-12 Head Trauma Force to evaluate data for the Conference's football contact reduction policy, develop a league-wide concussion management protocol, and research projects in sports other than football.