Ask The Assistant Commish!

Feb. 23, 2001

Commissioner Hansen was away on business this week, attending an NCAA Subcommittee meeting on Amateurism and Agents inNew Orleans, so Assistant Commissioner Jim Muldoon filled in to field this week's questions!

Robert Kampfe (Chandler, AZ)
Where and when is the men's Pac-10 tournament being played next year andwhen can one order tickets?

Asst. Commissioner Muldoon
The Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament will be played March 7-9, 2002, atStaples Center in Los Angeles. The Pac-10 schools will be sellingall-session booklets to their students, fans and alumni at a later date.These ticket booklets will cost $160 and the seats will be located in thelower level of Staples Center. The schools will be releasing informationat a later date on its sales plans for the tickets.

Starting March 1, 2001, the Conference will be offering fans theopportunity to apply for all-session ticket booklets to the event.Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and thePac-10 cannot guarantee ticket booklet availability or seat location.These ticket booklets cost $135 and the seats are located in the upperlevel of Staples Center. Applicants will be notified by January 15, 2002whether they were successful in obtaining ticket booklets. Fansinterested in this option can submit an application online beginningMarch 1, 2001, by visiting the Pac-10 web site, www.pac-10.org, andclicking on the tournament link.

Bob Crandall (Roseville, CA)
Despite the NCAA's stated intention to crack down on fouling,particularly some of the play in the post, in watching other conferences,I notice that their refs seem to be calling the games the same way as inthe past. The Big 10 is a prime example, but not the only conference. Howwill this affect the Pac 10 come the tournament? Have you said anythingto the NCAA about this? Right now it seems only UCLA, which fouls a lot,will be ready to play that type of game.

Asst. Commissioner Muldoon
That is a very genuine concern and one we share. Achieving across theboard consistency in officiating nationally is a difficult task and onethe NCAA working at diligently through its national coordinator ofofficials working with the conference coordinators. It has been aconstant point of emphasis all season. The Pac-10 and other conferenceshave raised exactly the point you make in your question regardingofficiating in the postseason. The key in keeping this consistency inthe tournament is selecting and advancing officials who are calling thegames as directed.

Bill Leith (Tucson, AZ)
Dear Mr. Hansen,Three quick questions:1. Is there any conference expansion plans for the future? I thinkexpansion with two split divisions would create tremendous excitement,especially football like the SEC, Big 12.
2. When the FOX Sports television contract is up, will the conferenceconsider ESPN for its basketball and football?
3.How about CBS for football? Fox Sports does a nice job, but they justdon't reach as many homes as ESPN. The reality of it is this has animpact on recruiting. Many of our good players are leaving the West Coastto play in the Big 12, SEC, Big 10, etc., because of the TV exposure thatESPN, CBS and ABC gives them versus Fox Sports. Thank you for your time.

Asst. Commissioner Muldoon
There are no current plans to expand the conference. Expansion wasstudied quite seriously a few years ago and the Pac-10 presidents andchancellors reached the conclusion that the size of the conference as itstands now is preferable. While a football playoff would be an excitingelement, the scheduling problems caused in all sports in a 12-teamconference was a negative factor and geographically the Pac-10 is spreadover a large expanse already.

The Pac-10 football and basketball television contracts with ABC and FoxSports Net run through 2006. We are very happy with both agreements.ABC does the best job of any network in covering college football and thePac-10 is fortunate to have Keith Jackson, the voice of college football,as its regular play-by-play announcer on ABC. The Fox Sports Netcontract also has been most beneficial for the Pac-10. Fox now reachesalmost as many households as ESPN and their regional approach providesadditional programming opportunities for our institutions that would notexist with ESPN. ESPN tends to program from east to west and one of thestumbling blocks we encountered in discussions with them was their desireto have us tip off our televised basketball games at 9:00 p.m.Pacific/10:00 p.m. Mountain Time. Our institutions did not believe thiswas in the best interest of their fans attending the games and muchpreferred the 7:30 p.m. start time we currently enjoy with Fox.

The landscape often shifts in the television industry and all optionswill be explored when the current contracts expire, but for now, thePac-10 is very happy with its television partners.

Bill Swain (San Mateo, CA)
Mr. Hansen,How come officials are not allowed to be publicly criticized, and are notaccountable for their actions,especially after the Henry Bibby incident last Thursday?

Asst. Commissioner Muldoon
It is true that the Pac-10, along with other sports leagues college andprofessional, prohibit public criticism of officials. The officials are,however, very much accountable for their actions. The officials involvedin the incident you referred to were suspended by the Conference fortheir misapplication of the rules in that game. As far as publiccriticism of officials, the key word is public. Public criticismundermines the officiating program and can be used as a means ofintimidation. The coaches have many avenues to criticize officials andvoice their concerns over officiating. There are open lines ofcommunication between the coaches and the conference staff, particularlythe coordinators of officials. In addition, every official is graded inevery game by both the coaches and conference observers on site. Coachesalso submit a series of evaluations on all the conference officials atseveral points during and after the season. An official consistentlygraded low will not be given assignments in future years.

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