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Utah football: Pac-12 commissioner Scott talks NCAA reform

Published July 26, 2013 5:43 pm

College football • Scott believes $2,000 stipend should be part of upgraded scholarship rules.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Culver City, Calif. • Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott sided with other major conference commissioners in acknowledging changes must be made in how business is conducted in college football, but he stopped short of saying the "Big Five" conferences should totally divorce themselves from the NCAA's current system.

"At the end of the day, a lot of people thought realignment would be the end of the world and then the music stopped and it didn't look that much different," he said. "I think this is going to be one of those deals."

Scott's remarks came during the Pac-12 media day at the Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, Calif.

The scenario in which the Pac-12, SEC, ACC, Big 12 and Big Ten could break away and form their own super league outside of the governing hands of the NCAA sounds like a made-for-the-movies drama, but Scott believes a solution can be made without deconstructing the NCAA.

The sticking point for the big five leagues is a desire to give athletes a $2,000 stipend to help cover the cost of college attendance.

Schools in the smaller conferences have shot down the idea because they say they can't afford it. However, Scott said he doesn't like the idea of the smaller schools dictating what the bigger conferences do.

"Conferences like ours, with the amount of money we have coming in, we ought to update and revise how we do things," he said. "I don't think student-athletes should be paid, but the scholarship rules haven't changed since the 1970s and that is wrong. There has been a lot of change to college football since then and we have the means to take care of the student-athletes. It is the right thing to do."

Some fear the widening gap between the bigger conferences and the Mountain West, American Athletic Conference, Sun Belt, Mid-American and Conference USA could eventually lead to a time when the Big Five play each other exclusively.

While Scott acknowledged there likely will be fewer games against teams from the Football Championship Subdivision as the strength of schedule becomes more important in the future, he doesn't think there will be as much of an "us versus them" scenario as some imagine.

"I don't see any scenario in the next few years where we are only playing amongst the five," he said. "I don't think that would be healthy. I do think we need more autonomy and more control over the structure of how decisions are made."