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In panel with Big Ten boss, Pac-12’s Larry Scott says ‘radical’ change endangers sports

First Published      Last Updated May 23 2014 04:21 pm

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott says "radical" plans to award benefits to student-athletes might result in the elimination of less prolific sports.

Scott met Wednesday at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club with Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany for a panel discussion about all things college sports.

Scott said that while football and men's basketball undoubtedly generate revenue, the revenue they generate needed to support thousands of student-athletes in other sports.

"The real shame in all this discussion is if some of this discussion leads to extreme or radical solutions that suck a lot of the resources that are being used to support these Olympic sports and women's sports ... and that would be an awful shame," Scott said (watch it here).

U. President David Pershing was among the Pac-12 presidents to send the NCAA a letter in support of more autonomy for the five most powerful conferences. Such autonomy would allow the Pac-12 to adjust stipends, medical and insurance assistance and academic emphasis.

USA Today reported Friday that the Pac-12 generated more revenue during the 2012-13 fiscal year than any other conference, at $334 million.

Scott has said that the Pac-12 is among the conferences that, while opposed to some more dramatic measures, is trying to find ways to improve the lives of student-athletes.

"There's a lot of carping going on there," Scott said (link here). "Congress is getting involved, there's efforts to unionize, there's lawsuits. So there's a lot of criticism of the system, and I think this is a statement saying the leaders of our institutions, of intercollegiate athletics, are reform-minded, want to do more, intend to do more, will do more."

The other members of the so-called Power Five are Delany's Big Ten, the ACC, Big 12 and SEC.

Scott and Delaney agreed Wednesday scholarships should be worth whatever the full cost of attendance is at any school. Delany said the stipends should also reflect the cost of living in different locales.

"My bottom line is students should receive what it costs to go to college," Delany said (video here) "Anything more than that constitutes pay for play."

The discussion between Scott and Delany will air on Pac-12 Networks at 11 p.m. MDT on Friday, with encore viewings at 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.

— Matthew Piper

mpiper@sltrib.comTwitter: @matthew_piper