Hill talks Utes, Pac-12 TV and more
Just returned from Chris Hill's annual, informal luncheon he holds with some members of the media. He covered many of the recent developments for the Utes, most of which already has been reported but I thought I'd give a summary. He went over the funds the Utes expect from their share of the Pac-12's TV deal with ESPN and Fox. Hill's conservative estimate is that the Utes will receive about $3 million in TV revenue from the league this year, $7.5 million in 2012-13, $11.5 million in 2013-14 and $15.2 million in 2014-15 when the Utes become a full-share member. Those figures don't include any revenue the Utes will get from the Pac-12 network. Hill said he is unsure whether the Utes will be considered a full-share member for that revenue immediately or must work up to that level. It will all come down to whether the network deal is considered 'new money,' that wouldn't exist as it does without the presence of Utah in the league. Regardless, Hill obviously is happy even with the conservative figures, considering Utah was getting $1.2 million in TV revenue from the MWC. Expansion for the football complex is on track and plans are in the works for more facility upgrades including the softball complex, outdoor tennis courts and more. All of the projects are being developed, with a priority put on those that need it most to reach what Hill thinks are Pac-12 standards. There are no plans for stadium expansion for now, he said. As for future football scheduling, Hill said he'd like to see the Utes schedule one good team, then two of lesser quality since the Pac-12 schedule is so challenging. He admitted there is no way he'd have the Utes playing Pitt this year if he had known his team would be in a BCS league. That 'one good team,' in all likelihood would be BYU, Hill acknowledged. He said he'd like to see the rivalry continue, but cautioned there is no telling how future schedules will work. However, he said if BYU does join a conference in the future he doesn't believe that in itself would affect the rivalry. On a national front, Hill said increasing financial demands and compliance issues are the biggest concerns facing athletic directors today. Hill has slightly changed his tune regarding the playoffs vs. bowls debate. Previously a fairly cut-and-dry proponent of a playoff system, Hill said he now understands the tradition of bowl games, primarily of the Rose Bowl, and can see why many want to preserve the bowls. He'd like to see some system in place that would be more like a playoff system but work with the bowls, such as adding a 'plus one,' model.