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Originally published October 31, 2013 at 10:04 PM | Page modified October 31, 2013 at 11:55 PM

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Pac-12 commissioner addresses league’s night games

Commissioner says the feedback he’s received indicates member schools would like less night games in future seasons.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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PULLMAN — Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott conceded here Thursday night prior to the Arizona State-Washington State game that sentiment is widespread in the league “to see the pendulum swing back a little bit“ after a flood of night games in 2013.

“I get a lot of feedback when I go to campuses,” Scott told reporters in an informal press conference. “We’d like to see it adjusted a little bit. Based on the feedback I’m getting from campuses, they’d like to see fewer (night games).”

Scott explained that some of the reason for the increased night games is the new FoxSports1 channel, an arm of Fox Sports, which has taken an option to show more games at night.

“The advent of FoxSports1 as a dedicated sports channel is one of the reasons we do have more evening games,” Scott said. “I think that’s why people are feeling a significant difference from last year to this year.

“Long-term, (FoxSports1) will be great for our conference. They’re going to be a robust competitor with ESPN, they do a great job of production and we’re one of the featured rights-holders. They’re going to do a great job promoting Pac-12 football.”

Scott was reminded that when he was appointed commissioner in 2009, his mandate from the presidents was to make more money.

“The higher priority when I came to the conference was: How do we get more TV, how do we get more exposure, how do we get our revenues up?’ ‘’ Scott said. “We’ve been able to address it.”

The revenues have created a boom in facilities on Pac-12 campuses that Scott called “dramatic.”

“People are talking about the Pac-12 and the SEC in the same breath,” Scott said. “I know when I arrived four years ago, I wouldn’t have heard that out of anyone’s mouth.”

This week, WSU president Elson Floyd, who chairs a CEO group within the league, expressed concern about the proliferation of night games and said, “It’s increasingly becoming a hardship for virtually every institution in the Pac-12.”

Floyd announced last spring a cancellation of Thursday-afternoon classes at WSU before this game because campus parking lots used daily for faculty and staff were needed for fans and boosters.

Rest doesn’t help

Washington State began wading through the final third of its schedule against Arizona State, and it’s fair to say the Cougars’ 2013 agenda is unlike anybody else’s in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

WSU began with eight games on the first eight weekends of play, going longer than anybody else in the Pac-12 without a bye.

But following the Oct. 19 game at Oregon, Thursday’s game with ASU marks the only time WSU will play in a 28-day period. It has a 16-day gap until a meeting at Arizona Nov. 16.

Asked if he feels his team seemed refreshed in practice with the extra time after the Oregon game, WSU coach Mike Leach said: “I think that was important to us. We’ve gone the longest in the conference and among the longest in the country without an off-week.”

Notes

• WSU S Taylor Taliulu was ejected late in the first half for what was ruled a targeting hit on ASU tight end Chris Coyle. Taliulu had to sit out the rest of the game, but will be available for WSU’s next game at Arizona Nov. 16.

• With ASU running a fast-paced offense, coach Todd Graham makes varied uses of timeouts, often calling them when his defense is on the field. Ten times, he has used them on defensive third downs, and seven times, his defense has denied a conversion.

Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or bwithers@seattletimes.com




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