PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – JULY 31
By Leo Haggerty

COACH SPEAK PLUS

Had a chance to be a part of the media portion of the Pac-12 Football Schedule Release Webinar.  The four people speaking were Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott and Stanford head football coach David Shaw, along with Arizona State athletics director Ray Anderson plus Oregon State Senior Associate Athletics Director Dr. Doug Aukerman.

Had a chance to ask a question of AD Anderson and Coach Shaw.  Their responses to my queries are very interesting and insightful if I do say so myself.  Enjoy.

LH : The NFL makes $7.25 billion dollars yearly on TV revenue.  If the pandemic forces a football season played with no fans, can the athletic department at PAC-12 schools survive or is that revenue needed to keep all the other sports going?

RA : Well, certainly, we are not the NFL.  The TV revenues, for not just the PAC-12 but for all the other conferences, are important as a source.  So, to the extent that you could do it safely for your student-athletes, and provide an opportunity to compete, it can provide your TV content if you want to do that.  So long as it’s safe within the parameters set by the local authorities, the PAC-12 authorities and Dr. Aukerman and his colleagues who will give us some guidance there.  If we can present it safely, without fans or with limited fans, our intent is to do that because if you cannot watch it in stadiums, you can watch it on TV.  We’ll do everything we can, reasonably, and that will be dictated by the medical guidance that is presented.  It is important to the revenue.  There’s no question about that.

LH : Depending upon what TV station your players watch, they’re told it’s either a deadly virus or it’s the flu.  How difficult is it to convince them that this is extremely important and that you need to take precautions?

DS : Once again, I’m very grateful to be on the PAC-12 working group with Dr. Aukerman.  We stayed as far away from the political nonsense as possible.  We talked about the things that we know are facts.  The things that we know that can stop the spread of the virus.  And, on top of that, the state, national, city and local governmental mandates that, regardless of your political affiliation, we have to follow to do what we have to do.  Regardless, our student-athletes understand that.  In order for us to play, there are guidelines that are given to us by the authorities.  There are guidelines given to us by each campus that may be slightly different going from campus to campus.  In order for us to play this game that we love, we are going to have to follow those.  It’s not about the politics.  It’s not about what comes on TV.  We try to avoid that as much as possible and it becomes difficult.  For our student-athletes, that’s not what’s important.  What is important to them is what can we do to allow them to play this game that they love and we’re trying to set up the best possible scenario for that to happen.