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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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June 9, 2008 3:06 PM

A few words from Tom Hansen

Posted by Bob Condotta

I just got off the phone a little while ago with Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen to confirm the reports that he is retiring.

Hansen did just that, saying his age (he's 70) was the biggest factor he's leaving.

"I don't have the same energy level that I did when I was younger and this is a very demanding job,'' Hansen said, also noting the travel requirements, which have gotten both greater and more difficult in recent years.

Hansen said he announced his retirement now so that the conference will have ample time to find a replacement --- he won't leave office until July 1, 2009.

Hansen said Pac-10 presidents (or CEOs in the conference vernacular to cover schools that have a chancellor or whatever) will form a search committee to bring them candidates, with the presidents making the final choice.

Hansen said he will be able to stay past that date, if needed, to get a new person in place. If a new hire is found earlier, Hansen will stay through July 1, 2009 to help in the transition.

Hansen said one of his major orders of business the next year will be to guide the conference through negotiations for a new BCS TV contract. "I wasn't going to leave while those activities were pending and not have the conference represented by someone with the experience of what has gone on before in the BCS,'' he said.

I used the interview to clarify exactly where the Pac-10 stands with its own TV deals, and get Hansen's response to some of the criticisms of those contracts.

The men's basketball deal with FSN runs through the 2011-12 season, a contract that also includes keeping the conference tournament at The Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Hansen said ESPN has never really been a viable option "because they have never had available time slots because of their other commitments that would fit our scheduling patterns. And because they didn't have good time slots, they never wanted to make an attractive financial offer. ... They would have given us Monday nights at 9 p.m., but some of our academic heads and presidents were not the least bit interested in that.''

That last comment reiterates a point I made in my earlier post on Hansen --- a lot of these things involve a lot more than him. He's an easy one to blame for some of these things, but if the presidents don't want to do it, it's not going to get done. As he told me at one point today "I don't speak as an individual, but I reflect the institutions' views.''

The basketball tournament remains in LA largely because that's where most of the sponsors for Fox and the Pac-10 are based. Until another city can make the tournament as financially viable, LA is likely where it will remain.

The football TV contracts also run through the 2011-12 academic year (so basically, the 2011 season) and now include 6-8 games a year on ESPN as well as the Saturday night ABC national package.

That means a new commissioner really won't be able to do anything about any of the conference's TV packages until the 2012-13 academic year. Hansen said the conference arranged to have both contracts run out the same year so that they could be negotiated as a package if so desired.

All the contracts for the Pac-10's bowls run through the 2009 season.

I asked Hansen about criticism that the Pac-10 has no Jan. 1 presence other than the Rose Bowl. He said the biggest reason for that is that it cannot be in a bowl that would run opposite the Rose Bowl "and none of the Western bowls will go early enough to get in front of the Rose Bowl. We've talked about it with a couple of our bowls of going that morning, but there are already four games (that morning) so the networks are either already taken or going against three other bowls, so they are not interested in that.''

Hansen pointed out the Pac-10 did have a deal to be part of a three-way rotation with the Cotton Bowl for a while in the 1990s --- that's where the No. 2 team went for a few years --- but that "the conference felt we were better off growing the Holiday Bowl. And ever since we did that, the Holiday Bowl has been sold out and has gone on to be one of the best ones on the West Coast.''

That's basically the conference's strategy now, to try to turn the bowls it is involved with in the West into major games. "We think the Emerald Bowl (in San Francisco) will grow quite a bit in stature,'' he said.

Hansen has also taken some hits for his outspoken stance against a plus-one system or a playoff --- such an idea will need the Pac-10, and consequently the Rose Bowl, to ever work. But again, he's mostly speaking for the conference presidents on that one.

"That's never been mine alone,'' he said, saying his role is to articulate the stance of the presidents as clearly as he can. "The conference presidents are not interested in expanding the post-season. They like and support the bowl system because we get 6-7 (Pac-10) teams a chance to play in the post-season.''

Hansen told the story of the growth of the Oregon Ducks the last 20 years. If there were simply an eight- or 16-team playoff system all along, Oregon might never have become more than it was in the mid-80s. Instead, it parlayed a few minor bowl berths into some bigger success, the kind of thing Hansen thinks wouldn't be possible in a playoff that would likely involve far fewer teams.

"A plus-one would inevitably grow and become a playoff and the bowls would go away,'' he said. "We think the BCS has made the regular season even better. Now, every game that is played is of interest in every part of the country. In the old days, you didn't hang on all the Big East or ACC games. Now, you'd better because (those results) may put you in a BCS game, or cost you one.''

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Posted by KrunchyKreme

4:18 PM, Jun 09, 2008


Posted by dawgfan84

4:25 PM, Jun 09, 2008

How come you didn't ask him when the Pac-10 was going to come down on USC like a ton of bricks?

Posted by naterob4

4:32 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Bob, Is Hanson serious?? the Emerald Bowl as being a MAJOR BOWL...I started laughing out loud at work when I read that. And as far as Academic advisors not going for 9pm Mon. nights whats really the difference between a Thurs. game that starts at 7:45 or 8:00??

Did you happen to ask him about the HEAT the Refs were taking this season in both Bball and Football.

Also any updates on our AD search...??

Posted by merseybeat

5:01 PM, Jun 09, 2008

He should retire today
we need ESPN now FSN plays girls basketball over mens games

AD should be choke chuck
No way do we want another SC alum

Posted by G Money

5:06 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Regardless of this argument that the plus-one would grow and the bowl games would go away is ridiculous. You can still have the dang bowl games. These cats act like everybody watches these bowl games as it is with serious interest. Um no, they don't. They watch the big ones. How many people are watching those Dec 20th games with serious interest? Such a flawed and weak argument it makes me sick. Give me a playoff. Maybe then as you say about those Oregon teams in the 80's, might have played just right and got to a championship game. And that makes me sick to say that. No excuse, and I mean none, not to do it like everybody else. Give us what we the fans want since we pay for the whole damn thing.

Posted by Gabe

5:17 PM, Jun 09, 2008

F. Guest--great remembrance of your USC experience a couple of threads back. That one is a classic and worth reading twice. I know small college smog-belt L.A. county well from many years ago. I can visualize the scene you describe so well. Last summer I ran into several large Samoan familes camping out together in Big Sur. They were all wearing USC regalia and their cars with festooned with it as well. SC Jerseys with a lot of Island names were abundant. They turned out to be great folks who really knew how to have a good time. Even had extra beer on hand for those of us who ran out. So I don't want to trash everyone associated with SC, but I think the institution as expressed in its football juggernaut needs to be laid low. Your account is another good reason why the Trojans Must Be Destroyed (after the ducks of course)>

Posted by Ryan S

5:48 PM, Jun 09, 2008

It's a great day for the Pac 10!

Posted by Sam

5:50 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Thank goodness he's gone!!! As much as I'd like to support the fellow UW alumus, he's a major reason the PAC-10 lacks exposure and recognition around the country. TV contracts are huge and we just happen to be linked to the worst sports broadcast around...FSN. Hopefully the next commish really makes an effort to promote the heck out of this conference and make adjustments to the bowl system.

Posted by UW Alum

5:58 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Thank god he's gone, I hope they get somebody in there with the balls to let everyone on the East Coast know how great this conference is. The conference needs a new TV deal first and foremost and then whoever the new Commish is needs to start backing a playoff system. You can certainly still have the bowls in addition to having the 8 team playoff (I know all the football fans out there will still watch the bowls even if they aren't part of the playoff). Now the Big 10 commish needs to go and we'll be one step closer to a playoff which is what nearly every college football fan wants, give the people what they want!!!!

Posted by Tarn

6:02 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Hansen: Good bye, good luck, and good riddance. Now lets move on to a true playoff system. The old fart stood in the way too long.

Posted by John

7:27 PM, Jun 09, 2008

You guys apparently didn't read the post.

His job was to administrate the Pac-10, not make those types of decisions. He's the extension of the university presidents' will, not the other way around.

You're just looking for a scapegoat and if you think anything is going to change because he's gone then I don't know what to tell you. You're 'not even wrong,' if I can borrow the scientific phrase. Just basing your opinion on false assumptions.

Posted by Rodrigo

7:29 PM, Jun 09, 2008

If you don't think Hansen has been a large part of the problem, then you just aren't paying attention John.

Posted by John

7:31 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Okay, Rodrigo. Show me some evidence. News articles, something. I'm not going to just believe an anonymous comment.

Posted by bobcondotashaircut

7:34 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Hansen has figuratively been retired for the last few years.

Posted by HMFD 82

3:28 AM, Jun 10, 2008

As much as I disliked Hansen, he did protect the pac-10 from getting abused from other conferences to play in the rose bowl. I don't care what anybody esle thinks, but the Rose Bowl should always/only allow pac-10 and big-10 teams to play in it. Let the eastcoasters have their tv deals. I'll keep my Rose Bowl deal any day.

It just pissed me off, when Cal got cut out of the rose bowl inplace of texas to play michigan, and oklahoma played wsu. well, the cougs in the Rose bowl just made me puke any way. heh, they haven't won a Rose bowl since...1916!

College Football stands for one thing: Tradition! I hate change.

Go Dawgs!!!

Posted by walkup99

3:45 AM, Jun 10, 2008

I donít get why everyone cryís about a playoff system. From coast to coast college football fans are crying about how these presidents and conference heads are keeping us from having a playoff, but I guess Iím the only one who sees that we live in a capitalist country, and the dollar is the mighty ruler. If we want a playoff, itís pretty simple, stop watching the BCS. Until you and all your friends make a point to not watch a single BCS game it will continue the way it is.

Posted by

6:28 AM, Jun 10, 2008

Hanson is gone! Best news in years.......he screwed the UW with the sanctions in 1993, and we have never quite recovered. So much for a fomer Husky helping us when we needed it......I hope his RV breaks down.

Posted by captainbarky

7:44 AM, Jun 10, 2008

Bob-isn't the Pac 10 based in Walnut Creek, which is about 10 miles east of Oakland?

Posted by captainbarky

7:50 AM, Jun 10, 2008

The ESPN vs. FSN debate depends on your perspective. Would you prefer to have more Pac 10 games televised or have one maybe two slots on ESPN or, most likely, one of it "family" of networks, probably in non-prime slots? Let's face it-matchups from other conferences have much higher TV ratings than the Pac 10. Why is ESPN going to suddenly drop a SEC game, for instance, which will garner higher ratings, for an Oregon-Arizona State game?

The benefit of the FSN agreement is that Pac 10 football fans usually get 3-4 games televised per week (including the ABC game) and most every Saturday men's basketball game is televised. I guess I would rather see my team's games than have the "prestige" of being on ESPN2.

Posted by Bob Condotta

8:20 AM, Jun 10, 2008

Captain Barky --- I think Walnut Creek may be a little further from Oakland than that, but that is where the Pac-10's offices are.

Posted by good ol' george

1:26 PM, Jun 10, 2008

Until ESPN gets it through their heads that the Pac-10 would benefit from having their games on Thursday at 7 p.m. instead of Monday at 9 p.m., stick with FSN.

Posted by Andy Hiegel

10:49 AM, Jun 13, 2008

Now that he's gone---can we finally get some PROFESSIONAL basketball refs? Ones that understand how basketball should be played so that we can compete with some of the rougher styles of play found around the country (e.g. Big Ten, Big 12, and Big East)? Pac 10 refs are a disgrace to the game.

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