Full Q&A with Dan Guerrero, Pt. 4: Pac-10 Expansion

JG: And the other big news, the Pac-10 went to 11 to 16 to 28 to 46 and finally to 12; the first question to ask is, you hear all these rumors, and you’re the AD at UCLA, what’s going through your mind when you hear Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor?
DG: I felt the same way when I heard the NCAA Tournament was going to 96. Look, I was intimately involved in all these discussions. All of the planning, the negotiations. I know what was fact and I know what was fiction. There was a lot more fiction than there was fact. I take a lot of the media reports and what “sources” say with a grain of salt. I know what we’re doing and I know why we’re doing it. The issue of expansion was not a fait accompli in any way, shape or form. We had talked about the possibility of this being something the conference needed to before we even hired a commissioner, because of our media rights deal was going to end in 2012. As you look towards the future, we had to evaluate what our conference might look like – is 10 the right number? Did it at least make sense to do our due diligence and look at expansion? When the commissioner was hired, that was one of the charges given to him.

JG: Do you want it to eventually to get to 16? Is 12 the right number for right now?
DG: If I had my druthers, 10 would always be the right number. The Pac-10 had and has a great conference with 10 teams. Natural rivals, geographically in the right place, and there was sort of a comfort zone. We had a unique niche on the West coast. That, and from a competitive standpoint, when you evaluate the success of the conference in a broad array of sports, there isn’t a conference in the country that compares. That being said, when you look at where the future of intercollegiate athletics is headed, we can either sit back and take it on the chin, or be aggressive. Bringing in Colorado and Utah gives us the opportunity to go to 12, to possibly have two divisions, to possibly have a football championship, to maximize the media rights package.

JG: You add Denver, you add Salt Lake City; does adding those two markets, is this the step the conference needs to become what they talk about as the power conference?
DG: It will certainly improve our profile, there’s no doubt about that. We’re adding more eyeballs. We’re uniquely situated; being on the West coast, we will dominate a particular time zone. There will be an opportunity for more of a national presence. We needed to be more aggressive in that regard. There’s a reason our football media day will go east this year. We need to make certain we do everything we can to stay in the conversation. If the talking heads are situated on the east coast, and they can’t come to us, we need to go to them.

JG: Surprisingly to me regarding Pac-10 expansion, one of the major question among UCLA fans has been how it affects the other sports…
DG: I don’t see any negative fallout by adding Utah and Colorado. Colorado is no different from a travel standpoint than going to Seattle. We play a number of Olympic sports against teams in Salt Lake City. It shouldn’t be a factor. We’ll have to tweak the schedules a little bit. But it shouldn’t change anything besides maybe how things are aligned.

JG: Do you have a preference for realignment? I’m hearing about North-South, East-West, a zipper format…
DG: I really need to study it more. We’ve talked about the possibilities. We’ve talked East-West, we talked North-South, of course, we talked about the zipper. Look, the LA market is important to everyone in our conference. We know that. The Pac-10 without the LA market is not nearly the same Pac-10…or the Pac-12. There are going to need to be more discussions.

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  • RC3UCLA

    Jon- First, I congratulate you on receiving your award! I also thank you for providing such a quality in-depth interview as well! Kudos to you as hands down, this is your finest piece of work yet…

  • UnwantedYetUndauntedGrammarPolice

    In your first question, here/hear. A word to the wise is sufficient.