I wanted to write a open letter to the Pac 12 to post on all their boards, but I was hoping I could post it here first and get your input...
A letter to the Pac 12: The USC lesson.
If this recent summer has taught us anything its to take the long view of things and do what is best for your school and conference in the long term. Because of the actions of Reggie Bush and speculation of what other cheating may have occurred under the auspice of Coach Carroll every National and Conference Championship during his era will forever have an asterisk and the dark shadow of cheating. It doesn't matter if it only happened once or was on going through out his coaching tenure. It was his watch, and he will carry the title of "Cheater" where ever he goes, much like a Registered Sex Offender
He fostered a system where players believed it was okay to cheat as long as you didn't get caught. It paid big benefits in the short term for USC. But looking back, with all those question marks, it hurt the school and it hurt the Pac-10.
Come October Pac-12 division talks will commence. So the question becomes, will you seek a system that provides the biggest immediate good for your school or will you make sacrifices to ensure every school's growth and make the Pac-12 a conference model that every other conference looks to not only as a model of academics, but of fairness and ultimately athletics?
Here is my humble perspective on conference divisions...
Ultimately, even with only 12 schools we could end up with 6 in the top 25 every year:
Conference Champion 0-1 loss
Conference Runner Up 1-2 losses
2 Division Runner Ups 1-2 losses.
2 Division Contenders 2-3 losses
To accomplish this I personal believe four elements are required:
Internal TV market equity - Basically outside your own team and your rival, every team should receive equal broadcast time on the Pac 12 Network & National Major stations. So that includes ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2, Fox Sports Channel, NBC & of course the Pac12 Network. All other stations are not available in all areas or part of a premium sports package.
Non-Divisional Opponent Scheduling - No matter how the Divisions are split, without this the top 3 markets in a division could lock up the top 3 markets in the other division. Meaning the bottom 3 markets in a division would only play those top 3 markets every 3 years or not at all with 8 games. This would result in the inequity which decimated the Big XII North schools. So each team needs to play its out-of-division opponents equally meaning twice every 3 years with 9 games or every other year with 8 games.
National market equity. - This means splitting the relativistic market share equitably. So given that the following markets exist:
1a USC 1b UCLA
2a Cal 2b Stanford
3a Arizona 3b Washington
4a Arizona State 4b Washington State
5a Oregon 5b Oregon State
6a Colorado 6b Utah
Dividing them into rivalries we have:
1- Los Angeles
2 - Bay Area (Cal, Stanford)
3.5 - Arizona
3.5 - Washington
5 - Oregon
6 - Mountain (Colorado, Utah)
So that's a total of 21 market points divided over 2 divisions is 10.5, so split them into 6 & 6, however you like, as long as you end up with 10.5 in each division. This assures that market share is a minimal motivation factor with the networks likely to choose games to broadcast based on performance and competitive draw. Obviously, when 2 games have equal performance and competitive draw, the networks are going to lean towards the higher market share. But this is as fair as it gets.
With these 4 criteria in place even with a Per Game Market Revenue split, it evens out and rewards success as teams contending for the Conference Championship will draw a greater National market.
So in a East-West Zipper subtracting one game for your rivalry each year you have a 5 year rotation for the other 3 non-divisional games of:
That's 3 games every 5 years for every non-divisional non-rival.
Of course the North-South (Cal Split) is geographically simple and satisfies the 10.5 market share division equity as well.