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Commissioner Scott - 03.15.14.doc
supporting student-athletes where they'd like to. The proposed approach that myself and colleagues from our peer conferences are taking is really an extension of the way the NCAA is structured anyway. There have always been a recognition of differences between Division 1, Division II, and Division III, and within divisions I'm optimistic that the current discussions are going to lead toward progress in this area and allow us to do some of the things that we want to do to better support student-athletes. Shifting to more the governance and the management of the Pac-12 Conference, we announced this week a change in leadership at the conference and the deputy commissioner, chief operating officer role. I've been very fortunate and had the great privilege over the last four years to work closely with Kevin Weiberg who has been our deputy. Kevin, many of you know, was the long time commissioner of the Big 12 Conference, was the deputy commissioner at the Big Ten Conference for many years, and I was very fortunate that he was able to join me early on after I started here at the Pac-12. We've accomplished an awful lot in four and a half years, and Kevin deserves a lot of credit for a lot of what we've accomplished in that role. I've been very fortunate that someone with his experience and his talents has been by my side for most of this journey. Earlier this year, Kevin notified me that he was going to step down from full-time work and move back to his home state of Kansas, so we've had time to really think about the next step in terms of the conference management structure, and I was delighted to be able to announce earlier this week as well that Jamie Zaninovich is going to be replacing Kevin in that role of chief commissioner and chief operating officer. Jamie has seven years of experience as commissioner of the West Coast Conference, currently a member of the Men's Basketball Committee. Has a lot of experience with our conference, being a graduate of Stanford and working in their athletics department. Overall a great fit for our conference and will be a great member of our team. Brings with him very important experience, and will have very big shoes to fill with Kevin's retirement, but we're very fortunate to have someone of Jamie's skill and experience that's going to be a member of our team. So that's a quick round up of a variety of things I realize, international, national, and very local in terms of how our conference operates. But this is always a great opportunity with the media around the basketball tournament to share with you some of the major developments that are going on and some of the things that we are thinking about. Turning to this tournament here, as we get ready for what I'm sure will be a great game, I wasn't sure I was going to be saying this this soon in terms of our time here in Las Vegas, but we're announcing that we've had a sellout four sessions in a row, which obviously is a great step forward from where this tournament has been, and I think it represents great progress in just our second year here. We feel there is still a long way to go in continuing to build up this event. I want to thank our partners here in Las Vegas. It's been a great team effort. The Las Vegas events and Pat Christenson who is their president, as well as Scott Sibella, and the MGM Grand team, as well as the Pac-12 team that have worked on it. I want to thank our sponsors, including our presenting sponsor, New York Life, and thank you to the media that have been here supporting this event, helping communicate what's happening across the country, and now I'd be delighted to answer any questions you have.
Q. How aware are you of your low approval rating inside of the Arizona Wildcats fan base stemming from everything that happened last year with the officiating program magnified during this basketball season by the belief that you did not show up at a U of A home game, and a lot of people were upset with that. And for lack of a better term, a lot of fans feel you've shunned Wildcat basketball? What do you say to them?
COMMISSIONER SCOTT: First of all, I don't measure my approval ratings. I'm not running for office. Really my whole job is about supporting all of our schools and have a great relationship with all of our schools, including the University of Arizona. So I think if that perception is out there, as you say, I certainly wouldn't view that as an accurate characterization at all, both in terms of my relationship with the leadership of the university as well as certainly support for Arizona. Obviously delighted with their success, and we work very collaboratively with them. Someone had asked me about the trophy presentation. I could certainly clarify. As a matter