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Utah, other Pac-12 members received average of $31.3 million in league distributions for 2017-18, financial reports indicate

Larry Scott, Pac-12 commissioner, speaks during NCAA college basketball Pac-12 media day in San Francisco, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. While the league, dubbed the Conference of Champions, has won more NCAA titles than any other conference in the country, it
Larry Scott, Pac-12 Commissioner, speaks during NCAA college basketball Pac-12 media day in San Francisco, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.
Jeff Chiu, AP

SALT LAKE CITY — According to figures reported by the Pac-12 Conference, the University of Utah and other member schools received an average of $31.3 million in distributions for the financial year 2017-18.

The payout includes cash from the Rose Bowl in fiscal years 2015-16 and 2016-17 that was reserved to compensate for the game being part of the College Football Playoff. Otherwise, the Pac-12 distribution for 2017-18 would have been $29.5 per school.

“This year we put a premium on increased clarity and transparency in our reporting,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a teleconference Monday afternoon.

Scott noted that there’s “continued high-level positive growth trajectory in terms of revenues and distributions” for the conference. He added that positive equity associated with ownership of the Pac-12 Networks was not included.

The conference is reporting that over the five years since deals with ESPN and Fox, along with the Pac-12 Networks, began, member distributions have grown 55 percent and revenues have risen 49 percent.

University of Colorado chancellor Philip DiStefano, chair of the Pac-12 CEO Group, expressed optimism in an announcement after the spring meetings in San Francisco. He said the leaders remain “confident in the future success and growth of the conference.”

DiStefano cited the Pac-12’s media strategy and value. The group has opened exploration into a private equity sale of media rights. DiStefano said there’s significant interest in that regard, though he declined to be more specific.

“We believe this will deliver to our universities to support our educational mission, athletic goals and thousands of student-athletes,” DiStefano explained.

Scott also painted a positive picture on the situation. He said supporting the academic and athletic missions of the schools, along with the health and well-being of the Pac-12’s student-athletes, is the conference’s No. 1 priority. “We are pleased with our growth over the past several years, and are committed to maximizing value to serve this central purpose,” Scott said. “This includes through our media strategy under which we own and control our Pac-12 Networks and have aligned our ESPN and Fox deals with our Pac-12 Networks deals to be able to bring our full package of media rights to the market in 2024.”

USA Today, though, has a different slant on things.

In other news:

SCHEDULING UPGRADE: In conjunction with the Pac-12’s decision to go with a 20-game conference schedule in men’s basketball beginning in 2020-21, the league has announced some new nonconference scheduling standards. Scott said it’s part of a “strategic plan.” Pac-12 teams will no longer be able to play non-Division I opponents in the regular season and may not participate in road buy games. Nonconference foes must have a five-year trailing NET ranking of 175 or less. Road games cannot feature an opponent with a five-year trailing average of 200 NET or higher.

INITIATIVE EXTENDED: The CEO Group voted to extend the annual funding of $3.6 million to the “Student-Athlete Health and Well-Being Initiative” for five years. In addition, funding for on-campus mental health services has been increased to $1.1 million per year.

TRANSFER RULE: The Pac-12 has eliminated the “loss of a season” rule when it comes to intra-conference transfers. “It is designed to provide student-athletes with a similar experience to any other students who decide to transfer,” Scott said.