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Tom Hansen on the Hot Seat

I have sat back and observed some of the comments in regards to Pac 10 commissioner Tom Hansen and how he seems woefully out of his depth.

I heard his interview on Cowherds show and came away with some of those same feelings. His reluctance to move forward and bring the Pac 10 into the new millennium on a number of issues has many believing that he is out of touch with the needs of the Pac 10. His recent comments about pulling out of the BCS if there is a plus 1 play-off I think were a bit premature. Of course he would listen, he knows how to negotiate but his hanging on to the old arrangement only boxes him into a corner.

He has a great product in his basketball programs and he is missing the boat in not trying to negotiate with ESPN to get these teams more exposure. He has 5-6 teams that will do good things in the coming years and his unwillingness to strike a deal only shows how out of touch he is. As great as it was the old Pac 10/Big 10 exclusivity that was attached to the Rose Bowl needed to give way in order for the BCS to work. And whether we want it or not a Plus 1 scenario will happen. The networks want it, some of the schools want it and many of the fans want it.

His insistence on keeping that Rose Bowl alliance in place only hurts the Pac 10 and makes it more difficult to settle it on the field. I understand that he is trying to look out for the Pac 10 and it's interests but his unwillingness to listen only sets things back. Outside of the Rose Bowl what other major bowl games do we see the Pac 10 represented? The answer? None. And I don't want to hear about the Holiday Bowl, no one is rushing home to see that one. I am talking New Years Eve or New Years Day games.'s Stewart Mandel also thinks that Hansen is out of touch.

Pac-10 commissioner Thomas C. Hansen, on the other hand, is what you might call an "ultra-traditionalist." Hansen's affiliation with college football dates back to his years as an undergrad at Washington in the late 1950s. He first worked for the Pac-10 when the league was still called the Athletic Association of Western Universities and had only five members. He's been around long enough to remember when only the conference's champion went to a bowl game and nobody really cared about the "true" national champion.

From his comments over the past few years, one gets the impression he'd gladly return to those days in a heartbeat. At the very least, if he had to do it over, he never would have let his conference and the Rose Bowl get sucked in to the BCS, which disrupted his league's most treasured annual tradition and, on two occasions (2001 Oregon and 2003 USC), jobbed one of its members out of the title game. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Hansen is threatening to cut ties with the BCS if it were to adopt a "plus-one" game (a title game played after all teams' bowl games) when the current contract ends in 2010.

I understand Hansen's anger at his conference being shut out of the title game in 2001 and 2003 but is continued negative attitude towards the system in place is tantamount to throwing the baby out with the bath water. The BCS certainly isn't flawless but the have gotten it right more than wrong. It is a system that has evolved to address issues as the come up, sometimes too late but try they will. You can't un-ring a bell, the BCS is the system we have, I certainly don't think we are going back to how it was before I don't care what Hansen thinks.

I think some of Hansen's aims are true but he is going about it the wrong way. He two of the premier football and basketball programs in his conference, and their success has only raised the bar within the conference. Why not leverage that standing in order to get a better deal. To me it is all about exposure, his conference AD's and coaches have worked to put a great product on the field now he heeds to work to get the exposure our teams deserve in order to get their fair share of the pie. Hell, if Notre Dame can negotiate a sweet deal with their poor product of late why can't Hansen get a deal for the Pac 10?