Fans, administrators, trustees, boosters, staff and media watch the press conference.
June 17, 2010
Transcript from June 17, 2010 Utah Press Conference
Utes Accept Invitation to Join Pac-10 Conference
Athletics Director Dr. Chris Hill
Good afternoon. I would like to welcome everyone today. It is an absolute great day to be a Ute. We've had a lot of them. I appreciate everyone being here. There is an expression among athletic directors that you are only as good as your president and administration want you to be. Our president and our administration want us to be good, and do things the right way. Presidential leadership is key. President Young has done a fabulous job of allowing us to run the kind of program we want to run. I want to introduce President Michael Young.
President Michael Young
This is a great day to be a Ute. It's a terrific day to be a Ute. We are thrilled and delighted with this invitation. We have very much enjoyed playing in the Mountain West Conference as one of the charter members. It has been a great conference for us to grow, develop and thrive. The competition has been wonderful and the cooperation among the schools has really been extraordinary. I want to start by saying how privileged it has been to be in Mountain West Conference and how much we look forward to one more year with the conference and we want thank them for being such a great partner.
This is a tremendous thing for the University of Utah. Looking at this from an athletic perspective ... the privilege and opportunity to compete with great schools of Pac-10 and the athletic tradition that those schools bring, as well as the geography. (It is a home) to fans and alumni and to students as well. The opportunity to play with those great schools is something we look forward to very much. We also look forward to the academic side of enterprise. We are a great university and I was mentioning earlier that we are only the seventh public university in the nation to receive a Nobel Prize. This is a conference of imagination, of innovation, and it captures now all of the major innovation centers in the west. We look forward to cooperation with respect to athletics but in so many other areas as well
It is truly an opportunity as we partner athletically and I am sure academically as well. We have no doubt (have) enhanced athletic and academic opportunities with the best universities not only in the United States but in the world.
In context, I also want to point out we belong in another way in this great conference. You might be interested to know since 2003 we have played 10 Pac-10 teams in football and we are 7-3, 5-0 in Rice-Eccles Stadium. Not that this is important, but we have outscored them 251-214. And our men's basketball program is 146-112 all-time. We hope that they will enjoy our competition as much as we will enjoy competing with them.
I conclude with a thought of thanks. We would not be here without remarkable supporters. Dr. Hill been here almost since the university was founded. As you know he is the great athletic director in country we are so lucky to have him as he builds these great programs. I was looking at the statistics recently and saw that we had over a quarter of our athletes on the Dean's List. We have the highest APR we have ever had in school history. It is a wonderful thing that is a reflection of great integrity as well as extraordinary coaches and athletes. I was telling Kyle (Whittingham) that without the banners in front of stadium I am not sure we would be here. Without the gymnastics program, the basketball history. All of our programs. We are so proud of our coaches to bring us to where we are, as well as our supporters. It's no accident we are holding this in Rice-Eccles Stadium, across from the practice facility of the same name and down from the Huntsman Center. I look around this room and see members of our community that made this possible every way and I look forward to that continued support.
I want to make sure we also give special shout out to our student-athletes. They are ones on the field, on the court, in the arenas, who have put us where we are. We coach, we teach, we train, but they perform. It has been wonderful group of athletes who have come through this school. I am alsok grateful to the academic side of the institution. The research and teaching arm of the university were important in this decision. My thanks go to the extraordinary senior leadership team on the academic side and well as a remarkable group of professors and professionals here. (And) our students, one of the most important groups here, the MUSS, as well as tremendous support from student leaders. I cannot tell you what extraordinary leadership I've worked for here.
We are privileged to have the governor with us today in his red tie. I mentioned this at board meeting, but I remember clearly my first year here, the last conference football game, ESPN came and did Gameday from here. I listened to it afterwards. The commentators kept calling it `Utah's University' and the partnership with the state and the support we have received by the state, I would like to invite the Governor up, who is finally wearing the right color.
Governor Gary Herbert
I do have my tie on, I have the right color here. It's a red-letter day. I am honored to be here to participate in this great significant occasion. As governor of great state of Utah, today the University of Utah is Utah's University.
Certainly there is congratulations to one and all. I would like to welcome Larry Scott here, the Commissioner of the Pac-10. Congratulations to one and all. This has been the work of many and the sweat, blood and tears of a lot. I want to thank the coaches and student-athletes. I saw Arnie Ferrin. We have a pioneer spirit and Arnie was one of those that blazed the trail of excellence on the sporting field. There were other student-athletes who were not All-Americans and were just happy to be on the team who made a significant contribution. The professors who were part of academia. The fans for supporting this program as we strive for excellence this is an indication today that the University of Utah is on the path for excellence.
So many people we can thank here. We thank the support of one and all. I know the President rubbed it in about the scores, but the University of Utah was the original BCS busters. Two times, two victories. That may be shocking to some, but not to us. We belong and we can play and we can compete. We won't forget the victory over the Crimson Tide. It shows what we are capable of here.
I appreciate the University of Utah setting an example in so many areas. It's about so many things. It's about academics. It's about research and development. We the state and taxpayers is that the good news is that we are getting a significant return of our investment.
This provides opportunities for the entire state. We want to show that we not only have a great state but great people. The exposure we will get will introduce the state of Utah to others who have not had the opportunity to show what we are capable of here. We are an example in so many ways, I am proud to be governor. And all I can say is - Go Utes.
Now the most relevant part of this, I have been authorized by board of trustees to sign this to accept. Should I?
I am thrilled to have an opportunity to sign this on behalf of the university.
There really is an enormous amount of thanks to go around and just want to reiterate we have great supporters, community leaders, coaches, student-athletes. Today is your day, it truly is.
Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott
Thank you. What a beautiful day for this historic announcement. I am overwhelmed by this tremendous reception. I want to thank everyone. I have very much enjoyed our time together as you have provided tremendous leadership and advocacy. I would not be here without your athletic academic prowess. Congratulations to all of you who have brought the university where it is today.
I am thrilled to have honor on behalf of the 10 presidents in the conference to offer an official welcome to the University of Utah. This is truly a landmark occasion. It has been over 30 years since the Pac-10 has added members. With the addition of Colorado this is truly a major step forward and one all our schools are excited about.
Utah is a great fit on all levels. Academics first, it is distinguished as one of the top 100 research institutions. Genetics, computer science and many other areas where faculty and institutions provide internal leadership. Pac-10 institutions have combined for over 100 Nobel Laureates. Utah has a broad-based commitment to 18 sports. Its success in football is very well known and has been tremendous to watch. I am well aware of Coach Whittingham's 2-0 BCS bowl record and undefeated seasons. I don't want you to feel pressure, but we expect this to continue. The Pac-10 is particularly proud of our `Conference of Champions' because we have 390 NCAA titles in history, which is 100 more than our nearest competitor. There is truly excellence across the board. I am happy to accept the 20 NCAA Championships you are bringing with you. In the Beijing Olympics, if the Pac-10 were a country, Pac-10 alumni would have been sixth in the medal count, right after Germany. With Utah's prowess in skiing, we will be paying attention to the Sochi Olympics. We are a conference that values rivalries and traditions, particularly with student-athlete involvement. I am looking forward to embracing your traditions and getting to know the most avid student fan base, the MUSS.
Geographically the additions of Utah and Colorado will help us very much going forward with media agreements, joining other top 50 media markets. The university a great fit on so many levels. It will help the Pac-10 achieve ambitions going forward. The feeling is best captured with a quote by Henry David Thoreau - Go westward as into the future, with a spirit of enterprise and adventure.
Dr. Chris Hill
In the spirit of time today, I would like to get this right. I'd like to thank everyone who has already been thanked by everyone else. I would like to acknowledge my friends in the MWC. I have a great respect for them. I especially enjoy the rivalry with BYU and it is my intention to have the rivalry to continue with a tremendous passion. I would like to get a little personal if I could, I hope no one will see this as ego driven. I called my dad several years ago when I applied for this job and he said `Chris you are one of the most delusional dreamers I have ever met.' My mom and dad couldn't believe I never moved back east, but the last picture I ever saw of my dad, he had a Ute hat and a Ute shirt on.
In athletics, and especially at Utah, we need to be dreamers with no limits and no rearview mirror. Some of the dreams have exceeded expectations. It's been pretty special. I would like to thank Larry for having the vision to invite us. I would like to acknowledge that the Rose Bowl is here. Did you get that? I want to acknowledge the Rose Bowl is here.
We really want to thank the community, students, faculty, staff and administration. I have a fabulous staff and in athletics we bond together a lot. It is pretty easy to bond when you are flying somewhere at four in the morning on a rubber band charter. We have great coaches, both what we have now and in the past. We win but we do it the right way, and that's really important to me. Great people, great traditions, I am proud to know you. From personal standpoint, this is all about family today. I have got a pretty good Utah family live and they live and die with the Utes.
All of us have worked really, really hard every day to have this invitation and this wonderful opportunity. I can tell you that we're going to work hard every day to make the Pac-10 proud when we're a member.
Every day is a win and a loss, today seems like a win to me.
One of great traditions of Pac-10 is pretty unique and powerful partnership is tradition with the Rose Bowl, one of most significant partnership in all of sports. I'd like to introduce Scott Jenkins with the Tournament of Roses.
Scott Jenkins, Vice President of the Tournament of Roses Foundation
On behalf of the volunteers and the staff of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, it is a real honor to participate in this announcement. We are proud to be part of a long-standing and historic relationship with the Pac-10 and Big Ten since 1946. We want to welcome the University of Utah and we are looking forward to sometime here in future on New Year's Day having the Utes and fans participate in the granddaddy of all games, the Rose Bowl Game.
Questions from Media
On the possibility to divide into divisions:
Commissioner Scott: We haven't decided yet. The process now is going to be to go through and dig into all those questions. Do we have a championship football game, and if so, will we have divisions and how will those be organized? All of this expansion stuff has happened at a rapid pace and now there are a lot of details we will get into.
On the rivalry with BYU:
Dr. Hill: It is my expectation that there may be some complications right away but it is our full intention to continue with that passionate rivalry.
On facilities and department changes with the move:
Dr. Hill: Just win baby. There are always things we are doing. Some of the things we will be taking a good look at are our sports medicine area, our football complex, our softball field and practice facilities for basketball. Everyone has something on their list and we always have things we want to look at, it's a matter of us continuing to get after it. There is no magic bullet and no requirement for us, but we want to get after it so the Pac-10 is thrilled to have us here.
On when competition begins:
Commissioner Scott: Utah will begin playing in the Pac-10 in the 2011-12 academic year.
On the non-revenue sports:
Dr. Hill: I talked to the coaches today but I want to sit down with each coach and program and talk about what we want to accomplish. When you compete for a championship in the Pac-10, you are competing for national titles as well. This is about me and the coaches sitting down and being challenging and realistic. We don't want to shoot too low and not so high, but we want to move step-by-step to where we want to go.
On the possibility of renaming the conference:
Commissioner Scott: There are a few conferences out there that have math problems right now. We're one of them. We intend to discuss that internally over the coming weeks and we expect we will announce that fairly soon.
On revenue sharing:
Commissioner Scott: Our conference has a long-standing policy of equal revenue sharing with some exceptions for football television revenue. We intend to keep that concept in place. There may be some changes as things evolve. The principals will stay in place. The arrangement worked out is that Utah will become a full member of the conference over a period of three years in regards to revenue sharing.
On Colorado's revenue share:
Commissioner Scott: There is an open question about the date that Colorado will come in. When we made the announcement it was 2012, but when all the dust settles there is a possibility the timetable will move up to 2011 to start with Utah. When they start in 2012 they will start as a full member in regards to revenue sharing, but if they start earlier we will have to discuss that.
On the possibility of a television network:
Commissioner Scott: There is some significance for the broader exposure of many sports and gaining more national exposure for more programs. We are in the process of developing a business plan but don't negotiate the agreements until next year.
On the developments taking place across the country over the last few weeks:
Dr. Hill: I was occasionally informed by some people what were some of the occurrences going on. There was a little bit of tension - like every second. Needless to say, it's been at the top of my mind and been kind of exhausting for the Pac-10, but exhausting for me as well.
Commissioner Scott: We are done. This concludes our activities around expansion for now. I had authority from the presidents and chancellors and for several scenarios and got approval for this. These conversations have been going on for a few months. There has been long-standing interest in the University and specifically since the beginning of June. I think will see things settling down nationally now, but I think things will get back to a new normalcy.
Dr. Hill: We only had one thing in mind so it wasn't complicated for us.
On Utah's finances:
Dr. Hill: That's not something we are concerned about today. It's about our affiliation with institutions that we are proud to be part of. It will ramp us as time goes on and we will grow into that. There is a challenge with competing with the Pac-10 schools economically, and we will get there.