*** The Pac-12 Hotline newsletter is published each Monday-Wednesday-Friday during the college sports season and twice-a-week in the summer. (Sign up here for a free subscription.) This edition, from Aug. 19, has been made available in archived form.
The NBA Playoffs are underway, and the Pac-12 has carved plenty of space for itself in the Orlando bubble.
The active postseason rosters include 29 conference alums — one of the highest totals in the NCAA based on a per-school basis.
The Pac-12 has 2.4 players in Orlando for every school, same as the ACC and nearly double the Big Ten’s total.
And they’re mashed together: Five playoff teams have at least three Pac-12 products.
“People forget how many great players have played in the Pac-12,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said during a recent conversation. “Just look at Toronto’s roster.”
The defending NBA champions have four Pac-12 alums.
The SEC leads all conferences with 39 playoff participants, or 2.8 players per school.
Here’s the Pac-12 rundown, based on rosters published by ESPN and with an assist from Jesse Hooker of the Pac-12.
UCLA: Aaron Holiday
UCLA: T.J. Leaf
Washington: Justin Holiday
Arizona: T.J. McConnell
Washington: Markelle Fultz
Washington Terrence Ross
Arizona: Aaron Gordon
USC: Nikola Vucevic
Oregon: Chris Boucher
Arizona: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Arizona: Stanley Johnson
UCLA: Norman Powell
Arizona State: James Harden
UCLA: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
UCLA: Russell Westbrook
Stanford: KZ Okpala
Arizona: Andre Iguodala
Arizona: Solomon Hill
Utah: Delon Wright
Stanford: Dwight Powell
Stanford: Brook Lopez
Stanford: Robin Lopez
Arizona State: Lu Dort
Colorado: Andre Roberson
Washington: Matisse Thybulle
Colorado: Alec Burks
Cal: Jaylen Brown
Oregon: Bol Bol
Utah: Kyle Kuzma
And if you’re wondering about a breakdown by school …
4: Stanford, Washington
2: ASU, Colorado, Oregon, Utah
1: Cal, USC
If the numbers don’t match your recollection of regular-season rosters, remember that some players have opted out of the bubble. — Jon Wilner
We’ve been busy …
• The Hotline began the week with an examination of the Pac-12’s media rights: To what extent will the canceled season impact the $275 million (approx) that ESPN and Fox owe the conference this year? We spoke to two experts, and both believe the sides will work for an equitable solution. But clearly, the Pac-12’s case for cash would weaken if the SEC, Big 12 and ACC play this fall.
• We also addressed a Covid-19 development that made headlines over the weekend: The FDA’s emergency-use authorization for SalivaDirect tests. Are the tests a game-changer for college football? Did the Pac-12 pull the plug too soon? Turns out, SalivaDirect doesn’t solve the conference’s need for speed. “There is nothing special about that test.”
• Then came Tuesday, and the results of a Hotline deep dive: We obtained key documents in Under Armour’s attempt to end its 10-year agreement with Cal after just three years — and with about $58 million in outstanding cash and product at stake for the Bears. Then we asked an independent expert to review the documents. And then we published all of it, including Cal’s blistering response to UA’s notice of termination.
• In case you missed it (ICYMI): Yes, spring football can work in the Pac-12, but it will require supreme effort and creativity. Our plan for the conference limits the physical toll on the players and gives coaches enough roster flexibility to navigate a nine-game season.
• ICYMI II: Pac-12 basketball officials have quietly been crafting a return-to-play strategy that uses the six travel partners to create weekend pods. It’s damn smart.
• ICYMI III: Still confused about the factors that led to the Pac-12’s decision to shutter football? Last week’s newsletter outlined the issues with a form of algebra. Call it the Hotline’s cancellation equation … Previous editions of the newsletter are available in archived form.
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• Washington State has lost two key players, receiver Tay Martin and defensive back Skyler Thomas, to the transfer portal in the week since the conference canceled the season. (There will be more in the portal by the end of the month, from all across the conference.)
• Good look at the Covid-19 backdrop from Buffzone’s Brian Howell, who interviewed a member of the Pac-12’s medical advisory board, Dr. Stephanie Chu. She’s “confident” sports could return early in 2021.
• Discrepancies in testing protocols from team to team led to the creation of #WeAreUnited, according to two Stanford players involved in the movement.
• Did the Pac-12 presidents have union busting in mind when they voted to cancel the season? The Press-Enterprise’s Jim Alexander thinks so.
• Let’s assume momentarily that the Pac-12 plays in the spring. Would Washington’s top talents participate, or opt out because of the NFL Draft?
• The best interior defensive lineman in the conference, USC’s Jay Tufele, has opted out of a spring season.
• Oregon’s players could head home for the fall or remain in Eugene and make use of the swank facilities.
• A brief scouting report on three Cal players with NFL potential.
• What’s next for Arizona’s players and coaches, who were supposed to open the regular season next week against Hawaii? It’s not as simple as “just moving on.”
• Count Lane Kiffin among those in favor of Pac-12 and Big Ten players being granted immediate eligibility if they transfer to conferences that are moving forward with the season. (Shocking that Kiffin would say that.)
• Finally, from the department of alumni relations: Gotta love Alex Smith’s comeback.
• Mike Yam, one of the Pac-12 Networks’ most visible on-air personalities, is moving on after eight years anchoring studio (and remote) shows. He will be missed by the schools and the viewers alike. Although Yam announced his departure last week, it was unrelated to the conference canceling the season. Our guess: There will be more news to come from the Pac-12 Networks in the weeks ahead.
• Washington is asking fans for help, in the form of donations to the athletic department through the “Huskies All In” campaign. Athletic director Jen Cohen informed constituents that UW could lose up to $70 million without football. (The Hotline would have pegged the figure closer to $90 million.)
• The push for playing March Madness in 2021 got a major endorsement: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski ramped up the pressure on the NCAA to find a solution, any solution. “We can’t have it where two years in a row you don’t have the NCAA tournament.”
• Meanwhile, the NCAA is expected to release plans for the start of the 2020-21 regular season — it’s scheduled for Nov. 10 but could move — sometime in the middle of September.
• Cal coach Mark Fox, a member of the Pac-12’s working group on men’s basketball, is confident science will win out and the conference will play early in ’21.
• The Pac-12’s decision to cancel all sports competition until Jan. 1 has left early-season basketball tournaments with holes in their brackets and Pac-12 teams with uncertainty about their schedules.
• The latest top-25-and-1 rankings from CBS Sports columnist Gary Parrish feature three teams from the Pac-12, but none in the top half.
What’s coming on the Pac-12 Hotline:
• If there’s no college football this fall, might we see NFL games on Saturdays? The Hotline spoke to a handful of media industry analysts and spent time researching a 60-year old federal law.
• Faithful readers are undoubtedly aware that the Hotline has no shortage of ideas for the Pac-12. Our latest involves the networks. It’s not out of left field; it’s from beyond left field.
• Later this week, we’ll address an anniversary, of sorts.
The next newsletter is scheduled for Friday. Enjoy it? Please forward this email to friends (sign up here). If you don’t, or have other feedback, let me know: [email protected]
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*** Pac-12 Hotline is not endorsed or sponsored by the Pac-12 Conference, and the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Conference.