The Pac-12 is tapping former soccer stars like Brock Huard, Toby Gerhart and Lincoln Kennedy as it explores ways to increase the convention’s fortunes on the field and place.
On Monday, the conference announced the creation of the Pac-12 football alumni council.
The team includes more than 20 players and coaches from Pac-12 schools, including a number of active NFL players like San Francisco 49ers center Alex Mack (California), Detroit Lion to handle Tyrell Crosby (Oregon), Houston Texas receiver Brandin Cooks (State of Oregon) and The Arizona Cardinals tight ending Zach Ertz (Stanford).
Led by deputy Pac-12 commissioner and former NFL star Merton Hanks, the alumni council has met twice.
The panel discussed a wide range of topics from football scheduling and recruitment to branding and marketing.
“We have a lot of fundamental changes that have to happen in the coming months and years to come,” Hanks told The Associated Press.
The Pac-12 has not had a team selected for the College Rugby Round since 2016 and it has been dropped from the CFP for six of eight years.
Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff has insisted since being hired last spring that improving conference football and maximizing CFP selections are his priorities.
“Just the interactions I’ve had with him up to this point have been very encouraging. I think for the others on this board. I think they feel that purpose and urgency as well,” Huard said. speak.
A former Washington quarterback now calling the game as an analyst for Fox Sports, Huard said his interactions with Kliavkoff have been encouraging and helped motivate him and others to participate.
Huard said the council was more than just ceremonial.
“It’s more about passion and desire to see and hopefully help some positive change,” he said.
Because college football is undergoing major changes, from congress reorganization to expanded knockouts and less restrictive transfer rules to confirmed paid athletes, Huard saw an opportunity for Pac-12 to rapidly improve its position.
“I think there are more opportunities than there were five years ago to change your story and do it in a hurry,” he said.
Huard said members of the panel discussed how they could personally engage Pac-12 alumni and encourage them to get more involved with their favorite teams. They talked about promoting programs that aim to increase attendance and, possibly most importantly, work to promote people employed in the Pac-12 footprint that they don’t have to leave the West Coast to play. College football at the highest level.
“This is a team that is serious about taking the time to do what we can to support (Pac-12),” Huard said.
Former Southern California American Tim McDonald, who played defensively in the NFL for 13 years, said that having former Pac-12 stars sell the convention to rookies could send a powerful message.
“There’s a lot that the Pac-12 has to offer,” says McDonald. “I just think we’ve lost too many children.”
McDonald said that in addition to two formal alumni council meetings, he has had informal discussions with members about how they can promote the Pac-12’s turnaround. And the team is trying to get more Pac-12 good people to join.
“That’s the end goal,” McDonald said. “We want that alumni crowd to be as large as possible at the games to make sure that the student-athletes feel us.”
Other members of the alumni committee include Scooby Wright and Brandon Sanders from Arizona; Eric Allen from Arizona State; Justin Forsett and Shane Vereen from Cal; Chad Brown and Mike Pritchard from Colorado; Mike Bellotti from Oregon; Steven Jackson from Oregon State; Toi Cook from Stanford; Johnathan Franklin and Marcedes Lewis from UCLA; Derrick Deese from USC; Steve Smith from Utah; Dana Hall from Washington; and Jack Thompson from Washington State.
https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/32910375/pac-12-football-alumni-council-formed-boost-conference-profile Pac-12 Soccer Alumni Council Formed to Boost Conference Fortunes on and Off the Field