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SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 20, 2012
JIM STERK:Â During this time of change and it's something that's happened, the change has happened over the last three years.Â There will probably be continual change, and we have a strategy to deal with that and a leader that will work through that.
And I'm also blessed at San Diego State to have someone like Dr.Elliot Hirshman as our president, who's a strong leader and someone that I really respect and is a great person to have at this time.
But I think what in athletics we're trained to you know, in athletics we deal with setbacks and challenges, and we never know one day to the next what we're going to be faced with, or in a game you never know what you're going to be faced with.Â But I think what in athletics we're trained to regroup, to come back stronger and work hard to make things turn out very, very positive.
And it made me think of today as I was thinking about what to say to you all was the great example is our football team this year.Â You know, we started off a loss and then we ended up we were 2 and 3.Â A lot of people started to question our football team of do we have the players, are we going to have a winning season, is there going to be a bowl in our future this year, and now we sit here at 8 and 3 going to play a tough Wyoming team this Saturday and playing for a conference championship, going to a bowl for a record third straight season.Â And that happens because of hard work, leadership and perseverance, and I can say that the Big East took a hit, may take some others, but I can tell you that the league will continue to be strong.
Right now it sits as one of the Top 5 in the country performance wise.Â We have six ‑‑ five, six programs that have been in the Top 10 in the last six years and we'll continue to do that and challenge for the BCS championships next year and we'll continue to do it after that.Â So I'm excited about the future and wanted to make sure that that was clear and the direction that San Diego State is taking.Â So with that I'll open up to any questions you might have.
Q.Â Is the situation a lot more fluid than you were anticipating or hoping to face?
JIM STERK:Â You know, just as recently as a few months ago I was talking to a colleague in another league where there's been some change.Â But he felt things were settled for four to six years because of the long TV contracts.Â But the Big 10 changed that yesterday, and then suddenly there's a ripple effect through the nation basically when a decision like that is made and teams move.
So surprised, but as I said, we're in a complicated game of musical chairs.Â There's a lot of things moving around, and you want to be a part in a conference that has an opportunity to be a national brand, and that's what we have in the Big East.
Q.Â Is this sort of a line in the sand drawn somewhere?Â Obviously it might not be good to reveal it, but we'd love you to.Â Is there a point where you go, hey, we gotta change this whole thing up.Â Maybe talking in terms of forming or going back into the Mountain West or that sort of thing.
JIM STERK:Â Yeah.Â I want to make that clear.Â I think a lot of Craig Thompson, but he hasn't talked to me since May.Â So there's been no discussion about San Diego State going back into the Mountain West conference.Â So I just wanted to make that clear.
But I think ‑‑ I don't speculate.Â I try to look and see where things might go, and as we looked at the Big East to begin with, we knew there would probably be some change.Â But I think ‑‑ I believe in the national strategy that they developed, and I think it can really pay off, both from an exposure of the program standpoint and from a revenue standpoint.Â And those are not ‑‑ one's not stronger than the other, but I think this institution has been on a tremendous growth mode, and I think athletics can help do that.
The two guys that you just had in here prior to me are doing a heck of a job in helping that continue to grow.
Q.Â The landscape significantly changed and probably will continue to, do you have a clause in your agreement or contract with the Big East that says, if these certain teams are not there when we're scheduled to join, we can pull out?
JIM STERK:Â No.Â There's not specifically any teams, but they used kind of I think a similar contract with all the teams that came in, that there's some check points of where the buy out would be reduced if certain things happen, but to tell you the truth, I haven't looked at that because I'm one to move forward, not backwards.
Q.Â With the amount of people in that Big East that may move forward as well, Maryland vacated the ACC.Â We're hearing Louisville or UConn may jump out of the Big East.Â The Big East in 2013 may be just San Diego State by the time that comes around?
JIM STERK:Â Well, for a conference of one that doesn't work, obviously.Â But I don't see that happening.Â I see ‑‑ I think the east‑west strategy in football can work, and to tell you the truth, it gives us opportunity.
Q.Â Is there any scenario you can envision where you would stay in the Mountain West?
JIM STERK:Â I don't see it at this point.
Q.Â How come?Â I mean I feel like with so much ‑‑ it seems so tenuous right now I feel like.
JIM STERK:Â But if you look at the western division that was announced and if Temple goes to the eastern division, there's an opportunity for a western school, so the majority of our games, nothing's changed from yesterday to today.Â And so I don't see that changing significantly in the future to warrant a change.
Q.Â In the article this morning you were quoted as saying one of the motivations to move the Big East was the TV contract and eyeballs.Â You've lost your biggest market, that being New York, with Rutgers going out.Â I don't know how strong Rutgers was in that market to begin with, but all of a sudden the reasons you're moving are dissipating and you don't have a new contract.Â Are you concerned about the fact that an estimated contract with the Big East may be much less?
JIM STERK:Â Well, I think, you know, the contract and the TV deal got a lot of noise because of dollars and cents and speculation and all that.Â But that wasn't the only reason for the move.Â If you talk to rocky Long or if you talk to coach fisher, I think the opportunity for us to move forward and get more exposure for our program, put our program more on a national level than we have been, those are part of the reasons why moving forward.
Yeah, the money is great, but I don't see it going backwards, and it'll be significantly stronger than what we have right now.Â So yeah, there may have been a hit there, but I don't know what that is.Â It's all speculation, and I think as I said to start it off, I think we have one of the best leaders in the country to be in a position to maximize that opportunity that the Big East has of being the last major conference that's going out into the marketplace.Â And there is a huge appetite for live intercollegiate sports that has been expressed to him, and I think moving forward will continue.
Q.Â Jim, couple things.Â I mean now that the east might lose a couple teams, does that give you thoughts to say add a western team?Â Like have you had talks with Mike about that yet?
JIM STERK:Â Yeah.Â I think it does give the opportunity that there ‑‑ and where that might be ‑‑ who that might be, I'm not sure.Â So there will be a balance of with the western schools there's Texas schools and us out here.Â And so I don't know where it'll be, but it'll be a lot closer than Temple.
Q.Â And would you say that the fate of Boise State are sort of tied at this point?Â Like if Boise said tomorrow that they're leaving, what would SDSU do?
JIM STERK:Â Well, I don't look backwards.Â I think San Diego State and Boise State made a statement yesterday that we're moving forward and there's no question that we're not going into the Big East.Â So I don't speculate.
Q.Â I know you haven't talked to Thompson since May, but is it possible or can you speculate on whether the Mountain West could make moves to try to coach other teams around the conference, try to beef up their own conference?
JIM STERK:Â I think they've done that, and I complimented them on San Jose and Utah State additions, that that was a good move for them.Â And I don't wish them any ill will, but I think we have ‑‑ we made the decision to move for a number of reasons, and you know, I wish them the best.
Q.Â Moving forward in the Big East, is there any chance that you're other sports or any other sports may join the Big East, such as men's basketball?
JIM STERK:Â You know, other sports have a challenge of playing multiple league games in a week, and that presents a challenge that's unlike football.Â And football has fewer games.Â So as far as league games.Â So I think, you know, who knows how this thing evolves down the road, but there could be something forming in the west, if you will, and that could happen, but I think it could be under the umbrella of what we have right now, and I think we have, as I said, a strong leader and will help work through all of that.Â But I don't see right now where basketball is going to play Big East basketball.
Coach Fisher, you know, I was excited of the relationship of having some Big East games.Â Well, I don't know if I want to go all the way east to play basketball games.Â And so that's the concern right away.Â But we're going to have some games with a Temple and with a Memphis and others moving forward that we're going to be playing those schools on a home and home relationship, and I think here and there it works out in basketball.Â But I think a steady diet, that wouldn't work.
Q.Â If Craig Thompson was to call and inquire about your interest in coming back to Mountain West in football, would you have an open ear or is it, hey, we're going to the east?
JIM STERK:Â You know, we've had those discussions of ‑‑ before the decision was made.Â And there wasn't anything compelling that would have us make a move like that.
Q.Â Jim, perhaps being a bit facetious, but do you think this league, the Big East should perhaps consider selling naming rights to a new name for the league, because you don't really want to be known as the big whatever because of all the morphine, but I don't know, the Big East is maybe ‑‑
JIM STERK:Â I'll leave that up to some other people than me as far as the marketing and the branding, but I think there is a brand with the Big East that's national in scope, and I'm okay with the western division of the Big East right now.
Q.Â And Jim, is there any concern on your part, when you joined the Big East it was a BCS conference and it will be for a year and then everything is changing.Â Are you concerned at all that this Big East basically becomes ‑‑ not to knock a Mountain West, but another Mountain West conference, another second tier conference which you left behind to try to get to a bigger conference?
JIM STERK:Â I think there's a big separation from where we are now to where we're going.Â Now, if you look back four years ago when Utah, BYU, TCU, Boise and us were in the league, that's a different league.Â But if it was that, then I would say that league ‑‑ that's a strong league.Â And we probably wouldn't be talking about this right now.
But things have changed significantly, and I think for us to have the opportunity to do that, it was important for the growth of the program and growth for football, growth for our entire program to move forward, and I think it was important to do that.
Q.Â And from an administrative standpoint are you pleased with how college football is going towards this four‑game playoff type thing and how it's shaping up and the opportunity that it presents to the other five, if you will?
JIM STERK:Â Yeah.Â I think, you know, if you had your druthers, you'd change that up somewhat, and I think change is a given.Â So don't get used to what you see right now because it's going to change.
So I think it's in an evolutionary phase and we'll see how that all works out, but I think we're ‑‑ if you look at the power ratings of the conferences, the Big East moving forward is significantly stronger and more like a Top 5 conference as it is the rest of the leagues.
Q.Â Are you concerned that maybe (inaudible) expressed a little concern about everything that's happened?
JIM STERK:Â No.Â He was on a call this morning, and he's fine.Â You know, I think if you know Mr.Gladchuk, I mean he clarified himself.Â He said ‑‑ I forget the word he used to describe it, but it's not concern.Â It's not ‑‑ it's almost reflection of, okay, what do we do now.Â And I think that's kind of how everyone's shifting, and as I said, in athletics we're used to that.Â So we look to what can we do to improve and build and strengthen the league.
Q.Â From a football standpoint, when you say the Big East is ahead of the Mountain West.Â From a basketball standpoint right now the Mountain West would be above the big west.Â Does that come into your decision at all or has that factored into your decision?
JIM STERK:Â It did as we were analyzing what to do, and I think Coach Fisher explained it very well of how you develop ‑‑ and that our program is a national program and that's why we ‑‑ it was important for us to play a midway game, and we're playing in the diamond head and we're going to play in the Maui, and we're going to do those kinds of games that develop continue to put us in that spot light and the other part of it is the contract we have in the big west is a significant upgrade to what we have right now.Â So I think you're going to see that, and you saw Irvine almost take down UCLA a week or so ago.Â And one free throw from winning it.Â And I think it's going to be competitive enough, that's for sure.
Q.Â Jim, you referenced a call this morning.Â Did they just have a call of all the ADs?
JIM STERK:Â Yeah.Â They've been through this process.Â Mike Aresco has been updating us.Â We had one yesterday.Â We had one today, and we'll continue to monitor the situation.Â And Mike is good about communication, and so we're continuing to talk.
Q.Â I mean what is the sense you get from him?Â Like is there any sense of panic, like they're trying to rally the troops?
JIM STERK:Â No.Â I think it made me all the more proud to work with a guy like that.Â I mean he is a committed, smart, connected and is a great leader.Â So I think it's important to have someone like that in that role, and he's doing a great job.
Q.Â Also, I mean I know much has been made of how you sort of hope to get Boise State into the league.Â With BYU now as an independent, if they decided to sort of get back into the league, would you approach them on behalf of Big East?Â Have you had any thoughts about doing that?
JIM STERK:Â You know, I don't think they need me to do that.Â There will be others that would do that.Â But I certainly know Tom Holmoe and that group.Â So they have a good program.Â And who knows who it'll be, but there will certainly be others, and I think the biggest thing that Mike Aresco said this morning was that he's getting significant interest from a lot of people that are interested.
Q.Â Would you be in favor of BYU joining the east?
JIM STERK:Â Yeah.Â I would.
Q.Â But you haven't talked it over with them?
JIM STERK:Â Not recently, no.
Q.Â You speak very highly of the Big East.Â Why are these schools leaving?Â Why are Rutgers jumping to the Big 10?
JIM STERK:Â Rutgers ‑‑ well, I think Maryland, for instance, that one is out of the ACC, and I think they're having some financial problems, and so they're looking at what the Big 10 can provide to them, and it must be significantly more or enough to make them make that decision.Â And so I think the Big East, the positive and the negative, the positive is they're the last conference left out there, major conference that's unencumbered and hasn't signed their TV agreement.Â And there's a lot of people that are interested in programming right now that don't have a 12‑year deal with one of those five conferences.Â So that's a real positive.
The down side is that you don't know.Â You know, what is it.Â And to tell you the truth, it probably won't drive a 25‑million‑dollar‑a‑year‑per‑school agreement right now, but where does it fall, I don't know.Â People were surprised at the contracts that have come out and have continued to come out with the bowls, with ESPN paying a lot for the rights to certain bowls and Rose Bowl.Â So I think with the PAC‑12, I think they probably under shot is it by 10 million a year per school.Â So who knows where this thing is.
Q.Â Just in maybe a short wrap‑up, what would you say to the Aztec Nation and by means of saying don't panic, it's cool, we got this going?Â In your words.
JIM STERK:Â Well, I think that I started out, we're a part and moving forward with a national conference, a national football conference that we made a strategic decision to do that last December and nothing has changed.Â Now, we knew that there would be some changes.Â We knew that BCS wasn't going to be around, and it's more important for our program to continue to grow and move forward and not go backwards.
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