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January 7, 2010

Bill Hancock

Burke Magnus

George Schroeder

John Swofford


GEORGE SCHROEDER: I'd like to introduce now Burke Magnus of ESPN, the senior vice president. He's going to come up and say a few words. And then after that I'll introduce the guys that most of you guys came to see and listen to and ask questions of. Burke, if you've got a few minutes for us.
BURKE MAGNUS: Thank you guys. Pleasure to be here. Becoming an annual tradition, thanks to my guys Josh and Mike. Very pleased to be here. We're thrilled obviously that we have a role this year with the Championship game, tonight being on ABC. Absolutely a great way for us to sort of roll into next year when we'll have the full slate of games on ESPN. I think you're all aware of the special relationship that we have with the Tournament of Roses, and to finish off this cycle with the Rose Bowl Game and the Championship game in Pasadena is a very, very special thing for us and something that we're extremely proud of.
College football, as I've said before, is absolutely at the core of ESPN. It's a fundamental content element for us. We treasure our role. We look at it as being very, very significant to our overall company, and we continue to look for ways to help deliver pictures and sound from the sport that we all love to the country and to the many, many legions of fans out there.
So we've continued to grow, we've continued to do more, and the seemingly bottomless pit of passion is there from the fans, because the more we do, it seems the better the numbers are.
Just to give you a couple statistics from this past year that you may have seen released as we finish the regular season and now as we've gone into the Bowl season, the fact that we're doing so many more games across so many more platforms, our linear networks, our digital platforms, the results in terms of viewership and usage are staggering and something that keeps us very, very optimistic about the future of the game through media.
ESPN had their most viewed regular season ever since 1994, up 10 percent. ESPN 2 had their most viewed season ever overall during the regular season. College Gameday had their most-viewed regular season ever. Our Heisman telecast was the most viewed ever. Ohio State-USC was our most viewed regular season game ever. The Oregon-Oregon State Civil War was our highest and most viewed Thursday night telecast ever.
We clicked off a lot of milestones this year, and it's encouraging to us to be able to continue to build on this great game by setting these milestones.
In terms of our Bowl performance to date, we have a few more numbers to roll in, including last night's game and obviously the Championship game, but so far on ESPN we're up 6 percent over last year. Our 21 Bowl games so far have averaged a 3.2 rating, on ESPN 2 we're up 9 percent, two games averaging a 1.9, and our Rose Bowl Game had a 13.2, was up significantly over last year. And right now with -- obviously the Capital One Bowl rating has to come in still, final there, and also the Championship rating. But so far we're up 44 percent on ABC, and we're looking forward to a very, very close, competitive graph over time.
We all anticipate a great game tonight, and a fabulous number with the two big brand-name programs participating in the game tonight. Again, thank you guys for everything that you do. I read many of you very often. You're indispensable to the NFL and to college football, and I appreciate what you do and your partnership in promoting and celebrating this great game. Thank you.
GEORGE SCHROEDER: Thank you, Burke. I want to take you directly to the last portion and maybe the portion most of you guys have been waiting on. For the last however many years, the commissioners of the -- for lack of a better term, the BCS conferences, have rotated the duties of coordinating the BCS on a two-year rotation. John Swofford from the ACC has done that, and you may be the most relieved man in the world after the developments you guys have had within the organization. I'll let you explain those and then you'll introduce Bill and we'll go from there.
JOHN SWOFFORD: George, thank you. First of all, let me thank you for what you do for college football and the coverage that you give what we do. You do a tremendous job of it, as has been said already. You're a very important and integral part of the connection of the college game with the publics and our fans. You're sort of the cream of the crop, I think, in terms of the coverage of college football, and you're the group of people that truly get it, so to speak, I think, in terms of the big picture and the national picture and the whole evolution of the game itself, the regular season to the evolution of what's going on in the postseason. So you're greatly appreciated in our circles, and I simply wanted to start out by saying that.
I also want to just comment a moment on congratulating a couple of people that you gave awards to. Tom Mickle was somebody very special to me in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He worked for Gene Corrigan as well as me in Greensboro in the ACC offices, just left a wonderful legacy, both professionally and personally, and it's awfully good to see him recognized, and thank you for doing that.
Tom Hansen, what a colleague, and more importantly, friend. He and Melva have meant so much to college athletics for so many, many years, and particularly the BCS and the Bowl system. Tom's being recognized a lot, and appropriately so, and it's nice to see that happen one more time, Tom.
Dennis, having put three kids through college at this point in my life, congratulations on the scholarship. I know that comes in handy.
You know, the last couple of years with the BCS have continued to be eventful. I don't know that there have been any years with the BCS that have not been eventful, but it continues to be so. During that time college football continues to, as evidenced by some of the things Burke had to say, have great success, and the game itself overall when you look at it in a global sense from the beginning to the end, I think is in a period that is very, very successful for the game of college football.
That doesn't mean it can't get better. It doesn't mean there couldn't be changes made in the future. But we're in a very, very successful period after the 12th year of the BCS, and during that 12-year period I think what we've seen overall in the game of college football is just a continuation of this growth, a continuation of the interest level that people have, attendance figures going up, television ratings continuing to go up, and maybe because of the BCS and other things, the passions associated with the game going up. And I think that overall is certainly a good thing.
Over the past two seasons, as you know, we've been in a period where we have renegotiated our television contracts after going through rather lengthy discussions about our format and what the next cycle would bring. Again, as you know by and large, the next cycle will continue in the same vein as the cycle that we are just concluding with tonight's game, except with a new television partner.
And we went through those negotiations. FOX has done an excellent job for us during the cycle we are concluding. ABC finishes that up with tonight's National Championship game, and after having the Rose Bowl.
In the next cycle we go into a period where we're moving to cable for the BCS games. As you've seen many other major properties in the sports world going to cable, this is a little different step for the BCS, and we look forward to that partnership and continuing and enhancing that partnership with ESPN as we move forward.
We also had the duty of renegotiating our contracts with our Bowl partners, and as you know, those Bowl partners will stay the same, and we will continue the double-hosting model that the Rose Bowl is doing this time for the first time, in the last year of the four-year cycle. And then we'll be back in Phoenix, and I see John Junker here, double-hosting. He set a tremendous standard in Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl the first time we had the double-hosting situation where the Fiesta Bowl was there, and then a week or so later the National Championship game in standalone fashion.
And I think when they set that standard and moved us forward in that sense, it was a very, very healthy thing for the rest of the Bowls that followed and the job that our Bowl partners have done. It's a lot of work in a community to come in and put on two games of this kind of magnitude within a week or so.
In every year and at every stop, and certainly here in Pasadena with the Tournament of Roses people, they have done a magnificent job, just as their predecessors have done.
We solidified, as I mentioned, as we head into the next cycle, a continuation of the basic format that we have had for this cycle with one big exception. Usually the outgoing coordinator is here to turn over traditionally the coordinator's job to another commissioner, and we've rotated that through the first 12 years of the BCS's existence.
We had a lot of conversation within the room that goes back to last spring about what the future held in terms of that coordinator's role. And we had reached a conclusion that with the growth of the BCS and the continued interest with it, the controversies that go along with it, the need for greater management, greater hands-on management, that we had simply reached a point where it had outgrown the coordinator's idea in the sense of having a commissioner run a conference and at the same time be the primary focus person and the coordinator of the BCS in two-year increments.
We made a decision that it was time to go ahead and hire an executive director. We took the time to have a lot of discussion about what that should mean and who that should be, and ultimately, not to the surprise of some of us in the room, we came to the conclusion that we had the right gentleman, and I use that word gentleman I think appropriately, already with us in the sense that Bill had served as our administrator for a little over a four-year period. He's someone that I know has your respect, certainly has the respect of all of us and so many in the collegiate sports industry because of who he is. His ethics, his ability to communicate with people such as you and others, his knowledge of the BCS in this case, he knows it inside out, has lived it day in and day out for a four-year period now. Some of his NCAA basketball colleagues kind of told him he had crossed over to the dark side, but we were very, very happy that Bill was available to us and is willing to take on the position as the first executive director of the Bowl Championship Series.
So rather than passing the baton to a colleague as a commissioner that would be the continued coordinator of the BCS, I'm going to at this point in time pass it on to a gentleman that is already doing a terrific job in his role as executive director. He's made the transition in seamless fashion, and we feel very fortunate to have him in such a leadership capacity with the Bowl Championship Series. Bill?
BILL HANCOCK: Thanks, John, and before John goes, I just want to congratulate and salute John for the job that he did for the conferences. John's the only guy that was ever BCS coordinator twice, and remarkable things happened during both John's terms. There's no better guy in our business than John Swofford, and I know y'all would agree with that. I hope it's okay for me to say y'all. We're in Southern California now, I guess.
It is absolutely an honor for me to be standing in front of you, you guys, my peers, my friends. I will always consider myself a writer. The best job I ever had was being a sportswriter. I don't know if you know, but I inherited my father's daily newspaper when I was 23 years old, and man, you talk about a great toy to have as a 23 year old, every day you put out the paper, and you couldn't -- you just couldn't not show up for work. Needless to say, we covered the heck out of high school sports in our little town.
I never, ever suspected that I would be able to stand here in front of you all addressing you about college football. Volney Meese was a dear friend of mine, and I used to steal column notes from his FWAA little reports that he put on, and of course I'm so lucky that I got to be the first director of the Final Four, and I also get to be the first executive director of the BCS. It's a dream come true for me. And it's a privilege for me to be able to represent the consensus of the 120 universities.
Of course I know that this is not completely popular. You'd have to be from some different planet to realize that. But the fact is I believe in it. I just think it's for the best interest of all these universities.
This all was brought on to me a couple weeks ago when I received a call from a writer -- by the way, I want to thank all of you for your kindness. I haven't really been doing this at all until today, but I've been sort of doing it for two months, and y'all have been very kind to me and I appreciate that. But some of this was brought home a couple weeks ago when I got a call from a writer who said, Bill, I just don't believe in this; I think it's a flawed system. I think there's got to be a playoff, and if you don't have a playoff you have to change the BCS, and I really don't like it. But are you guys hiring? (Laughter.)
But college football has never been better. It's never been more popular, and I really believe that the BCS gets some of the credit for that. We had a terrific season. Just think about some of the great games we got to see, the great individual performances; Gerhart, every one of his games was terrific; Tebow and the Bowl game; and Mark Ingram and Mark Ingram and Mark Ingram. What a great story that has been.
I learned from a guy named Dan Jenkins when I was writing sports to pick out a play in the game and write about that one play, and I think that's a lost art. I think game stories of course are a lost art, and I feel bad about that. But I used to write high school games, and I used to always do that, pick out one play in the game.
And when I was coming down here this morning -- I am a sportswriter I know because my ink pen quit writing when I was on the way down here this morning, so I'm sure that shows that I am an old writer.
I was trying to pick out one play from the season -- I thought, can you take one play from a game and pick out one play from the season. And the one play that stands out for me that says so much about college football and about this season that we had, and some of you were at the game, I know, was when Colt McCoy threw the interception to the Oklahoma kid in the fourth quarter. Colt McCoy takes the tackle, saving a touchdown and saving Texas' season. If I had to write about one play that turned this season around, it would be Colt McCoy, the effort that he made and the way that he saved Texas' season by that touchdown, by saving that touchdown.
I thought this morning before we open it up for questions that I would just like to go through four things that I think are misconceptions and are just dead solid wrong about the BCS. And I agree with John; I think you all know this, but I think a lot of people don't; the BCS works. It's doing exactly what it was designed to do. It has a limited purpose. It's just supposed to match 1 and 2 in a Bowl game, and it's been highly successful at that, more successful than anything ever. Y'all know the numbers, eight times in 56 years before the BCS No. 1 and No. 2 met in a Bowl game, and since the BCS nine times out of 12 years, and since the commissioners tweaked things to get it a little better, six times in the last six years in a row by AP, 1 and 2 have met. It's undeniable. You cannot deny that. The thing is successful. There's conclusive video confidence that the BCS has been successful.
Texas and Alabama, as you well know, never would have met in a Bowl game before the BCS. It's made that happen. And I think underlying all of this is that the BCS has led to undeniable changes in the landscape of college football. None of us ever would have suspected ten years ago that Boise State and TCU would be playing in a major Bowl game. To borrow a line from one of my favorite movies, "That was inconceivable ten years ago," and look at it. It happened, and it happened because of the BCS.
I think the BCS has almost in one way sped up time. Just look at the time that Florida State took to get their program to where they got. I don't know, 20, 30 years, however long that took. Look at the time that Boise State took to get from where it got to where it is now. Much less time. Boise State got there in ten years. Say Florida State took 30. Boise State got there because of the BCS.
Think about it. The BCS sped up time.
A playoff just would not work as well as what we have. Yeah, the presidents could create a playoff. They could create it tonight. But the fact is they would create it at a great loss, I believe, to the game that we all love.
I'm really puzzled by the folks who debunk bracket creep. If there is one thing that's certain about this world, it's bracket creep, death and taxes and bracket creep. 100 percent of the time bracket creep is happening. Think about it, in the pro sports, in the colleges, and we're seeing it in basketball. As you can imagine, I have followed the discussion about the bracket in basketball. It's inevitable.
A result of the playoff would be more injuries, more Wes Welkers happening in college football. It would happen. Imagine if a Wes Welker happened to Kellen Moore or Mark Ingram or Colt McCoy. Imagine where we would be. The best team in that case would not win. Conflicts with final exams, it's a real deal. It would happen. And the matter of fans having to travel across the country for two, three or four playoff games would be a disaster for college football.
I was talking to C.M. Newton about this. C.M. said, Bill, do you know how much trouble we had getting rid of -- assigning our fourth and five tickets for the Final Four at Kentucky? He said, it was very difficult for us. He said, we had a period in there where Kentucky people did not go to first and second rounds and sometimes didn't go to regionals because they were saving up to go to the Final Four. We cannot have people saving up to go to college football playoff games. It just wouldn't work for us.
And there's one place where the commissioners and the presidents have drawn the line in the sand. You know me, I'm not a line-in-the-sand kind of a guy, but they have drawn a line in the sand on this, and I agree with them, do not diminish the regular season. Do not step across that line. Whatever you do, and they're going to consider changes when the next cycle time comes around, but whatever you do, do not diminish the regular season. That's non-negotiable.
I believe in the -- you know how much I love the Tournament. Again, I had 13 great years there. And I believe in the Tournament. I believe it's what's in the best interest of the universities. But I feel equally strong that the BCS is what's in the best interest of the universities and the game of college football. I'm as proud of the BCS as I am of the Tournament. I love it as much as I love the Tournament, and that's why I can say that I'm happy and proud to be in my new position.
The Bowls clearly are worth preserving. Another thing that ticks me off is when people say nobody cares about the Bowls. If you saw Middle Tennessee, if you saw that celebration by those athletes and the band members, if you saw Iowa State's celebration, if you watched UConn, if you watched the Badgers, you know how meaningful those Bowls are. Don't tell me those games are not meaningful. It's selfish and mean-spirited to say those games are not meaningful and disrespectful to those athletes, and a playoff would mean the end of the Bowl games as we know them. Some Bowl games might continue; that's debatable, who knows. No one really knows.
But the NIT is a perfect example. The NIT survives because of home arenas, and it also survives because it's on life support from the NCAA. There would not be any life support for the Bowl games.
And some people say, okay, well, play on home campuses. Did you see the temperature in Madison, Wisconsin, last Saturday? The high was 7 and the low was -6, and I don't know how they could winterize the stadium, although I was interested in looking at the winterization of Fenway Park for the hockey game. That was fascinating to me.
Home campuses would never last. We couldn't make it last in basketball; you know that. We had to go to neutral sites because home sites were deemed to be unfair.
So the Bowls are worth preserving. And finally, the BCS is fair. People call it criminal, a cartel and unfair, and the fact is, it's not. It's fair. Every conference had a chance to earn automatic qualification. There was a four-year evaluation period, y'all know about that. Six conferences earned it.
There's another four-year period. We've just concluded the first two years of that. Who knows what the numbers might be. There could very well be a seventh conference before the last two years of this cycle.
It's fair. The revenue distribution is fair. Every AQ receives the same, basically the same amount of money, and this year, of course, the Mountain West was an AQ, so they received that share. They decided on their own to divide the money among those five conferences. Tom Hansen didn't hold a gun to their head and tell them they had to do that; they decided on their own they wanted to divide it. The Big Ten divides it the way they want to, and the Mountain West decided to divide it with the other conferences. It's fair, it's not unfair.
When we were talking to a U.S. Senator -- there's a lot of misinformation about this, and last summer when we were talking to one of the U.S. Senators about it, we said, hey, every conference has a chance to earn automatic qualification over a four-year period, and the senator said, "They didn't tell me that." I'm telling you, and that's my job is to tell folks about that, about what makes this thing good and how it works.
I'm going to quit now, but I just want you to know how much I believe in this, and the BCS works. It's good for college football, and I'm really looking forward to working with you. Thanks. I'm happy to take any questions.

Q. Because he is such a public figure, would you characterize Ari Fleischer's role (inaudible)?
BILL HANCOCK: Yes, I can. By the way the biggest problem I had when we hired Ari was dealing with my wife. She doesn't see politically with Ari. I slept in the doghouse for five weeks because of that.
You know, the critics have mounted a fairly strong campaign, and we needed someone to help us focus our message. We would rather not have been in the position of needing to bring in Ari. But we're football people. I'm a basketball guy. We're football people and basketball people, we're not communicators, and that's what Ari brings to us. He's a communicator, and he helps us to focus on our message. He's not a spokesperson. He did come to the game because he wanted to. You'll see him tonight. But he's helped us to focus, and helped us -- again, we're not communicators. He's the expert in that.

Q. If the revenue distribution is fair, why isn't it distributed equally 11 ways?
BILL HANCOCK: It's distributed equally to everyone who participates, everyone who has automatic qualification. You can debate about whether everyone -- all the schools should receive an equal share, but the fact is everyone who plays, everyone who receives an AQ receives an equal share. The revenue is -- think about the Mountain West revenue. If Utah had not been in the Super Bowl last year, they would have been in the Las Vegas Bowl for $900,000. In the Sugar Bowl they brought $9 million to the Mountain West Conference. $9 million versus $900,000. You can't argue with it.

Q. But you guys got dragged kicking and screaming into doing that a few years ago. You weren't going to do that.
BILL HANCOCK: Can I say that was before my time?

Q. The other question, you said that they chose -- the non-AQ conferences chose to distribute the money equally. Well, if I'm the Sun Belt Conference, of course I'm going to vote, Mountain West and WAC, give me some of your money. Is that really a fair system? Do they really have a choice?
BILL HANCOCK: I can just say that every AQ receives the same share. They had a choice. They could not be in it. Of course they want to be in it. They believe in it.

Q. Is that really a choice?

Q. What is the time frame as far as the validation period going forward, the possibility of the seventh conference being named? When would that be discussed? When would it happen? And as far as the related question would be, as far as the next cycle and a possible discussion of a plus one, if that was to happen, what would be the timing?
BILL HANCOCK: I may forget part A or B of the question.

Q. What is the possibility of the seventh conference?
BILL HANCOCK: The timetable is on that, we've just finished the first two years of a four-year period, and the -- that will be determined if there would be a seventh conference for the 2012 and 2013 regular seasons. And the plan right now is to evaluate the next four seasons beginning next year to determine AQs for the next cycle, the 2015 to the 2018 cycle. So there's already a plan in place for that.
The timetable about continuing, this is really fascinating to me, that we will have finished the 16th year of the BCS at the end of the cycle. One thing we talk about is there's a whole generation of fans who don't remember how chaotic the Bowl system was before the BCS. We had three years of coalition, three years of alliance and now 12 and about to be 16 years of the BCS, so it's been 18 years since the old system.
I would suspect that the next discussions would begin in maybe summer of 2012. I'm trying to do the math in my head. And finishing sometime in 2013. That would be my guess. I believe that's right.
Every conference will have ideas next time. You know that John and Mike talked about the plus one. The Mountain West wanted to go the other direction. So we had the spectrum in our meetings of the commissioners; some were way over here, some were in the middle and some were over here. And all the ideas will be put on the table and they'll all be discussed. Nothing will be rejected out of hand. Everything is going to be discussed.
But I can tell you they're quite happy with the double-hosting and they feel good about where the game is. You know, the fascinating thing, six times in the last six years, non-AQs have been in BCS games, four out of the last -- five out of the last six years and six teams. So the non-AQs are getting significant exposure and revenue from this.

Q. The NCAA doesn't seem to have problems with playoffs in 1-AA and 2 and 3. What's your feeling on that?
BILL HANCOCK: The question is about 1-AA and 2 and 3 work, and they work in other sports. The fact is those -- 1-AA 2 and 3 never had a Bowl system, and there's lots of people who think if they had a Bowl system they never would have started playoffs. Some of the 1-AAs at one point three or four years ago tried to start a Bowl system and do away with the playoffs. It works at that level. I can't deny it, it works at that level.
But if you look at the attendance from those games -- I looked at 1-AA attendance. Only Montana had decent attendance. They got three home games, and they drew 21, 22, but Richmond had four, Villanova had four. Many of them didn't draw as well as they did during the regular season. And I would never diss the NCAA, but I'm not sure those playoffs are the end-all-be-all that some people think they are. They work for them, but I'm not sure that they're the end-all-be-all. It certainly wouldn't work at this level.
If you're looking at a crowd of 4,000 versus a crowd of 90,000, it's just not the same. It's apples and oranges.

Q. (Inaudible.)
BILL HANCOCK: Question about a fifth Bowl. We didn't have any discussion about a fifth Bowl game. I guess it would be either keep the system or go to a sixth game. There hasn't been any serious discussion about that. When the talk happened to extend into the third cycle, the one we just signed -- fourth cycle, the one we just signed up for, that really didn't get discussed. I suspect it will be one of the items that will be on the list of topics when we tee it up and talk about it again.

Q. If Jerry Jones called up tomorrow and says he wants to use the new stadium, you've got to take his call. How much sway would a guy like that have?
BILL HANCOCK: I haven't seen the stadium, but everybody I've talked to says it's awesome. We're happy with double-hosting. To be candid with you, I think the question about -- and we love the Cotton Bowl, we love the people there -- did I see Charlie? Hey, Charlie, close your ears. (Laughter.)
Rick does a great job. They do a terrific job there, and we love them. We know they have a great stadium. The fact is what we have right now works. Who would you ask not to be a part of this? Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Orange?

Q. I'm just suggesting a man of his stature and --
BILL HANCOCK: Sure, absolutely.

Q. NFL marketing, he could throw a lot of money at somebody to get into this thing.
BILL HANCOCK: We certainly would talk to him. The conversations probably would happen between him and the conferences first, if they were seriously interested in it.

Q. Are you getting any vibe of that?
BILL HANCOCK: We're not. We're not. I mean, I talk to Rick fairly often. Rick is a dear friend. You may not know this, when I was hired as the Final Four director, the other candidate was Rick. How about that? And Rick decided he didn't want to do it. He decided he'd rather be a football guy, so by default they had to hire me.
Anything else?

Q. A question for Burke, as well, the SEC looks like it's going on (Inaudible.) Good, bad, doesn't matter for the BCS, but it's great for the SEC and great for ratings.
BILL HANCOCK: Yeah, I don't think it matters to the system. Burke may have a comment about the ratings. It all goes in cycles, we all know that.
BURKE MAGNUS: I'm really excited about the match-up tonight.
BILL HANCOCK: Burke wanted Holy Cross in the game. We couldn't make that happen.

Q. With the qualifications for the conferences to receive an automatic bid, I guess we're in a period now, two more years left of that, and with it in the media guide there are points of qualifications. I guess there are three points. But there does seem to be a little bit of vagueness over how those points are measured, and the last time the Big East was given its -- reassigned an automatic bid, it felt like it was done sort of a little bit behind closed doors. Is there any thought to being a little more up front, public, we're going to weigh these measures in this exact way, maybe even come out and sort of explain it a little better when those automatic bids are handed out?
BILL HANCOCK: Yeah, but the thinking of -- I think that's a very good question, and it's something we've talked about. And the fact is I think the commissioners wanted it to be a thoughtful and deliberate conversation. But I think there's some sense now that it's probably time to be a little more open about that. There's some competitive reasons for that. I know a couple of writers are on their own, probably as we speak, probably on the bus. That's probably what they're going to do on the bus on the way to the stadium is try to figure out what the numbers are after the first two years.
I think there's a fair chance that we'll be able to provide more information about that. It's all objective. It's all based on the data. You know the criteria, number of teams in the top 25, the rank of your highest ranked team and then the ranking of all the teams in the conference, and they just rank those 1 through 11, rank the conferences 1 through 11. And then the ones that meet the threshold receive a standard.
That was adopted back in '04, when as Andy said, when the non-AQs came into the group. It was adopted unanimously by the group, and I will say that in the first four years that there was a significant gap between conference 6 and conference 7.
Anything else? Thanks again, guys.

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