This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
No point squirreling around it: Nothing is changing in the stalemate between the Pac-12 and DirecTV.
But instead of hoping negotiations open up directly, the Pac-12 Network is going around the major satellite TV provider through "over the top" services, which can offer channels consumers don't already have on their traditional providers.
The conference announced a deal with SlingTV prior to the season, and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said more such deals are "in the works."
"It's the first of several," he said, during a visit to Salt Lake City for Utah's game against USC. "The way the industry is going, there's going to be a few more."
The Pac-12, the only conference which wholly owns its own media network, has been stonewalled by DirecTV in continual attempts to get on the carrier. The league has complained that DirecTV won't offer a deal that pays out as much as the network's other providers. This has helped lead to a television revenue gap that sees Big Ten and SEC schools make millions more per year per school from their own conference networks.
But over-the-top providers work around carriers that don't have Pac-12 Networks, allowing even DirecTV subscribers access if they have Sling. Scott didn't say for sure that it was leverage against DirecTV in any future negotiations, but being on those services certainly doesn't hurt the Pac-12's quest for exposure.
"I know the industry is changing very, very rapidly," he said. "There's a lot more players, like Sling. I view that as a good thing."
Scott also commented on the Pac-12's status in the College Football Playoff, saying the conference is unlikely to make short-term changes if it misses the playoff for a second straight year. Scott said the conference may consider changing the nine-game slate later on, or fighting for more than four teams, if the league perceives a long-term competitive disadvantage.
Lowell Lotulelei leaves game
Utah's injury problem didn't get better in the first half against USC.
Junior defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei tapped out during a second-quarter drive, heading to the sideline. After being examined by a trainer, he left the game. Fox Sports 1 sideline reporter Jenny Taft later reported he would not return.
Touted by Sports Illustrated as a potential 2017 first-round NFL draft pick, Lotulelei had seven tackles and two tackles for a loss headed into the game. The 310-pound tackle is not the first defensive lineman the Utes have lost mid-game to injury: Kylie Fitts was pulled for the second half of the BYU game, before discovering a season-ending foot injury the next week.
Utah's blackout gear was complemented by granite-texture helmets painted by hand. Conceived by equipment operations employees Kelly Sharitt and Cody Heidbreder, the helmets also each have a unique serial number.