Pac-12 hires Steeg for title game
A longtime NFL executive is bringing his pro talent to the collegiate level next year — specifically, the soon-to-be Pac-12 conference.
Pac-12 officials announced today Jim Steeg, who has managed all special events for the NFL, including pro bowls and drafts, and is credited with turning the Super Bowl into one of the world’s top sporting events, will serve as the director of the Pac-12 championship game.
“With more than 30 years at the NFL, Jim Steeg is the pre-eminent expert in building and managing big football championship events,” said Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott in a statement released by the Pac-10. “Our focus is to create the most exciting and entertaining championship environment in college football and having Jim’s innovative approach and expertise will undoubtedly enhance those efforts.”
The Pac-10 will officially become the Pac-12 on July 1, when Utah and Colorado join the conference. The Pac-12 will host its first title game at the home stadium of the team with the best overall conference record in a matchup tentatively scheduled for Dec. 3.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to fulfill the vision that Larry Scott has developed for this game and for the conference,” Steeg said in the statement. “The unique concept of playing the championship game at a host school will provide a chance to work with all 12 conference members and put their stamp on the event.”
In Steeg’s 35 years with the NFL, 26 have been leading the organization of special events — most notably, the Super Bowl, which Steeg grew from a single game to a week-long event complete with charity efforts and The NFL Experience. He also was the COO of the San Diego Chargers between 2004 and 2010.
Thompson declares for the draft
Washington State guard Klay Thompson will declare for the NBA draft but will not hire an agent, his father and former NBA star Mychal Thompson told ESPN.com on Monday.
Last season, Thompson led the Pac-10 in scoring with 21.6 points per game in addition to 5.2 rebounds per game.
“He wants to get a couple of workouts to see where he fits,” Mychal Thompson, the radio color commentator for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, told Diamond Leung of ESPN.com on Monday. “All the scouts love him. They love his complete game. I’m getting very favorable feedback.”
It has been speculated that the 6-foot-6 swingman would return to school, provided he was not guaranteed to be selected in the first round of the draft.
“It was a very difficult decision,” the elder Thompson said. “He’s very sentimental about college, and it’s not 100 percent he’s leaving.”
Thompson’s departure could mean eight of the top 15 scorers in the Pac-10 last season are gone, including the top four.
In the last month, Arizona’s Derrick Williams, USC’s Nikola Vucevic and Washington’s Isaiah Thomas have announced their intentions to turn pro. The three were ranked No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 respectively in scoring this season.
UCLA underclassmen, forward Tyler Honeycutt and guard Malcolm Lee, also declared for the draft despite the threat of an NBA lockout.
Report released regarding death of Notre Dame student
After spending nearly six months investigating the death of a student videographer, the University of Notre Dame released a report yesterday stating it believes outdated weather information was to blame.
Declan Sullivan, 20, died Oct. 27 when the 40-foot hydraulic lift he was standing on collapsed while he was filming football practice. Wind gusts at the time of the accident reached 53 mph.
Members of the coaching staff who make decisions regarding whether or not it’s safe for the team to practice outside likely used weather readings reported several hours before practice started, the investigation found. Specifically, at 1:54 p.m., the National Weather Service was reporting winds of 23 mph with gusts up to 29 mph.
The readings were useless when practice started at 3:45 p.m. At 2:54 p.m., winds were measured at 29 mph, with gusts at 38 mph. The staff was apparently unaware of this information. At the time of the accident, 4:54 p.m., when the weather service reported gusts of up to 51 mph.
“The report highlights that as the primary weakness in our procedures,” said John Affleck Graves, Notre Dame’s executive vice president, in reference to the outdated information. “The lack of wind-measuring equipment on the field during the practice and the absence of any single individual with responsibility for monitoring the wind.”
The Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president, said he is to blame for the tragic accident, and said nobody has been punished.
“We did not find any individual who disregarded safety or was indifferent to safety,” Jenkins said. “Our conclusion is that it’s a collective responsibility that must be deal[t] with collectively as we move forward.”
About a month ago, the Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration hit the university with a $77,500 fine for six safety violations related to Sullivan’s death.