NetWorks Sports Poll of the Week – Should Texas Stay or Should they Go?

Just when we were all settling in to watch another exciting college football season and getting used to seeing Nebraska mentioned as a Big Ten school or Utah actually being in the conversation for a BCS berth, the folks in the Burnt Orange started flaunting their new Longhorn Network.  As a result, their rivals to the east, the Texas A&M Aggies started to make headlines as rumors swirled about their desire to leave the Bix XII and the SEC’s interest in adding them to make a mega-conference.

After several days of fiction, the SEC Presidents came out and said that they were not interested in adding another school…just yet!  Well, that is sure to change as A&M has notified the proper folks of their plans to “SEC-ede” from the Big XII Conference and the consensus is that they will soon announce that they will land in SEC country.

While Twitter went ballistic tonight as Under Armour and the Maryland Terrapins debuted one of their 32 iterations of uniform combinations (let’s hope the other 31 look much better), the main topic of conversation this weekend involved the great state of Texas.  If you’re a fan of sports, you’ve had this discussion at the water cooler, via Twitter, and at your family BBQ…

Take our poll:  If the SEC opens it’s arm to Texas A&M, what will Texas (and in essence, Oklahoma’s) response be.  Should the Longhorns stay in the Big XII or should they go elsewhere?

[polldaddy poll=5427824]  

In Their Own Words – Monica Wiley

In Their Own Words profiles former student-athletes who have leveraged their experiences on the field, court, and in the pool to buoy their professional careers. They’ve had success in the classroom & in their sport, and now are enjoying tremendous success in various sectors around the world.

In Their Own Words with the Honorable Monica Wiley

As fans wait to find out the outcome of the NFL labor disputes that are taking place in the courtrooms, we caught up with a former point guard on the UC Berkeley Women’s Basketball Team who spends the majority of her days in her own courtroom. The Honorable Monica Wiley, the Judge of the Superior Court in San Francisco, tells us how her days as a student-athlete have impacted her life in the judicial system.

The Honorable Monica Wiley - San Francisco Superior Court

What is your current title and how long have you been in this position?
I am currently a Judge for the San Francisco Superior Court, a role that I have been in for 19 months.

Tell us what your specific role is with the organization?
Currently, I have a family law assignment. I handle dissolution proceedings, motions for custody and visitation, and domestic violence restraining orders.

What is your favorite part of the job?

Being able to help people in tangible ways.

What was your first “REAL” job?
Working as a researcher for NASA. Seriously.

Has being a competitive athlete helped you in your current role or during your career? If so, please tell us in what ways.
Being a competitive athlete was certainly helpful when I was an attorney practicing in the area of civil litigation. Being a litigator requires not only a sense of focus and a dedication to hard work, but also requires you to engage with others in an adversarial manner.

What do you miss and what don’t you miss about being a competitive athlete?
I miss the perfection of my body. I do not miss working out to ensure the perfection of my body.

What was your most memorable moment as an athlete? What was your most embarrassing moment?
Most memorable was definitely when my Cal women’s basketball team beat then No. 1 ranked Stanford (they were 10-0 at the time) in the first game of the Pac-10 season in 1991. Of course Stanford did go on to win the National Championship in 1992, but for one night we were victorious. I’ve never had an embarrassing moment. Or at least not one that I am about to share.

How often do you workout? What type of things do you do to stay active?
Please refer to Question 4 above (“I do not miss working out”). I play basketball every 3-4 months just to make sure that I can, and practice yoga.

If you knew then what you know now, is there anything that you would do differently in your career?
No – my career has worked out perfectly for me.

Do you have a mentor (or mentors) that has helped you along the way?
I have had several mentors in my life, but the one with the most lasting imprint is my high school basketball coach, Mary Brown. She expected excellence each and every day from her players and taught me to expect no less from myself.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
My parents – Paul and Shirley Wiley

Do you have any advice for young professionals and/or former student-athletes hoping to have a successful career after sports?
Find a profession and not a career – something that you are passionate about and that excites you each and every day. And always, at whatever stage you are in your profession – always find time to enjoy yourself.

Favorite Book
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

Favorite Movie
To Kill a Mockingbird

Reading, movies

Favorite Place to Vacation
Clovis, CA

What’s playing on your iPod?
Nothing anyone would recognize starting with Simon and Garfunkel

Android or iPhone?

Mac or PC?

Favorite TV Show
The Wire

Favorite Restaurant
Le Cheval

Favorite Quote
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill


NetWorks Spotlight Interview with Charles Davis

NetWorks Spotlight Interview withCharles Davis, Sports Analyst, Fox Sports & NFL Network

By Tracey Savell Reavis

Charles Davis

The voice you hear when Charles Davis calls football games on TV sounds equally energetic when you speak with him one-on-one. The 13-year veteran announcer has covered college football, basketball and baseball, the NFL, NBA, PGA, Arena Football and has worked on both radio and TV. And he’s just been partnered with Gus Johnson, as the two become the lead team for Fox Sports College Football games this coming season.

Charles grew up in the small town of New Paltz, New York, but his roots are anchored in Tennessee. Partly because he was born there, and partly because it’s where both of his parents are from, he’d always wanted to return to college in the Volunteer State. Back when he was eight-years old he saw Condredge Holloway, the first African American quarterback to start at an SEC school, playing in a University of Tennessee game, and knew from that moment exactly where he wanted to play football. After four years as defensive back for the Vols, Charles left Knoxville armed with an undergraduate degree in Political Science and a Masters in History.

Since football season hasn’t started yet, you can’t tune in to hear the sportscaster’s voice. But you can read the story of how he achieved success, in his own words. It will have to do for now, while we all wait for the first Saturday in September.

In your career, you’ve had a number of different sports-related jobs. How did you end up in broadcasting?
I found out a friend told a TV exec that he thought I’d be good on TV. I never knew he’d had this conversation. Then two years later the TV exec called me, asked me to try out and I got my first assignment as an analyst with Fox Sports South.

Do you remember the first game you covered, and what the experience like?
Yes, it was August 1997, Memphis State at Mississippi State. I may have been awful, but I remember I had a lot of fun and that I thought I wanted to do more of it. Now I’m working on the craft.

What was the transition like for you going from playing college sports to not being able to play as a professional athlete?
My goal was always to be in the NFL. Fortunately to prepare for life after football, I did have a Plan B. I started grad school in my red-shirt year. Then I thought about politics, I thought about law school. But I knew I wanted to stay in sports. Sports has always had its tug on me.

What would you say to people who think it’s a given that a former athlete would be able to get a job in sports broadcasting?
Yeah, I say it takes 20 years to become an overnight success. It’s like that with actors. Someone will have a breakout movie and people will think they are new and say, ‘Where did they come from?’ When they’ve been there all the time, putting in
10, 15 years, getting better. And it happens not just in movies, but in all walks of life. If it were a given, I would have started right after school. I fought my you-know-what off to prove that I am capable. I’d say very few people will outwork me. And I’ve never taken it for granted that I’ve arrived.

Can you give us an idea how much preparation and work you put into a game week? Or is it just a 3-hour game broadcast and you’re done?
Wouldn’t that be nice? I don’t typically count the number of hours I prepare, but it depends on the game. I know the teams, but there’s extensive research. The number one thing is to know the players’ names and numbers. And I look at game tape to watch for a teams’ strength, for nuances, and to learn things about players. We’re looking to tell interesting stories. We’re ‘Taking off the helmet’ figuratively of the players, to tell you something different.

What kind of career advice would you offer to anyone wanting to get into the sports industry?
I’d say be prepared. Everyone always wants the answer that eliminates the hard work. But it’s the work that keeps you there. And probably not to take no for an answer. If one company doesn’t want you, try others. Go through the stages – anger, grief – then move on. Opportunity could be at the supermarket, or on the seat next to you on a plane. It could be anywhere. If something is your passion, figure out how to make it happen. There are other ways to get through, get over and get by it. Be a fighter.

Let’s talk about your new assignment and partner at FOX Sports. Are you friends with Gus Johnson, and are you looking forward to working with him?
No, we’ve never met. But we’ve already spoken on the phone a little before the announcement and chatted after as well. It is exciting and I am looking forward to it.

Do you think this is historic or worth mentioning the pairing of two African-American broadcasters calling a Division I College Football game?
I think it would be disingenuous not to notice. But it’s not the principle focus. We’ve both worked hard to get to where we are, and we’ve gotten there because we’ve merited it. The bottom line is it’s the work.

Do you think there will ever be a College Football playoff system with a championship game?
I don’t know. I don’t think it would necessarily be good or bad. I think the bowl experience is great for many kids who might not otherwise have the opportunity. Each one that I went to was distinctive. I don’t think you can put bowl games into a playoff system. I’d say if we ever go with a championship game, to know what you’re giving up – it could change everything.

Get to Know Charles

Sport he’d love to broadcast but hasn’t yet: Hockey

Favorite sport after football: Basketball

On his nightstand: The latest Harlan Coben thriller

All-time favorite film: Say Anything

Most influential book: The Autobiography of Malcolm X

In his music library: Old school, sounds of Motown

Tune in to FOX and the NFL Network as Charles offers his expert analysis on college football and the NFL.

Follow Charles on Twitter @CFD22 and find out more about him at

Industry News – Pac-12 Media Deal

Impact of New Pac-12 Media Contract
Written by Angela Taylor

While we still don’t realize the long-term implications on the collegiate athletics landscape, a week ago today, Pac-10/Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott stood before an audience of media members, coaches, and athletic administrators gathered in a ballroom at the Arizona Biltmore and shared the nuances of a new 12-year/$3 Billion media deal between the Pac-12 and Fox & ESPN.

The press conference lasted for less than 22 minutes but has captivated the attention of sports executives around the world.  One senses that Larry Scott, through his innovative leadership, is setting the Pac-12 Conference up to challenge what many consider to be the elite conferences in college sports (the SEC and the Big XII).  Watch the press conference here.

Yesterday, the Pac-12 announced their inaugural early TV Schedule for games that will be televised on ABC/ESPN during the 2011 football season.  The schedule, which includes 20 games televised on either Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, pales in comparison to the extensive coverage Pac-12 football & men’s basketball will receive under the new deal.  Fans, however, will have to wait until 2012-13 to enjoy this widespread coverage.

Some highlights of the Pac-12 Media Contract

  • Twelve year, $3 Billion contract from 2012-13 to 2023-24
  • Pac-12 schools have agreed upon an equal revenue share model, so annual revenue will be distributed equally to all 12 schools on an annual basis
  • There is an annual escalator throughout the life of the contract, but schools will average $20+ million per school year over the 12-year period
  • Pac-12 also created Pac-12 Media Enterprises, which will own the Pac-12 Network, Pac-12 Digital Network, and Pac-12 Enterprises
  • Forty-four regular season football games & 68 regular season men’s basketball games will be broadcast across ESPN or FOX national broadcast networks or national cable networks.  For more on the read the press release.

One of the more interesting aspects of the deal is that Scott was savvy enough to convince UCLA & USC to share the wealth equally.  USC, a program that many consider to have as strong a brand as the University of Texas while residing in the 2nd largest media market in the United States, probably had enough clout to hold out for a larger share.  Nonetheless, each of the teams in the newly formed Pac-12 conference, will benefit greatly from Scott’s aggressive & innovative negotiations over the long-term.

The Pac-12 owns a plethora of content (academic & athletic) to distribute across the different channels and intends to do so when its Pac-12 Network and Pac-12 Digital Network come to fruition.  As the Big Ten can attest, getting to the point where the network is profitable may be quite a chore.  A task that can be made easier if Scott can find a way to negotiate a relationship with a cable provider to ensure that the new channel is available in households across the country.

So while the long-term verdict is still out, Scott & the Pac-12 get two thumbs up for the monumental shift of the college landscape that we all witnessed one week ago.