Pac-12 names Hanks to lead football operations
Former San Francisco 49ers safety Merton Hanks will oversee college football for the Pac-12, reporting directly to conference commissioner Larry Scott.
One of the first orders of business for Hanks is determining the viability of a spring football season. Hanks, who is moving from Dallas to San Francisco to work out of the league’s headquarters, told ESPN he sees “exciting possibilities” for a spring college football season.
The Pac-12 and Big Ten delayed fall sports with a goal of getting on the field early in 2021.
“In the simplest terms, if it touches football, I’m going to be involved with it regarding the Pac-12,” Hanks, 52, told ESPN. “And hopefully we will be in position in working with Larry to continue to provide first-class experiences for our student-athletes and then be innovative in how we move forward. This COVID-19 world of sports, you have to be flexible, you have to be innovative. You have to mitigate risk, but at the same time, we’re going to provide that first-class experience for our student-athletes.”
Hanks played at Iowa and then spent nine seasons in the NFL. He was a memeber of the 49ers when they won Super Bowl XXIX in 1995 and was selected to the Pro Bowl four times. Hanks was a nominee for the 2020 NFL Hall of Fame class.
Hanks said there is still uncertainty surrounding football season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Pac-12 has done a fabulous job of following the science,” Hanks said. “It’s not an easy decision to say we’re going to move our football season to the spring, something that quite frankly to my knowledge has not been done before. We’ll take a strong look at what we need to do to be able to move forward in mitigating risk, certainly following the science and the lead of our medical advisers.”
The Pac-12, Hanks said, continues to wait for guidance from the NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee regarding a spring football season.
“Then you can really lay out your calendar at that point,” Hanks said. “Any date that we go with, we’re going to have count six weeks back to give our student-athletes and coaches and administration an opportunity to prepare. There’s a lot of moving parts.”
–Field Level Media