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Report: Pac-12 kills ‘Hard Knocks’-style show that would have featured Arizona Wildcats

In this Nov. 1, 2014, file photo, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez walks the field before his team's NCAA college football game against UCLA in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)

“Hard Knocks” is a wildly popular television show on HBO, one that gives viewers an unfiltered and inside look at an NFL team during training camp.

It’s great viewing for any football fan, who gets to see an aspect of the game that was never before open to the public.

Apparently, HBO was looking to take its series into the collegiate ranks, and according to Tucson.com’s Greg Hansen, the first team they were set to feature was the University of Arizona Wildcats.

In fact, driven by a global media distributor WME-IMG, the inaugural season of HBO’s college football reality series was set to feature the Arizona Wildcats, narrated by “Hard Knocks” voice Liev Schreiber and a small army of about 30 videographers and HBO-related personnel.

The reasons for the Wildcats wanting to do the show are obvious: iIt would have provided good exposure for a program that is trying to improve its national standing, and the chance to show off charismatic coach Rich Rodriguez as well as the defending Pac-12 South champs would probably be a good thing.

However, the Wildcats will not be coming to HBO anytime soon, as Hansen writes the Pac-12 Networks — which has a Hard Knocks-type show called “The Drive” — and commissioner Larry Scott killed the idea.

The Pac-12 Networks, which has 11 million viewers, blocked Arizona to protect “The Drive.” Is that move good for the order, or just one of the league protecting its territory? I think the league would have benefited by the exposure. Lord knows, the Pac-12 Networks can use more viewership.

The Pac-12 is a politically-charged business venture divided in three parts: the schools and their administrators, the commissioner’s office and the Pac-12 Networks. All of the parts are not always in agreement.

Hansen goes on to wonder if the Pac-12 would have blocked the show if it had been a more powerful school, like USC or Oregon, that HBO was hoping to feature. Either way, it appears the Wildcats may have missed out on a golden opportunity to build their brand, albeit due to no fault of their own.

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