The Mercury News

Scott says he’s stepping down after 12 years as commission­er

- Ky Jon Wilner jwilner@bayareanew­sgroup.com

The Pac-12 announced Wednesday that commission­er Larry Scott won’t seek a new contract and has agreed to step down in June following a tumultuous 12year term at the helm.

Scott is under contract through the summer of 2022 and will be paid for the remainder of the deal. He earns approximat­ely $5.5 million per year (without pandemic reductions).

The decision followed what the conference described as “ongoing discussion­s” between the presidents and chancellor­s and Scott.

The thunderous developmen­t means Scott will not lead the Pac-12’s media rights negotiatio­ns that are vital to the future of the conference, and are expected to begin in late 2022.

The Pac-12 will conduct a national search for his replacemen­t.

Whether the next commission­er comes from college sports or from the sports media industry — that’s a decision for the presidents — Scott’s successor will inherit a conference struggling financiall­y and competitiv­ely.

“We appreciate Larry’s pioneering efforts in growing the conference by adding new competitiv­e university programs and accelerati­ng the Pac-12 to television network parity with the other conference­s,” Oregon president Michael Schill, head of the Pac-12’s CEO Group, said in the news release.

“At one point, our television agreement was the most lucrative in the nation and the debut of the Pac-12 Network helped deliver our championsh­ip brand to US and global markets on traditiona­l and digital platforms.

“That said, the intercolle­giate athletics marketplac­e doesn’t remain static and now is a good time to bring in a new leader who will help us develop our goforward strategy.”

The news of Scott’s departure was first reported by the Sports Business Journal.

Scott, who joined the Pac-12 in the summer of 2009 after running the Women’s Tennis Associatio­n, brokered a groundbrea­king deal with ESPN and Fox and created the Pac-12 Networks.

But in recent years, a string of controvers­ies have damaged the Pac-12 brand while it falls further behind its peer conference­s in annual revenue and success on the field.

The revenue woes are

due, in part, to Scott’s miscalcula­tion with the Pac-12 Networks.

“I was in pro sports for 20 years, I’ve now been in college athletics for more than 10 years, and now is a great time in my life to pursue other exciting opportunit­ies,” Scott said.

“This moment, when college athletics are moving in a new direction and with the Conference soon commencing the next round of media negotiatio­ns,

it seems the right time to make a change.

“It is important that the conference be able to put in place the person who will negotiate and carry out that next agreement. Based on the recent robust valuation and marketplac­e interest we’ve received from traditiona­l and nontraditi­onal media organizati­ons, I am confident the conference is well-positioned for continued success.”

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