Pac-12, Commissioner Larry Scott Mutually Agree to Part Ways After 12 Years

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2021

FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2019, file photo, commissioner Larry Scott speaks during the Pac-12 NCAA college basketball media day, in San Francisco. The commissioners of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference say they have been in almost constant contact since the NCAA men's basketball tournament was canceled on March 12.“ Based on the very positive and close collaboration among the leaders in college football and discussions with schools, other leagues and the medical community, at this point in time we are planning to start the football season on time and together on a national basis,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron, File)
D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press

Larry Scott's time as the Pac-12 commissioner is over.

On Wednesday, the Pac-12 announced it mutually agreed with Scott that he would step down from his position on June 30. That is a year earlier than his contract, which was set to expire in June 2022.

The announcement included a quote and explanation from the commissioner:

"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. 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. I appreciate the support of the Pac-12 member institutions and a very talented staff, with whom it has been my privilege to work."

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg provided a list of potential replacement candidates:

The Pac-12 hired Scott from the Women's Tennis Association in 2009, and Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports pointed out he made nearly $40 million during his tenure as the commissioner.

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He helped usher the conference into the modern era in a number of ways by bringing in Colorado and Utah during expansion, signing media-rights deals with ESPN and Fox, and helping create the Pac-12 Networks.

Paul Myerberg and Steve Berkowitz of USA Today noted the Pac-12's revenue jumped from $176 million to $334 million during the 2013 fiscal year after negotiating a 12-year television contract.

However, there has been plenty of criticism of late.

According to Myerberg and Berkowitz, the Big Ten and SEC made approximately $250 million and $190 million more in total revenue, respectively, than the Pac-12 in 2019. That meant lower conference payouts for individual schools, which was compounded by the fact the conference has largely fallen behind its competitors on the field and court in the marquee sports of football and men's basketball.

Oregon (2014 season) and Washington (2016 season) are the only Pac-12 teams to reach the College Football Playoff, and the Ducks lost to Ohio State in the national championship, while the Huskies lost to Alabama in the semifinals.

The conference did not have a single realistic contender for the CFP this season, and even programs such as Oregon and USC have fallen a step behind national powerhouses such as Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and others.

On the men's basketball side, the 2017 Oregon team is the only one to reach the Final Four since 2009.

While Scott accomplished plenty during his tenure, the league has fallen short of late as he drew outside criticism.