There's 'Serious Talk' About Pac-12 Buying Out Larry Scott

Larry Scott has been the commissioner of the Pac-12 (previously the Pac-10) since 2009. It's been apparent for at least several years now that the conference has lagged behind its Power Five peers under his leadership, but the circumstances of the pandemic have put that reality under a further microscope. Rumors are starting to percolate that the conference could angle out of his deal, set to expire in 2022, in an attempt to salvage their TV contract that's up in 2024.

As conferences like the Big Ten, SEC, and ACC partnered with major media partners like FOX and Disney/ESPN for their network launches and saw windfalls from their distribution, the Pac-12 went at it alone. It's only in 18 million homes. It's agonizing to bet on a game and then realize it's on that channel; now imagine if you went to a school like USC or Oregon and that's where they're playing.

John Canzano of The Oregonian has a good story today summarizing the issues with Scott's leadership. There's the TV. There's the aggravation amongst Pac-12 employees that he makes $5.3 million per year, and took just a 12 percent pay cut when people making far less are subject to a 9 percent cut while living in the expensive Bay Area -- and that he poorly communicated their cuts.

The nut graph was a quote attributed to an unnamed high-level conference administrator: “There’s serious talk amongst the Pac-12 CEO Group to end his contract ahead of the expiration date to have a fighting chance to save the (conference) Networks.”

All it takes to understand why Scott is on the hot seat is one look at the most valuable college football programs as ranked by Forbes. The Pac-12's highest-ranked school is Oregon at no. 14, and there are only two others in the top 25. This is because their TV revenue is dwarfed by the other conferences.

This is certainly a situation that warrants monitoring. It didn't arise out of nowhere and if you're a president or athletic director at a Pac-12 school it would be hard not to think that someone else could do a better job than Larry Scott.


Written by
Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.