Pac-12 Paid Bonuses to Larry Scott and Other Executives Right Before Layoffs and Furloughs

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When you follow college sports closely it takes a major story for you to be truly astonished about tone-deaf excesses, but we’ve got one of those on our hands with the Pac-12. Jon Wilner of the Mercury News, who is basically averaging a bombshell story a week of late about the conference, reports that Larry Scott and a number of other Pac-12 and Pac-12 Network executives awarded themselves performance bonuses about one month before approximately half of the conference’s employees were furloughed or laid off.

Between the Pac-12 conference and networks divisions, there were 196 employees. On August 26th, 15 were laid off and 79 were furloughed.

Larry Scott makes about $5.3 million per year between base and bonus, and announced he would take a pay cut of about 12 percent of his pay for fiscal year 2021; this amounts to a $636,000 cut (even before this story, there was already outcry that he was not making a bigger sacrifice). Other employees in the conference making over $100,000 per year are taking tiered cuts.

A Pac-12 spokesperson acknowledged to Wilner that bonuses were paid, justified them as a mechanism for key employee retention at a time when layoffs and furloughs were clearly possible with the looming disruption of football season (some of those furloughed did have that blow softened by receiving a bonus), and said that salary reductions and bonuses tracked with what was happening with employees on Pac-12 campuses.

Wilner did some back of the envelope math to try and figure out how much money in bonuses were paid out:

But the number is likely substantial: The Hotline confirmed that multiple middle-level managers received them. One manager pegged the number of employees receiving bonuses at 50. Even if the total is significantly lower, the bonuses paid this summer — including those to Scott and all the senior executives — could approach $4 million based on the data from previous years. At an average salary of $100,000 (including benefits) for non-managerial employees, that $4 million in bonuses would equate to about 40 full-time positions.

It’s an ugly look, but on a scale of 1 to 10 how surprised are you?

Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

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.


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  1. Bonuses were paid as a mechanism for key employee retention. Say what? This is a time when key employees would take a pay cut so they don’t get laid off. You want a bonus and lose your job or take a pay cut and keep working? Depends how big a bonus, I guess, but I rather keep my job. And administrators getting a bonus while still working, knowing there probably won’t be any sports in Cali, that’s downright criminal.

  2. Colleges are mostly Not For Profit operations, but that’s just a slogan. They don’t pay taxes like a corporation. They are required to spend to excess on salaries, campus construction and constant capital improvements.

    None of this benefits actual students. And it’s inevitable that this cash cow college system has to be re-imagined.

    Democrats want to Re-Imagine Police, so let’s Re-Imagine College Finance.

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