Just when you thought you’d seen it all out of the Pac-12 and its disastrous leadership, now comes a report from the Oregonian that the Larry Scott-led conference was paying the Los Angeles Times to create positive content to the tune of $100,000. The conference that most college sports fans have forgotten by this point was in such a bad spot back in 2018 that it hired public relations firm FleishmanHillard to build a plan to change the tone of coverage it had received.
The result, according to the Oregonian report, was a 34-page report that instructed Larry and the Pac-12 to “seek to identify positive voices that could shift the conversation.” Enter the Times. The gist of the deal would be $100,000 in advertising revenue for expanded coverage. Positive news. Make us look good coverage. We’ll serve up content on a platter and you run it coverage.
There’s the whole separation of newsroom and advertising that newspapers subscribe to and, to paraphrase, word started to travel that this operating agreement was in place and people started getting uncomfortable.
Go read the Oregonian’s report on how desperate the Pac-12 was to make this all work and how in the end it crumbled and the Pac-12 remains an afterthought. Can you get the Pac-12 Network on your TV? I’ve never even seen it at a bar from Ohio to California.
Let’s take a look at Larry Scott’s other achievements:
• Two teams in the College Football Playoff since inception; yes, it’s not his fault Pac-12 teams have struggled to get in, but if a team won a national title he’d be sure to include that on his resume
• Empty stands during Pac-12 football conference championships
• Pac-12 officiating; remember the Mike Leach text messages?
• The Pac-12 rent in downtown San Francisco disaster
• Empty seats, empty seats, empty seats
• General apathy (outside a few schools trying their best) for the conference
This was the scene inside Levi’s Stadium just 5 minutes before tonight’s Pac 12 totals game. Tons of empty seats. And people wonder why the PAC 12 has the hardest time making the CFB Playoffs, uhhhh maybe because they want a market that will actually watch 🤔🤔 pic.twitter.com/7jYfFbLGCs
— In The Po$itive (@In_The_Positive) December 1, 2018
You can search ‘Larry Scott mess’ or ‘Larry Scott disaster’ on Twitter and it will keep you busy for hours if you really care that much about the Pac-12. The conference remains a mess, Larry Scott’s still a mess and the hits will keep coming until the school presidents finally come to the realization they’ve had enough.
Back at the end of February, school officials started discussing what to do with Scott and his deal that has two years remaining. There’s a TV rights deal upcoming and whether the presidents want Larry leading the Pac-12 during those negotiations. Now it’s up to Larry’s bosses to figure out if they’ve had enough of the bad looks. Enough of having to pay for positive coverage.
“Larry Scott’s email bragging about his 12% pay-cut from his annual salary of $5.3 M, compared to employees making $100K needing to take a 10% pay-cut, is a bad look. I’m not surprised they’re talking about trying to buy him out.”—@ClayTravis pic.twitter.com/PM9eYSDFxU
— OutKick (@Outkick) July 7, 2020