Report: Larry Scott’s Pac-12 Paid For Positive Coverage Via LA Times, The Hits Just Keep Coming

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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

The $7,500/night Vegas suite fiasco

• 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

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.

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


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  1. I think at this point Larry Scott’s time as Commish is officially on Death Row. He is not going to be the person that can bring the conference back to respectability. USC, Washington, and UCLA will want better leadership, and they will most likely get their way. The conference is looking bad, and they are falling behind yearly revenues of the SEC and Big 10 by wide margins. Even the Big 12 is catching up. They need new and innovative leadership fast, and time is not on their side.

  2. Good stuff, Joe…makes us wonder about empty suits being all over college sports.
    The fact that travel is such an issue for home and away means the conference is competing with one hand tied behind their backs.
    But given how flexible schools seem to be to get the big bucks from TV sports and from sponsors, you would think in the last 10 years they might have come up with a plan; especially so they could attract maybe ONE big name team per year from other conferences. It’s only money and there are ways all above board to attract other teams.

  3. I’m not sure who’s more despicable in this scenario, Larry Scott or the LA Times. It takes two to tango, one to supply the money and one who accepts it. Both are guilty. If this is how the LA Times operates there’s no telling who else is hitting their payroll for some “pimp spin”. Furthermore, if a news organization as prominent as the LA Times did this, it makes you wonder about the New York Times and Washington Post. I am not surprised in the least that a mainstream media culture devoid of ethics whatsoever would do such a thing, but I am still sickened by having my suspicions confirmed.

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