The Pac-12 has been in a downward spiral for the last decade.
And now, after 11 years, the Pacific-12 conference will part ways with commissioner Larry Scott in June. The decision comes after the Pac-12 failed to produce a College Football Playoff team for the fourth consecutive season.
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) January 21, 2021
“It is important that the conference be able to put in place the person who will negotiate and carry out that next agreement,” Scott said Wednesday.
ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura, a Pac-12 reporter for ESPN, shed insight on Scott’s decision.
Conference of Champions?
The Pac-12, one of five Power 5 conferences, fell significantly behind its competition during Scott’s tenure. The conference has not won a national championship in football or basketball since 2004. Additionally, in a time where college football and big business created a symbiotic relationship, Scott and the Pac-12 failed to capitalize. In turn, the Pac-12 has arguably the weakest media rights deal of all Power 5 conferences.
Scott was a trail-blazer on negotiating conference media deals. In 2011, the Pac-12 became the first conference to announce their own network. Yet, the head start just hurt the conference. In the following years, the ACC, SEC, Big 10 and Big 12 all negotiated more lucrative television deals. Even further, the ACC and SEC now have networks backed by ESPN, with the SEC recently signing a historic extension with Disney.
Those around the Pac-12 simply believe Scott generated more revenue for the conference and himself rather than the schools itself. Questionable officiating is another stain that contributed to the competitive gap between the Pac-12 and the big boys. ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura goes in depth on the conferences decision.
For the next six months, the Pac-12 will be vetting a replacement for Scott. Many names have been speculated. Former XFL commissioner Oliver Luck is a name that has been thrown around. Luck has ties to the conference from his son, Andrew’s, time at Stanford. Alabama AD Greg Byrne is another name that comes to mind. Byrne’s time at Arizona produced some of the conference’s best basketball and baseball seasons. The strongest contender seems to be Stanford AD Bernard Muir, who has led the nations most dominant athletic program since 2012.
Whoever is hired will have work to do. In a time of name, image and likeness negotiations and new TV deals, there is more money available from college sports than ever. The Pac-12 needs a leader who will truly make them the Conference of Champions.