Pac-12 presidents are considering buying commissioner Larry Scott out of his contract early ahead of the upcoming round of TV negotiations, according to a report Monday from John Canzano of The Oregonian.
Scott has run the conference since 2009, and all but two of the conference’s 12 presidents or chancellors have switched chairs since then.
“There’s serious talk amongst the Pac-12 CEO Group,” one high-level conference administrator told the paper, “to end his contract ahead of the expiration date to have a fighting chance to save the (conference) Networks.”
Scott attempted to annex half the Big 12 before settling for Colorado and Utah, and his big bet has been on the Pac-12 Networks, which the conference schools have funded themselves rather than partnering with an existing network like ESPN (SEC, ACC, Texas) or Fox (Big Ten).
Since the Pac-12 Networks are conference-owned and conference-run, Scott is paid $5.3 million for his dual roles as head of the Pac-12 conference and networks.
That looks especially bad, for Scott and the people who approved such an arrangement, as long as the Pac-12 is languishing behind its peers. Pac-12 Networks are in just 18 million homes, and paid out just $2.7 million per school in 2018, according to the San Jose Mercury-News.
In short, Scott makes about as much from the Pac-12 Networks as the schools themselves. As I said, not a good look.
The Pac-12’s at-the-time record-breaking $3 billion contracts with ESPN and Fox expire in 2024, a date Scott obviously has circled to A) close the gap with the SEC and the Big Ten and B) secure his legacy within the conference. (Scott’s deal expires after the 2021-22 athletic year.)
Objective A was always going to be doubtful, simply because the SEC and Big Ten are miles and miles ahead of the Pac-12 (and, to be fair, the ACC and Big 12 as well). But now there’s apparently a chance Objective B doesn’t happen, either.