Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott
Throughout his career as a student-athlete, professional athlete, and sports executive, Larry Scott has been a game changer: a bold, innovative leader with a vision for transformative change — from equal prize money at Wimbledon to expansion and revitalization of the Pac-12 Conference. Commissioner Scott’s firm belief that sport has the power to be a force for positive change has been the hallmark of his career.
Expansion and Innovation at the Pac-12
In his six years as Pac-12 Commissioner, with the support of the Pac-12’s member universities’ presidents and chancellors, Scott has orchestrated a rebranding of the Conference, with messages of innovation, excellence, and the advantages of a West Coast location at its core. Scott also led the Conference through an expansion for the first time since 1978 by successfully adding Colorado and Utah.
During his tenure, the Pac-12 added a Football Championship Game, transformed the Conference basketball tournaments into must-attend events, and secured an agreement for equal revenue sharing for the first time ever.
Scott has also led a transformation of the Conference’s media posture by delivering much-needed revenue, dramatically increasing exposure for women’s and Olympic sports, establishing digital and mobile platforms for Pac-12 content, and creating training and employment opportunities for thousands of Pac-12 students interested in launching media careers. To achieve these goals, he delivered a landmark media rights agreement with ESPN and Fox Sports and created Pac-12 Networks, the first-ever integrated media company owned by a collegiate conference.
Commissioner Scott and the presidents and chancellors of the Pac-12 have led the way in ensuring that the academic mission and welfare of student-athletes remain the primary focus of intercollegiate athletics. Through a series of reforms, Pac-12 schools have committed to enhanced student-athlete benefits, including increasing scholarship limits to cover the full cost of attending college, and the Pac-12 has formally added student-athletes to its governance structure.
Under Scott’s leadership, the Pac-12 also created a Student-Athlete Health Initiative that is a collective effort between the conference and our member universities to find ways to reduce injuries, share current best practices and latest studies, and conduct research to uncover new ways to keep student-athletes as safe as possible. The 7,000 student-athletes in the Pac-12 benefit deeply from college athletics as their sports provide them an avenue to graduate from some of the best universities in the world. Scott is staunchly committed to retaining college sports a vital component of American higher education by continually adapting to the changing needs of today’s student-athletes.
His vision for the Conference also reaches beyond geographic borders. In 2011, Scott launched the Pac-12 Globalization Initiative, which aims to expand the Conference’s footprint in Asia. Since its advent, the initiative has been the catalyst for several athletic events and student-athlete cultural exchange programs in China. In 2015, the Pac-12 hosted the first-ever regular season basketball game, collegiate or professional, to be played in China as the University of Washington defeated the University of Texas.
Proven Leadership in Athletics
Scott succeeded Tom Hansen as the sixth Commissioner of what was then the Pac-10 Conference on July 1, 2009. Before that, he served for six years as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Sony Ericsson Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour, where he helped generate unprecedented growth and popularity for women’s professional tennis on a global scale.
At the WTA Tour, Scott worked with Billie Jean King and others to achieve the long-sought goal of equal prize money for women in tennis’ grand slam events. He also became the architect of the largest-ever sponsorship in both women’s sports and professional tennis, a six-year $88-million title sponsorship agreement with Sony Ericsson. His many other WTA achievements include the largest television deal in women’s tennis history, a reform package that led to a 40 percent increase in prize money, and $750 million in facilities investments.
Scott’s career in athletics extends back to his captaincy of the Harvard men’s tennis team, where he was named an All-American, earned a B.A. in History, and developed a first-hand understanding of the importance of maintaining a balance between academics and athletics.
He went on to play tennis professionally on the ATP circuit, winning one title, and then going on to work for more than a decade with the ATP, where his roles included Chief Operating Officer, President of ATP Properties, and Executive Vice President of the International Group. In those roles, he was credited with significantly increasing the global popularity of men’s tennis, establishing the Tennis Masters Cup as one of the sport’s most successful events, negotiating a renewal of the ATP’s 13-year partnership with Mercedes-Benz that remains one of the preeminent sponsorship agreements in tennis history, and launching tournaments in places like China and the Persian Gulf.
Recognition and Service
Scott has often earned recognition for his visionary leadership. In 2012, he was a finalist for the Sports Executive of the Year Award given by Sports Business Journal and was awarded the Vision Award by Cynopsis Sports. Also that year, the Pac-12 was nominated by Sports Business Journal as the Sports League of the Year. In 2013, Scott was given the Americanism Award by the Anti-Defamation League in tribute to his mission of fostering positive change through sports. Scott also serves on the board of the Women’s Sports Foundation.
During his tenure as Commissioner, Scott has increasingly become a leader in intercollegiate athletics, playing a major role in creation of the College Football Playoff, demonstrating leadership in the drive for NCAA reform, and being a strong advocate for maintaining the primacy of academics and the welfare of student-athletes.
Larry and his wife, Cybille, live in Danville, Calif., and have three children, Alexander, Sebastien, and Alannah.