Pac-12 Conference announces Commissioner Larry Scott to conclude term as Commissioner
Jan 20, 2021
Mutual decision reached one year before the end of his contract;
Scott will remain through June of this year
SAN FRANCISCO (Jan. 20, 2021) – The Pac-12 Conference announced today that following ongoing discussions between its governing executive committee, its presidents and Commissioner Larry Scott, it was mutually agreed that the Commissioner would not seek a new contract. The decision was made well in advance of next year’s contract expiration, in part, to allow a new commissioner to be in place to negotiate and maximize the Conference’s next important long-term media rights agreement.
The Conference and Scott decided it was time for new leadership after his 11-year tenure. Scott’s existing contract is scheduled to expire in June 2022 and it was agreed he will remain in the role until June 30, 2021 to assist in the transition.
The Pac-12 executive committee, including University of Oregon President Michael Schill as chair; Kirk H. Schulz, Washington State University president; and Ana Mari Cauce, president of the University of Washington, will immediately commence a national search for Scott’s replacement as commissioner.
“We appreciate Larry’s pioneering efforts in growing the conference by adding new competitive university programs and accelerating the Pac-12 to television network parity with the other conferences,” said Schill. “At one point, our television agreement was the most lucrative in the nation and the debut of the Pac-12 Network helped deliver our championship brand to US and global markets on traditional and digital platforms. That said, the intercollegiate athletics marketplace doesn’t remain static and now is a good time to bring in a new leader who will help us develop our go-forward strategy.”
Scott, whose current term expires in 2022, said this time is right for several reasons: “I was in pro sports for 20 years, I’ve now been in college athletics for more than 10 years, and now is a great time in my life to pursue other exciting opportunities. This moment, when college athletics are moving in a new direction and with the Conference soon commencing the next round of media negotiations, it seems the right time to make a change. It is important that the conference be able to put in place the person who will negotiate and carry out that next agreement. Based on the recent robust valuation and marketplace interest we’ve received from traditional and nontraditional media organizations, I am confident the conference is well-positioned for continued success. I appreciate the support of the Pac-12 member institutions and a very talented staff, with whom it has been my privilege to work.”
Commissioner Scott will leave a significant imprint on the Pac-12. It was during the 2010-11 academic year that Scott helped deliver changes that transformed the Conference into a modern 12-team league. In addition to expanding to 12 teams, member institutions agreed to equal revenue sharing for the first time in the Conference’s history, created two football divisions––the North Division and the South Division––and established a Football Championship Game for the first time. Scott also secured major media rights deals with ESPN and FOX that dramatically increased national exposure and revenue for each school, in addition to establishing Pac-12 Networks that guaranteed enhanced exposure across all sports.
Another area of continuity that both the Pac-12 and member institutions will prioritize in the search for Scott’s successor will be continuing positive graduation rates for the Conference’s student-athletes. President Schill cited the Conference’s improvements in graduation rates as measured by the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR). With 90% of the NCAA Division I student-athletes now achieving graduation during the measured period, the Pac-12 experienced improvements across the Conference, with some member institutions and athletic programs achieving 100% graduation rates among student-athletes in specific sports programs.
The Pac-12 Conference has led or tied the nation in NCAA Championship in 54 of the last 60 years with the exceptions coming no lower than third. Under Commissioner Scott, the Conference also debuted its Pac-12 Impact program using the power of sport to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion. It also played a leadership role with its Student-Athlete Health and Well-Being Initiative which is doing groundbreaking research into injury prevention, brain trauma, and mental health. Other milestones of accomplishment between Commissioner Scott, the Pac-12 Conference and the member institutions can be found below.
About the Pac-12 Conference
The Pac-12 Conference is the “Conference of Champions,” leading the nation in NCAA Championships in 54 of the last 60 years, with 529 NCAA team titles overall. The Conference comprises 12 leading U.S. universities - the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Colorado, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the University of Washington and Washington State University. For more information on the Conference’s programs, member institutions, and Commissioner Larry Scott, go to Pac-12.com/conference.
For more information regarding the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR), visit here.
Key Milestones during Commissioner Larry Scott’s Tenure
His entrepreneurial approach to the Conference’s broadcast rights helped lay the foundation for a strong valuation of those rights in the next round of negotiations. That approach included record-breaking revenue from Tier I rights, exposure for non-revenue sports, innovative digital media, equal sharing among the schools, and the rolling up of all the Conference’s media rights into one package. Key to achieving those goals was the creation of Pac-12 Networks, the first television network wholly owned by a collegiate conference and whose objectives went beyond revenue generation to emphasize exposure for women’s and Olympic sports.
These innovations, together with those below, propelled Conference revenue from approximately $100 million to approximately $500 million a year.
Added two schools (Colorado and Utah), thus enabling the creation of a football championship game, enlarging the conference’s footprint and visibility.
Adopted a new logo and identity built around its West Coast culture and embrace of innovation that modernized the Conference and helped it maintain its role as the Conference of Champions by winning 104 NCAA Championships over the last decade.
Used its West Coast identity to launch a major initiative in Asia, especially focused on China, including an annual regular-season basketball game in China and a major strategic alliance with Alibaba.
Placed a strong focus on student-athlete health and welfare, including research into prevention and treatment of brain injury, liberalized transfer rules, efforts to ease time demands on student-athletes, and the inclusion of student-athletes in Conference governance.
Developed comprehensive social justice efforts, including “Pac-12 Impact,” working closely with our student-athletes to promote education and hiring practices to achieve equality.