The Pac-12 will be in the market for a new commissioner this year.
The conference announced on Wednesday evening that Larry Scott will step down from his position on June 30, a mutual agreement after he met with the league’s presidents and chancellors this week. Scott’s current contract was slated to expire in June 2022, but he will not seek a new one.
The new commissioner, whoever it is, will immediately be thrust into negotiating the Pac-12′s next media rights deal. The current media rights deal expires after the 2023-24 academic year.
“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,” Scott said in a statement. “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.”
Scott’s tenure included the conference expanding to 12 teams in 2011, including the University of Utah, a multi-billion dollar media-rights deal with ESPN and Fox, and the creation of the Pac-12 Network, but in recent years, the general public soured on the 56-year-old.
In fiscal 2019, the Pac-12 paid roughly $32.2 million to each member school, a figure that is dwarfed by the rest of the Power Five. A full SEC share in fiscal 2019 was $45.3 million, and about $55.6 million in the Big Ten.
The Pac-12 payout also trailed the Big 12 ($42 million), but was mostly on par with the ACC (approximately $34 million).
“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,” Oregon president Michael Schill, the chair of the Pac-12′s executive committee, said in a statement. “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 U.S. 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.”