Reviewing Larry Scott’s tenure as PAC-12 commissioner

In this file photo from Nov. 7 2020, the Beaver Football team storms Reser Stadium through a cloud of smoke  for their game against Washington State. The 2020 PAC-12 football season marked Larry Scott’s last as PAC-12 Commissioner. 

Jackson Smith, Sports Contributor

As of Jan. 20, 2021, Larry Scott, the PAC-12 Commissioner for the past 11 years announced that he and the conference have come to mutual terms to not renew his contract.

Scott’s contract was scheduled to run through 2022, but it was decided that he would step down as of June 30th to allow for a smoother transition to a new commissioner. 

During Scott’s 11 years as head of the conference, the PAC-12 saw over a decade of development. One attribute that Scott held was an expanded vision for what the conference should look like. 

One of the biggest additions that Scott made was the first conference expansion since 1978. The expansion added the Utah Utes and Colorado Buffaloes to the Pacific conference, seeing the two schools part ways with the Big 12, bringing the conference to where it is now, with 12 teams rather than the previous 10.

The PAC-12 also saw a transformation in regard to media and broadcasting during Scott’s tenure. Mobile and digital apps were revamped and reimagined for conference content that had an emphasis on gaining exposure for sports that gained less attention from the national media. 

Along with that media transformation was a first of its kind media rights agreement partnered with ESPN and FOX that led to the first-ever media company to be owned by a college conference. The 12-year deal included $3 billion in media rights for 12 years, which ultimately birthed the PAC-12 Network in 2012. The PAC-12 Network vision was to bring in revenue without having to rely on traditional media networks.

Ultimately, it worked out for Scott. With PAC-12 revenue increasing since the launch of the network and TV ratings steadily rising through the years, although the conference’s significant spending throughout Scott’s tenure has led to pushback and criticism from the public. 

On the field, however, the PAC-12 managed to back up to its nickname “The Conference of Champions” during Scott’s time as commissioner. 

Since Scott’s signing in 2009, the PAC-12 has accumulated over 80 Division 1 National Championships across multiple different sports, making it the first conference in the nation to reach a total of 500 national championships. 

However, in flagship sports such as football and basketball, the PAC-12 has struggled of late, failing to place a team into the College Football Playoff since the 2016 season, and not producing a national champion in Women’s or Men’s basketball during Scott’s tenure.

The PAC-12 conference will not begin to interview candidates for the position until July, but whoever is selected for the role is set to take on a lengthy list of long and short term responsibilities.

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