Pac-12 commissioner Scott to step down a year early
Larry Scott is to step down as commissioner of the Pac-12 a year early after mutually agreeing to end his long tenure with the US college sports conference.
Scott's existing contract was due to expire in June 2022 but it has been mutually agreed to end his 11-year stint this summer.
The Pac-12 announced Scott will remain in the position until 30 June to assist with the transition to a new commissioner and to allow his replacement “to be in place to negotiate and maximise the conference’s next important long-term media rights agreement.”
During his tenure with the conference, Scott oversaw an expansion from 10 to 12 teams in 2011, lucrative rights deals with major broadcasters ESPN and Fox, and the creation of the Pac-12 Network.
He led negotiations for the 12-year, $3 billion deal TV deal that came into effect at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year and significantly increased the league's annual revenue.
At the time, that agreement assured the Pac-12 of the biggest rights deal in the NCAA, but it has since been surpassed by several of its rival conferences.
Last month, ESPN expanded its rights agreement with the Southeastern Conference, signing a new 10-year deal worth $300 million per year.
Scott’s replacement will be tasked with attempting to bring conference’s revenue in line with other conferences.
The Pac-12 distributed around $32.2 million to each of its schools in 2019, far behind both the SEC ($44.3 million) and the Big Ten ($55.6 million).
Scott, the highest-paid commissioner in college sports, adopted a different media strategy with the Pac-12 as the conference took control of its TV rights while other conferences partnered with ESPN or Fox Sports on joint networks, though it receives far less for them.
He believed the arrangement would give the Pac-12 more flexibility during the next round of negotiations, which will now be handled by his successor.
However, the Pac-12 Network suffered distribution issues and exposure was limited by the failure to land significant carriage deals.
Scott took charge in 2009 and, after adding two schools in Utah and Colorado, has guided the Pac-12 to becoming one of the ‘Power Five’ leagues in USA.
He was also instrumental in getting conference members to agree to equal revenue sharing for the first time.
However, there have been financial challenges and Scott came under fire for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Pac-12 was initially among the conferences which opted against playing last autumn before reversing the decision a few weeks later.
The league said the search for Scott’s replacement will “immediately commence.”
Before joining the Pac-12, Scott was chairman and chief executive of women’s tennis’ WTA.