Longtime Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott will step down at the end of June. The news was first reported by Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal.
A national search for Scott’s successor will begin immediately.
“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 University of Oregon President Michael Schill. Schill serves as chair of the Pac-12 executive committee. “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 was hired to be commissioner of the then Pac-10 in July of 2009.
His contract, which paid reportedly $5.4 million during the 2018 calendar year per tax records, was set to expire in June 2022. Scott has agreed to remain in his role until June 30, 2021 to assist with the transition.
Some early names are surfacing as replacements for Scott, including Ohio State AD Gene Smith.
This is a long overdue move for the conference as the league has fallen behind its Power 5 peers in recent years, especially from football and men’s basketball standpoint, and the need for fresh leadership became dire. The Pac-12 made $250 million less than the Big Ten and $190 million less than the SEC in total revenue during the 2019 season.
It is reported that Scott took home an estimated $40 million during his tenure as Pac-12 Commissioner.
His tenure was often times contentious and tumultuous as the conference was bleeding money while also paying executives within the conference and laying off lower level staffers. Quality control over Pac-12 officiating was also a colossal failure under Scott's tenure.
Some of Scott’s brighter moments came when he expanded the league to 12 teams in 2011, secured major media right deals with ESPN and FOX that led to increased revenue and exposure to individual schools, and the creation of a conference-only network.
“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.”