Pac-12

Pac-12: George Kliavkoff to focus on 'revenue sports' and winning National Championships

Pac-12
Pac-12 Conference

Thursday morning, the Pac-12 conference announced the hiring of its new commissioner George Kliavkoff from MGM Resorts. 

Shortly after the announcement, he met with the media via a Zoom call and detailed his vision for the future of the premiere college athletics conference on the West Coast. While doing so, he admitted what everyone across the country sees was Larry Scott's largest downfall: an inability for the conference to win.

"The greatest weakness, if we're being honest with ourselves, is the number of years it's been since we won a football or men's basketball championship," Kliavkoff said. "We're gonna do everything we can at the conference level to fix that."

Under the College Football Playoff, only one Pac-12 team has won a playoff game (Oregon in the 2015 Rose Bowl before losing the National Championship). Washington made the Semifinals in 2016 before losing to Alabama, 24-7 in the Fiesta Bowl. 

Since USC won the 2004 BCS National Championship, only three Pac-12 schools have played in the National Championship (USC in 2005, Oregon in 2010, Oregon in 2015). 

In men's basketball, a Pac-12 school hasn't won the National Championship since 1997 when Arizona won it all. 

Under Kliavkoff, the conference will prioritize bringing in revenue which will be put back into the athletic departments and can grow other sports such as women's basketball and Olympic sports.

"We know where our bread is buttered," he said. "We're focused on the revenue sports and winning in football and men's basketball."

 

When seeking a replacement for Larry Scott, the Pac-12 wanted a candidate who could negotiate the upcoming broadcasting rights deal in 18-24 months. The SEC reached a $3 billion contract with ESPN in December for college football and the NCAA signed an 8-year, $8.8 billion deal with CBS/Turner for March Madness broadcasting rights.  

To help accomplish that goal, the new commissioner is in favor of expanding the College Football Playoff but when asked, did not have details for in what shape he'd like that to happen.

"I want to go on the record that the Pac-12 is in favor of both the expansion of the College Football Playoff's four teams and the implementation of consistent guidelines for name, image and likeness," said Kliavkoff. "We think that both CFB expansion and NIL legislation are good for college sports fans, good for our student-athletes and can be a significant competitive advantage for the Pac-12."

He added that he believes the prestige level of the public universities within the conference will be among the main differentiators in the Pac-12's favor when compared to other P5 conferences. 

Kliavkoff will serve on the board for MGM for another four weeks before taking over as Pac-12 commissioner officially on July 1st, beginning a five-year contract.