Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has agreed to a contract extension that will keep him with the league through 2022, according to a source. Scott had one year remaining on his contract, and the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors recently approached him about an extension.
The terms of the deal aren’t known. But Scott will continue in his dual role as commissioner and executive chairman of Pac-12 Enterprises. Partly because of those dual roles, Scott made more than $4 million in 2014, according to the conference’s latest available tax returns.
Scott joined the league in 2009, coming over from the Women’s Tennis Association. He was widely hailed as a visionary and credited for modernizing the league soon after his arrival. The Pac-12’s 2011 television deal with FOX and ESPN yielded nearly $3 billion for the conference, a number that was the most lucrative in college sports at the time.
Few would argue how far Scott has taken the league, which was mired in an antiquated television deal when he arrived. He oversaw the league’s expansion from 10 to 12 teams and the influx of cash has significantly bolstered the league’s competitiveness throughout all sports.
But in recent years, Scott has become a target for criticism because of the Pac-12 Network’s distribution issues. The league’s per schools revenue distribution from the its cable television network lags far behind the Big Ten and SEC. That’s one reason why the Big Ten and SEC have pulled away from the Pac-12, ACC and Big 12 in the collegiate sports revenue race. According to some figures compiled by Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, the Pac-12’s 2016 annual per school distribution of an estimated $27 million projects to be $13 million behind the SEC and $8 million behind the Big Ten. The gap only projects to get bigger.
While those numbers have caused some grousing within some Pac-12 athletic departments, it clearly hasn’t been enough of an impediment to prevent the decision makers on campuses throughout the league to give Scott a five-year deal.
The Pac-12’s current television deals, both tier one with ESPN and FOX and distribution deals with the Pac-12 Network, expire in 2023-24. That means the league will decide in the next few years if it wants Scott to negotiate that next contract or bring in someone else, as his deal expires in 2022.