Pay-cuts announced for Larry Scott and the Pac-12 conference

Ryan Kostecka

Much like the rest of the nation, the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on the Pac-12 conference and its affiliated Pac-12 Networks. According to a report by the Oregonian, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott informed employees last week in an email that salary reductions would be made immediately to help stave off the economic downfall.

According the email obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive, Scott said, “our CEO Group approved our conference budget for this coming year, which includes a 9 percent overall decrease in expenses along with salary reductions for employees making over $100,000 in annual salary.”

According to the email and subsequent story, the salary reductions went into effect immediately and will stay that way for the next 12 months. 

Employees who reported earnings of over $100,000 or more are having their salary slashed from anywhere between 5-10%. Scott also received a salary reduction of 12%, going from $5.3 million to $4.66 million for the next year.

"Our CEO Group approved our conference budget for this coming year, which includes a 9 percent overall decrease in expenses along with salary reductions for employees making over $100,000 in annual salary," Scott wrote in the email.

One of the bigger parts of the story that went far and above the salary reductions was The Oregonian dropping the bomb that Scott's reduction could extend far beyond the year. According to the article, there have been internal discussions regarding the possibility of relieving Scott of his duties as commissioner. 

Currently his contract runs through the end of 2022, but his lack of leadership regarding the Pac-12 Network has left the company vulnerable to cost-cutting and "tens of millions less in annual revenue for each conference member" compared to its Power Five counterparts.

The Pac-12 Networks reach fewer than 18 million households, a fraction of the audience other conferences enjoy. It generates tens of millions less in annual revenue for each conference member, too. That makes the network a prime area of focus for cost cuts. As a result, eight percent of the network staffers were laid off in April. Those who remained employed in April were given pay reductions.

“There’s serious talk amongst the Pac-12 CEO Group,” an anonymous high-level conference administrator told The Oregonian, “to end (Scott's) contract ahead of the expiration date to have a fighting chance to save the (conference) Networks.”

Scott, 55, was first named commissioner in July of 2009 when the conference was still the Pac-10 — and he was a major part of realigning and expanding the conference to 12 teams.

Scott has typically been at forefront of expressing optimism regarding the upcoming college football season, believing that it will happen on time. But as of late, growing pessimism has taken the forefront with the coronavirus spreading rapidly throughout the nation.

“Unless we see a change in the trajectory of the spread of the virus and its impact pretty quickly, I think the situation’s a lot more perilous than it was a few weeks ago," Scott said. "We need to keep learning and understanding what's happening, until the latest point where we have to make a decision, one way or another, and we're trying to take baby steps. What we thought the narrative was a month ago is now very different. ... No one can predict right now what the fall is going to look like, in my opinion." 

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Twitter — @UtahUtes_SI and Ryan Kostecka at @Ryan_Kostecka

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