Scott Draws Fire Reportedly for Taking Bonuses Before Staff Layoffs

Dan Raley

As he presided over late-summer Zoom meetings with media members regarding the state of Pac-12 football affairs, Larry Scott took questions and often deferred to others for answers.

While these alternative sources certainly had expertise on the various topics that could be helpful, it still seemed odd that the conference commissioner, the man in charge, kept passing the buck.

Yet leadership, or the lack of it, is destined to be Scott's legacy.

Eleven years on the job as Pac-12 commissioner, Scott is staring at a football season that still doesn't have legs yet, with his CEO group delaying any further actions until Thursday.

No matter what these presidents and chancellors decide, the conference will be returning to competition well after every other Power 5 entity has kicked off and tabulated the final score for a number of outings.

Even before the pandemic hit, Scott's conference lagged far behind the others in national success, TV contracts and overall image. His unsteady leadership was blamed.

He can't seem to light a fire under anyone. That is, until today. He appears to have struck a match beneath himself.

The latest disclosure about him — Jon Wilner details how Scott cashed in and paid out exorbitant executive performance bonuses a month before laying off or furloughing half of his staff — could very well send his job up in flames. 

The man who went 1-18 as a professional tennis player seems ready to finish 0-for-11 as the man in charge of the Pac-12.

Scott, according to records obtained by Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, moved up the dates and paid himself handsomely before ousting 94 of 196 people in video calls. Some of this was done in such a way that the employees received no job severance. 

The Oregonian's John Canzano, who wrote a revealing series about Scott's commissioner shortfalls a few years back, offers a fairly scathing Monday rebuke of Scott right here. 

"It's a move right out of Gordon Gekko's playbook," Canzano wrote, referencing the film Wall Street.

In April, Scott, who makes more than $5 million per year, presented a grand show of good faith by announcing he would take a 20 percent salary reduction and another 12 precent decrease for fiscal year 2021.

Nothing was said about the executive bonuses.

In Scott's case, these payouts were thought to exceed $2 million.

As Pac-12 football has failed to compete for a national championship with the advent of expanded playoffs, find its way onto primetime TV with any regularity or even supply many NFL draftees this past April, Scott's days have been numbered. He's made the conference the butt of endless jokes an swipes.

It'll be interesting to see what comes first: the start of a Pac-12 football season or the end of Larry Scott. 

Comments (3)
No. 1-3

"Why are you doing it? How much better can you eat? What could you buy that you can't already afford?" ~ Jake Gittes, Chinatown


Leadership by example? NOT!

Dan Raley
Dan Raley


The image of the Pac-12 becomes more hapless with his every move