The executive committee of the Pac-12 CEO group gave me 15 minutes on Thursday morning to ask questions about what would happen after the conference commissioner was ousted.
I thought of leaving the gate with “What $ #% @ did it take you that long? “
The conference announced Wednesday night that it would not renew Commissioner Larry Scott’s contract. Pac-1
Not the future of the Pac-12 network.
Not the future location of the conference headquarters.
Especially not a significant reduction in salary for the new rent.
My biggest conclusion is that this group of presidents and chancellors is far more evolved than campus leaders since the last time this kind of hiring was done. They are committed and much more focused on athletics than their predecessors. They don’t look at sports as a campus toy factory, for example. And I have one important thought left – the current Pac-12 CEO group sounds like it knows what it’s doing.
The group is chaired by Oregon President Michael Schill. He joined the Pac-12 Executive Committee of Kaus and Washington President Kirk Schultz. Intelligent, attuned and sensitive to the Pacific Northwest. Besides, they’re all newcomers to Scott.
When I asked them about the distraction that Scott’s $ 5.3 million salary a year caused Schultz, he said, “We know very well about public relations about Larry’s compensation. My purpose in this is that it doesn’t have to be the first thing people talk about when it comes to Pac-12.
“I want to make sure I reduce that a little bit.”
When asked about the San Francisco headquarters, which bleeds Pac-12 at a rate of $ 7 million a year, Cowes said, “We don’t tie anyone’s hands so we don’t get married, ‘it has to be here’ or ‘it has to be there.’ “. “
Schultz added: “We expect the person to come in and make an earlier assessment and make some recommendations about the network, the location of the conference and the level of staff.”
In principle, this is a complete restart.
It is worth noting, as the trio did on Thursday morning, that most of the conference’s presidents and chancellors were not at work when Scott was hired a decade ago. Only ASU and UCLA are old protective detentions. The rest of the Pac-12 inherited it and had to live with Scott’s weary act, just like all of us. That’s why I was confident all along that this would change.
Schill told me that the conference had not yet developed the job description of the new commissioner. He wants to consult with the other 11 leaders of the Pac-12 and find out what should lead to this. It will also let the search company help with this. But Schultz struck him in the square between his eyes when he suggested, “You have 12 schools, they are like 12 children. You have to love them all different. I want the commissioner to show up at Pullman (and other schools) and say, “What can I do to help you succeed?”
The same is true for Washington, Oregon, the United States and others. The next Commissioner needs to understand the challenges on the individual campuses. You have to be a good listener from the beginning. This person’s term should begin with a two-day meeting with coaches, athletic directors and athletes on each campus.
Do not fly on a private charter and stay in a five star hotel. Maybe rent a motorcycle house and park it on the playground in front of the football stadium. Or crash into a Hampton Inn and eat food at home.
You know, a bright sign, things have really changed.
A short list of candidates I would like to talk to? Condoleezza Rice, perhaps, though I doubt she would be interested. Also West Coast Conference Commissioner Gloria Nevares and Alabama AD Greg Byrne, who worked on multiple campuses at the conference. Maybe Oliver Luck and Oregon AD Rob Mullens too.
I think there are a number of good, hard-working souls who would like to come down like the man who saved Pac-12. But more importantly, I have a sudden confidence that this CEO Group will find this person.
The plant should move to a more accessible footprint. Phoenix, Seattle, Las Vegas or the suburbs of the bay? Everyone at the table. In addition, the future of the network is in serious doubt. I would vote to sell it to a partner like FS1 or ESPN and let it direct resources to make this a success. But as the presidents reiterated on Thursday, those recommendations will not come from a sports columnist.
They will come from the new rent.
Hiring this group must now become dead, solid, perfect.
I was struck by something else as I spoke with the Pac-12 trio of leaders on Thursday. They were engaged and intelligent. They also sounded like very passionate fans of the conference. They talked about Pac-12 as if they loved and adored it. Several of them admitted that they even secretly root for their rivals when it comes to competitions on the national stage.
Cowes said, “As embarrassing as it is to say it when plagues or ducks win out of the conference, it’s good for us.”
Schill replied: “I will not say it because you are in the press, but she supported us a lot in certain situations. I will leave it like that. “
The trio spoke with hope and clarity on Thursday. It was a breath of fresh air. Scott is technically still in office until June, but the contemptuous arrogance of his term has disappeared. It has been replaced by hope.
Things seem to be getting better now.
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