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By Bill Seals
Sports Reporter 

Pac-12 Conference announces change in leadership

 

February 22, 2024

The Pac-12 Board of Directors announced on Friday, February 16, that the Conference and Commissioner George Kliavkoff have mutually agreed to part ways, effective February 29, 2024. The Pac-12 Conference announced that Teresa Gould had been appointed as the new Commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference, succeeding Commissioner Kliavkoff effective March 1, 2024.

Kliavkoff's current contract runs through June 30, 2026. He is being paid annually about $3.5 million. While no details of the settlement were released, it is believed that all 12 schools will share the buyout payment equally.

The Pac-12 conference will lose 10 of their 12 current schools to other power conferences on July 1, 2024. There will be only two schools left after July 1st, Oregon State and Washington State. They will continue to operate the Pac-12 primarily for financial purposes.

Oregon State and Washington State, by staying with the PAC-12 conference, now the Pac-2, will get a full college football playoff share of $6 million each the next two years, plus will collect the NCAA Men's basketball tournament revenue, which is estimated at about $16 million in 2024. Oregon State and Washington State own all of the assets of the Pac-12, including the production facilities used to broadcast the Pac-12 Network games.

They will either add to the Pac-2 in 2026 or move to another conference. The two schools could decide to expand the Pac-2 conference to 8 to 10 schools, with some of the Mountain West Conference schools like San Diego State and UNLV being high on the list. Or they could merge with the Mountain West Conference. The MWC has two years left on their TV contract with FOX and CBS. A merger with the MWC or schools leaving the MWC in two years will be easier because there will be no exit fee once the TV contract has expired.

Oregon State and Washington State will continue to monitor the changing realignment environment in college athletics to see if there are any opportunities to join one of the other power conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, and SEC) in the next two years. They will play an independent schedule the next two seasons under the Pac-2 banner which allows for a full playoff share in football.

Kliavkoff inherited a mess when he took the commissioner job in July of 2021. Despite his best efforts, he failed to save the conference. Larry Scott was the previous commissioner, and he was responsible for many of the issues that plagued the conference for the past decade.

The TV Contract with ESPN and FOX was twelve years, which was too long and what looked like a good TV deal financially in the beginning quickly became obsolete. The Pac-12 TV Network struggled to get on cable systems and never did get a deal done with DirecTV. The Pac-12 Network is currently available in an estimated 14 million homes.

The conference was spending too much money on the corporate headquarters in Downtown San Francisco and Scott, as the CEO of the both the conference and the TV Network was the highest paid commissioner in college football.

Gould was the deputy commissioner of the Pac-12 before her promotion. In that role, she was in charge of overseeing all Pac-12 championship events. Gould has a master's in education from UC Berkeley. She has over 30 years of experience in collegiate athletics, including 14 years at UC Berkeley.

Teresa's deep knowledge of collegiate athletics and unwavering commitment to student-athletes makes her uniquely qualified to help guide the Pac-12 Conference during this period of unprecedented change in college sports," said Washington State University President Kirk Schulz, chairman of the Pac-12 Board of Directors.

 

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