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Larry Scott is out as Pac-12 commissioner

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Our long nightmare is finally over. Plus, WSU’s awesome kicker is transferring and men’s basketball returns to the floor tonight against Utah.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After 11 years and countless missteps that have left him reviled by fans, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott will finally leave his post this coming June.

Scott characterized the decision as a mutual one, saying this is usually about the time that the he and the conference start discussing a contract extension — 18 months before expiry — and that it was clear almost immediately that the conference felt like a new direction was needed. Which indicates that Scott still thinks he’s much smarter than everyone else and that you won’t see this immediately for what it is: A firing.

It’s hard to remember now, but Scott entered the job with high hopes from fans who grew tired of the Old World thinking of his predecessor, Tom Hansen, who had been on the job for 26 years. Scott came over from the Women’s Tennis Association, and it was thought to be a bold move to bring in someone from outside the collegiate ranks.

And for a couple of years, it looked like he might just be what the conference needed, overseeing its expansion into the Pac-12 and negotiating what appeared to be a forward thinking television contract.

But it became clear shortly after that Scott didn’t have much of a handle on the college landscape and didn’t understand the unique financial dynamics of the economics of collegiate athletics, which rest primarily on football and secondarily on men’s basketball. His blunders are truly too numerous to count — the failure to secure a television contract with competitive exposure, the failure of the Pac-12 Networks to generate any meaningful revenue for the member schools or secure carriage on DirecTV, and the failure to improve officiating stand out at the top — and you likely are aware of them. So we won’t recount them here.

Ultimately, the biggest black mark is simply this: The man who made millions upon millions more than any of his peers utterly failed to raise the overall profile of the conference, which is really a commissioner’s most important job, because everything else flows out of that.

The Oregonian’s John Canzano has been relentless in his reporting of Scott and the failures of the Pac-12, and he probably put it best:

The point here isn’t to pile on Scott, but to make sure the sitting presidents and chancellors don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. Scott struggled mightily to connect with his own staff. He barely spoke to most of them. He ruled like an emperor and cast aside anyone who couldn’t help him, and even some who did. But Scott’s biggest sin is that he forgot that his job was supposed to be about doing everything in his power to boost the conference and serve those 12 campuses.

Instead, he served himself.

Scott’s successor will take the job at a critical time; preliminary negotiations for the next television contract — which expires in 2024 — will be getting underway soon. And WSU will get a pretty big say in the next commissioner:

Although the CEO Group will make the decision collectively, the three-person executive committee will drive the process.

That committee is composed of Oregon president Michael Schill (chair), Washington president Ana Mari Cauce and Washington State president Kirk Schulz. ...

For Pac-12 fans worried about the state of the conference and anxious about the search, that trio should put your concerns at ease.

It features the presidents of two of the Pac-12’s premier football programs, Oregon and Washington. And the third member of the group, WSU’s Schulz, might know more about the sport than any president in the conference.

Schulz is the Pac-12’s representative on the College Football Playoff board of managers; he was Kansas State’s president when the Big 12 hired Bob Bowlsby as commissioner; and he knows athletic directors in multiple conferences across the country.

Early names being floated include:

  • Gene Smith, Ohio State AD (and former Arizona State AD)
  • Oliver Luck, former West Virginia AD and former NCAA vice president
  • Greg Byrne, Alabama AD (and former Arizona AD)
  • Bernard Muir, Stanford AD

If you’re interested in more, there’s no shortage of reading on the topic.

Pac-12 Conference announces Commissioner Larry Scott to conclude term as Commissioner | Pac-12
Mutual decision reached one year before the end of his contract; Scott will remain through June of this year

Pac-12 commissioner search post-Larry Scott: Ideal model, candidates
Larry Scott is stepping aside this summer, and the search for his replacement is underway. Sitting ADs like Ohio State's Gene Smith and Alabama's Greg Byrne have been mentioned as possible candidates.

Larry Scott's 11-year run as Pac-12 commissioner to end in June
Larry Scott's 11-year run as Pac-12 commissioner will end in June, the conference said Wednesday night.

Too much was at stake for the Pac-12 to allow Larry Scott to continue as its commissioner - CBSSports.com
Scott floundered in too many ways for the Pac-12 to not seek a necessary change in leadership

Canzano: Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott is out -- and it’s about time - oregonlive.com

Larry Scott: Pac-12 commissioner looks back, then steps away – The Athletic ($)
The outgoing Pac-12 commissioner started with big swings and will finish in a changed landscape. As for the TV deal? 'Hindsight is awesome.'

Why the Pac-12 needed to part ways with Larry Scott – The Athletic ($)
Scott, Pac-12 commissioner since 2009, oversaw league expansion and the launch of its TV network, but the conference's profile has weakened.

Pac-12 commissioner candidates to replace Larry Scott – The Athletic ($)
Gene Smith, Oliver Luck, Greg Byrne, Bernard Muir

Larry Scott's departure: What was the breaking point? – The Athletic ($)
Securing a lucrative media rights deal should be the top priority of the next Pac-12 commissioner.

Blake Mazza is transferring

On a non-Larry Scott-firing day, this would be pretty big news for WSU fans. Mazza has been one of the best kickers in the country over his years at WSU, and his loss surely stings. The program did bring in a juco kicker a week or so ago, but it’s hard to imagine anyone living up to Mazza’s reliability.

Of course, there’s another way to look at this, for those of you who love 4th down aggression: Perhaps having a less reliable kicker will make Nick Rolovich more likely to to go for it on 4th down next season.

Kicker Blake Mazza will transfer from Washington State to play ‘closer to home’ | The Seattle Times
Blake Mazza, who was WSU’s placekicker from 2018-20, announced Wednesday he’d be leaving the Cougars in order to play one final college football season closer to his hometown of Plano,...

Men’s hoops tonight!

Links

Here are the top Washington State Cougars basketball players who came out of Washington high schools - Washington High School Sports News, Scores, Rankings - SBLive Washington

Ready or not, college volleyball starts for area Division I teams | The Spokesman-Review
On one hand, Washington State volleyball coach Jen Greeny is happy her players will have a season after months of COVID-19-related uncertainty and unknowns. On the other hand, the Cougars open at home Friday against Oregon and Wednesday’s practice was just the team’s fifth full workout since returning to campus from an extended holiday break.

Pac-12 projections: ASU, Washington our picks for the division titles
The Huskies and Sun Devils have the fewest flaws in their respective divisions at this point in the offseason cycle, although more challengers are lined up in the South.

Utah is not a bad basketball team, but putting together a full 40 minutes has eluded Utes
To call the University of Utah a bad basketball team would be unfair.

Rematch With WSU Kicks Off Second Half of Pac-12 Play - University of Oregon Athletics
The No. 13 Ducks will kick off the second half of Pac-12 play on Friday night with a much-anticipated rematch against Washington State (5 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Network).

Women's Golf Announces 2021 Schedule - Washington State University Athletics
2021 Women's Golf Schedule

Back in Beasley, Cougs Host Utah Thursday - Washington State University Athletics
WSU looks to get back on track against the Utes.

Jon Haarlow Named Senior Associate Athletic Director/CFO - Washington State University Athletics
Jon Haarlow begins his duties with Cougar Athletics today.