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Pac-12 fires two employees for failing to disclose a $50 million overpayment

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Coug fans. It’s relatively quiet on the WSU athletics front, although the WSU women lost to USC last night and the men are in Colorado prepping for tomorrow’s matchup against the Buffaloes. WSU football also received a commitment from a Colorado high school defensive lineman. But let’s talk about another Pac-12 snafu.

Jon Wilner reported yesterday that the Pac-12 fired Pac-12 Networks President Mark Shuken and CFO Brent Willman for failing to disclose an overpayment of....are you ready for this?....$50 MILLION! The overpayment came from an unnamed “media distribution partner.”

The findings came from an audit conducted in 2017 and Shuken and Willman apparently did nothing about it, including notifying the Pac-12 board of directors, which is made up of the university presidents. It’s unclear if former Pac-12 CEO Larry Scott was aware of the overpayment, though Scott was interviewed during the investigation, according to Wilner.

Cooley, LLP conducted the investigation.

The Pac-12 released just a brief statement but a longer timeline of events. The reason for Shuken and Willman’s ousters were the result of this:

The Cooley investigation concluded that:

Two current senior Pac-12 executives were aware of an overpayment from a distribution partner since late 2017;

These executives failed in their obligations and duties to immediately disclose this information related to an immediate and material financial risk to the Pac-12 to the Pac-12 Board of Directors and the Pac-12’s external auditors; and

These executives failed in their ongoing obligation and duty to disclose this information to the Pac-12 Board of Directors and the Pac-12’s external auditors.

So, Shuken and Willman were made aware of a $50 million overpayment in 2017 and decided to tell absolutely nobody. That $50 million is either with the schools or already spent, presumably.

This isn’t the kind of news the conference wants as it negotiates a new TV deal, but new CEO George Kliavkoff appears to have initiated the correct process and seems to be pretty transparent with the timeline of events. More information could come out later, but for now we have another reminder of just how poorly the conference was managed in the past.