Swofford might be the man who will ultimately be blamed for the demise of the ACC as we know it, but he won’t have to oversee it. That will be Jim Phillips, who succeeded Swofford.
Similarly, George Kliavkoff might have been the man in charge of the PAC-12 when the conference dissipated last summer, but he isn’t the man who is responsible for the downfall of a Power conference.
That person is Larry Scott, Kliavkoff’s predecessor.
Scott served as the commissioner of the PAC from 2009 to 2021. Scott isn’t a dummy. He is a Harvard graduate. He was the captain of the Crimson’s tennis team, so he was an athlete too. Store that fact for a little later.
He served as the president of both ATP Properties and the Women’s Tennis Association. Both companies flourished during his tenure.
I can understand why the PAC thought he would make a good commissioner. He was a successful businessman. The PAC fancied themselves as so much more than football. They probably genuinely thought Scott understood college sports because he was a tennis guy.
Let’s just say things didn’t work out. Scott was ahead of everyone except the Big Ten when it came to creating a network for the conference. The first mistake was that they decided to build it on their own without a partner (the Big Ten had partnered with FOX). This resulted in a big upfront investment.
The second mistake was overestimating how many people wanted the PAC-12 Network outside of the West Coast states. There was national demand for the Big Ten Network, not just regionally in the Midwest.
Such national demand didn’t exist for the PAC, and since they were the lone stakeholders, the financial burden was on them alone.
Scott’s tenure was plagued by other expensive ventures, such as moving the conference headquarters to pricey San Francisco and exorbitant travel costs.
Sadly for the PAC-12, it took time for these problems to come to a head. Scott seemed to be quite competent for the first few years of his tenure. By the time it became clear that he was a disaster, it was too late.
Next: Jeff Long