Digesting The Latest Pac-12 Snafu
Jan 21, 2023, 3:34 PM
SALT LAKE CITY- Two steps forward and one step back might be the best way to describe the latest news coming out of the Pac-12.
On Friday evening in the ultimate news dump, the Pac-12 Conference released a statement that they had terminated two executives of the Pac-12 Networks after an independent investigation uncovered they neglected to alert the Board of Directors (school presidents) of overpayments received by a distributer.
The investigation determined the executives were aware of the situation after a conference audit back in 2017 uncovered the overpayments by the distributing partner for the 2016 year and prior.
In 2022 the distributing partner claimed the overpayments totaled over $50 million.
The #Pac12 put on a Friday news dump master class today. Firing two senior level executives (one of which reportedly is the head of the Pac-12 Networks) for not disclosing $50 million in overpayments from a distribution partner since 2016…
— Jake Hatch (Yawk) (@JacobCHatch) January 21, 2023
Another Black-Eye In The Midst Of Progress
Recently the Pac-12 has been making positive headlines after the conference finished the 2022 football season with six teams ranked in the final AP Top 25 and being the conference with the most 10-plus win teams (five) for the season.
Naturally the positive press for the conference was a welcomed change after years of being dubbed the “weakest” of the Power Five and was garnering excitement for the upcoming 2023 football season which could feature five of the best quarterbacks in the game playing against each other.
The latest news however was a step back in progress and a stark reminder of the damage former Pac-12 Conference Commissioner Larry Scott bestowed upon the league for nearly a decade before current Commissioner George Kliavkoff took over.
Kliavkoff has certainly appeared to be the breath of fresh air the Pac-12 needed, but there is clearly more work to be done to exorcise all the demons left behind by Scott. Taking swift and appropriate action to investigate and later remove some of the problems remaining from the Scott era was a good start and should give Pac-12 fans hope that things will eventually get cleaned up in an honest manner.
Two of the biggest questions remaining from the latest episode of “As The Pac-12 Turns” include:
1) What was the ultimate end game here?
As it turns out, the executives didn’t appear to have benefited or profited from withholding the information about the overpayments from the Board of Directors in anyway which begs the question, “why?”
Hopefully more information will come out as the weeks go by in an effort to clarify what the point and purpose was here for the execs because if it’s really true they gained nothing, it’s absolutely baffling why you wouldn’t say something.
2) Who will end up footing this bill?
Shockingly (sarcasm font), the distributor wants their money back. While with the information we currently have it seems unfair, that indicates the schools who were left in the dark by people they were trusting to be forthright in keeping them up-to-date on such matters will have to foot this bill.
In a perfect world it would seem just that somehow the executives responsible and perhaps Scott as well, should be getting the receipt for their ineptitude, but that likely would mean nasty legal litigation and it’s hard to say if Kliavkoff and the Pac-12 would want to go down that road.
Time will tell what ultimately happens with this story if anything.
Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports
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