New PAC-12 Commissioner: A head-scratcher decision?

We will learn more over time, but I must admit I do not get this one. No experience in college athletics???

Had to check the date, this seems like a practical joke. Dude strikes me as another Larry Scott, perhaps a more expensive version. Hope he gets a good staff that can liason between the PAC offices and the campuses.

I hope this doesn’t come back to bite us.

His background in TV, marketing, sponsorships, and ticketing will be a great help to the league overall and should help in getting wider reach for the Pac-12 Network among other things. This could be a Moneyball type innovation for college athletics.


That is probably the best justification. The conference has taken such a beating in television deals that I wouldn’t blame the presidents for focusing on that critical revenue source.

That is my thought. I think the athletic aspects can be handled by whatever subordinates he hires. The conference needs some major help with TV and sponsorships in particular. There is a lot of untapped cash up for grabs in the Pac 12 footprint but there needs to be some leadership to properly go after those dollars. In that case Kliavkoff seems like the right guy.

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My reaction was the same as @LAUte. So I like your POV on this hire.

I have a feeling we hit a home run with this guy. His experience and success in media (including digital) and P.R., and organizational and interpersonal skills is just what is needed. He can complement whatever he lacks in college sports knowledge with subordinate hires. If he’s willing to actually listen, as he claimed, we will see the needed changes and improvements. I feel good about this hire.

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This guys number 1 job and probably his only job is to get more money to the athletic departments. It appears that he has the background to for this. Hopefully he will be a better listener and communicator with the public as well as with the people he reports to.



I am in the anybody but Larry Scott camp, so this guy seems like a good hire. Heck Larry the cable guy would be a better hire than our current commissioner.

I wonder if he will try and move the PAC 12 offices to Vegas so he will not have to move or borrow 2 million from the conference and never pay back.

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I kind of hope they move the offices to Vegas. Cheaper commercial real estate there than in the Bay area.

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Here’s what he needs to do to be successful.

  1. get money;

  2. work with the ADs to get a bette product so that they can get money;

  3. stop bleeding money on stupid ■■■■;

  4. fix the reffing so that we have a better product so we can get money;

  5. get. Money.

If he can do that we are golden. Larry Scott didn’t give a crap about money and did all of those things poorly.


EVERYWHERE is cheaper real estate than where the PAC-12 offices were. Literally. We owe a debt of gratitude to Larry for getting us in the conference, but the guy was a clown.


Canzano: New Pac-12 Commissioner’s first-day performance cleared the bar

May 14, 2021

By John Canzano | The Oregonian/OregonLive

The first day on the job for Pac-12 Commissioner Whatchamacallit must have felt like a roller derby. He performed an introductory news conference, talked with a few conference coaches and administrators, and then did a round of 1-on-1 interviews.

My first question for George Kliavkoff was, “How do you pronounce your name?”

“It’s phonetic,” the new guy said. “ Klee-ahhv-koff.

Or as Arizona State coach Herm Edwards called him to his face on Thursday, “Commissioner K.”

The first-day itinerary for Kliavkoff included a meeting with staff members at the conference headquarters and Pac-12 Networks. I was more interested in how that interaction went than anything else on Day 1. Kliavkoff won the news conference. He was impressive, smart, succinct and said all the right things. But what this conference really needs is for Kliavkoff to win the daily interactions with his staff and the conference campuses.

The feedback from staff members who were in the meeting?

Said one, “He was really likable and said some smart things.”

Said another, “Found him to be easy going.”

Also one said, “He dropped that he and (Pac-12 Network head) Mark Shuken go way back. Obviously a lot of the conference people know him fairly well from the conference tournament. Now seems doubtful that there will be any interesting upper-management changes in the foreseeable future.”

The Pac-12 is starving for a leader right now. One that will respect and value the staff. One that won’t be afraid to make changes and challenge stale practices. The conference office still has some incompetent performers in a couple of key positions. A lot of us are interested to see how quickly Kliavkoff sniffs that out.

The bar sure is set low, isn’t it?

Larry Scott did that to us. Kliavkoff has an opportunity to clear it easily on a daily basis and come away looking like the savior of the conference. All he needs to do is make wise decisions, treat people with respect, collaborate some and avoid looking like an emotionally detached and out-of-touch suit.

Media rights negotiations?

Outsourced, he said. That’s wise. The SEC hired Creative Artists Agency to help negotiate their media deals. It’s no secret that they had the best product to sell, but the days of a major conference negotiating its own television contracts has long ago sailed.

The downtown San Francisco headquarters at $11 million a year in annual rent?

“We are not wedded to the current lease and the payment obligations to it,” Kliavkoff said. “Even if we stay in San Francisco it will be less expensive space.”

The strained relationship between the Pac-12 commissioner’s office and the conference athletic directors?

“I’m going to learn and I’m going to be open,” he told me. “Every job I’ve had has been successful because of the relationships I’ve built. It’s my intention to build deep, real relationships with the ADs and with the coaches.”

Time out.

Is there a doctor in the house? I’ve got whiplash.

A few years ago in the annual Pac-12 meeting in Las Vegas, then-Utah AD Chris Hill was pressing then-commissioner Scott on budget issues and poor revenue distribution. Hill was a senior member and well regarded by his peers. He pushed the sitting commissioner for answers – and was cut off.

Scott sniped at Hill: “You’re lucky for what you get.”

Four different Pac-12 athletic directors in the room at the time recounted that exchange for me. It bothered them deeply that the conference commissioner managed up to his bosses (the presidents and chancellors) while he treated the ADs as underlings.

Said one conference athletic director, “He resisted even giving us the details of the financials and we’re the ones dealing with budgets on a daily basis.”

The Pac-12 has lovely geography, great history and a line of gifted coaches and athletes. It has great facilities and built-in fan bases. What the conference needs more than anything right now is great leadership. It’s why I pored over everything Kliavkoff said in his first 24 hours, looking for clues, hoping to be inspired.

He performed well at the first news conference. He was very good in the individual media sessions. But I was far more interested to hear from his staff. They’re stuck with him and will need to work with him on a daily basis.

“People are willing to give him a chance,” one staff member told me after the group meeting.

I’ll do the same. The Kliavkoff hire made some uneasy. Probably because he was an unknown in the sports world. Or maybe because he comes from the corporate world and has little connection to college campuses. Maybe all that reminds some too much of the painful act of the last guy. Still, the bar is low and Kliavkoff looks capable of clearing it easily. When I spoke with him, he sounded a lot like a builder who had constructed great things in his previous stops.

Why would anyone in the conference footprint root against Kliavkoff having success?

I sure won’t.

The new commissioner told me on Thursday that he’ll meet with all 12 athletic directors at once in the coming weeks. The ADs requested that and he’s honoring it. The primary objective Kliavkoff said is, “understanding what the conference can do to help them achieve their goals.”

It’s just one day. A measly 24 hours. Kliavkoff may have been on his best behavior because he knew we were all watching. But man, it felt like a breath of fresh air, didn’t it?

Yes it does!

I believe one of the trickier parts of the commissioners job will be to realize how different the PAC12 conference and the Western part of the US is to many of its peers. One one side of the spectrum you have the IVY league conference which clearly values athletics differently than the other side of the conference spectrum - the SEC. The PAC12 seems closer (albeit still far away) to the IVY league mentality than the other P5’s. There’s nothing wrong with that except if your expectations are to match the passion and intensity of the SEC/B1G in major sports.