• Loading stock data...
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
  • -
    days
  • -
    hours
  • -
    minutes
  • -
    seconds

The George Kliavkoff Era in the Pac-12 Comes to an End: How It Fell Apart

  • The beleaguered commissioner presided over the conference’s demise.
  • Kliavkoff will be replaced by Teresa Gould, the first female power conference commissioner.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday marks the final day of George Kliavkoff’s short and tumultuous tenure as commissioner of the Pac-12. He will be remembered as the commissioner who presided over the conference’s demise. 

Kliavkoff took up the position in the spring of 2021. An outsider to college sports but an experienced marketer with MGM Sports and Entertainment, the conference had hoped he would inject modernity into the Pac-12 after commissioner Larry Scott departed. Kliavkoff inherited a conference in turmoil: Its once-great football reputation had sunk, and its once-innovative TV deal had proved a money-loser. The conference’s bright spot: powerful Olympic sports programs—though Kliavkoff largely eschewed them during his early days. 

Costly Mistakes

Kliavkoff suffered an early blow in the summer of 2021, when USC and UCLA made a surprise move to the Big Ten. Though the conference would lose two of its biggest brands, Kliavkoff wasn’t concerned—fast-forward to the summer of ’22, and he was talking a big game about an innovative media deal, calling the Pac-12’s position enviable.

But it took him too long to negotiate. He was leapfrogged by the ever-aggressive Brett Yormark and the Big 12. His constituents grew increasingly impatient as rumors of more realignment flew. Their conference still lacked a media deal by July 2023. The best he could deliver: an exclusive Apple TV+ deal with a base of $20 million per school and escalator fees—not even equivalent to what the conference’s schools were currently making, let alone their competitors in other leagues. The Pac-12 crumbled before Kliavkoff’s eyes, leaving none but Washington State and Oregon State.

Missing in Action

Kliavkoff could’ve taken control as the crusader of the new Pac-2 but instead disappeared into the shadows. He was not part of phone calls between Oregon State and Washington State administrators about next steps. Court documents stated he violated conference bylaws to appease department members. When the schools sued for control of the conference’s assets, he wasn’t even present in the courtroom.

Moving On

Kliavkoff will be succeeded by deputy commissioner Teresa Gould, who officially begins her role Friday as the first female power conference commissioner. She’ll be tasked with rebuilding the conference or steering its current members to permanent new homes, as well as handling conference legal liabilities and presiding over football media deals. 

“We look forward to her leadership as we write the next chapter in the Pac-12’s storied history,” Washington State president Kirk Schulz said.

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Chicago’s Sports Media About to Experience a Major Shake-Up

Three Chicago pro teams’ media rights could shift to Stadium as soon as this fall.

To Sum Up Current Commanders, Coyotes Situations: It’s Complicated

The Commanders hire a Capitol Hill insider as the team continues its stadium pursuit.

Star-Studded NBA Play-In a Potential Ratings Boon for ESPN and TNT

The initial portion of the NBA postseason features three former MVPs.

NBA’s Two Tourneys Drive Record Attendance

Total attendance for the 2023–24 season, which ended Sunday, was 22,538,518.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Inside the Most-Hyped WNBA Draft in History

0:00
0:00

Featured Today

Women’s Basketball Finally Has a TV Deal to Match the Excitement. Now What?

A lucrative new media-rights contract could rectify problems of the past, but the future of March Madness media rights is anyone’s guess.
Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) cuts the net after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels for the ACC Conference Championship at Capital One Arena.
April 6, 2024

How Two College Seniors Helped DJ Burns Cash In on a Final Four Run

Two college seniors are facilitating deals for NC State’s big man.
Mar 31, 2024; Portland, OR, USA; NCAA officials measure the three point line while coaches from the Texas Longhorns and NC State Wolfpack watch with referees in the finals of the Portland Regional of the NCAA Tournament at the Moda Center center.
April 1, 2024

NCAA Has No One to Blame for Latest Women’s March Madness Transgressions

NCAA is still making avoidable mistakes three years after a complete overhaul.
Nov 16, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; General view of the championship banners at Assembly Hall prior to the game between Austin Peay and Indiana.
March 31, 2024

How to Make It in Basketball: Become a Manager at Indiana

Inside the Hoosiers’ unglamorous, profoundly rewarding incubator for basketball’s biggest names.

Careers

Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Nike
Multiple - USA Careers
NBA
Multiple - USA Careers
Dunham's Sports
Multiple - USA Careers

‘Nothing Is Off the Table’: New AAC Commissioner Isn’t Afraid of the Controversial Ideas

Tim Pernetti told reporters he’s specifically interested in private equity—and didn’t rule out athlete employment or unionization models.
April 10, 2024

Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer Retires With ACC Move Looming

She set the all-time coaching record with 1,216 wins.
April 10, 2024

Deion Sanders: NFL Teams Manipulate Draft Positions

Coach Prime joined ‘Front Office Sports Today’ to discuss the state of college football.
Sponsored

Rapid Returns: How Technology Is Getting You Back to Your Seat

How Oracle’s POS technology is helping fans get back to their seats faster.
April 9, 2024

John Calipari’s Kentucky Exit Is As Slow and Awkward As a Dog in a Stroller

Calipari steps away from Kentucky with the Arkansas deal still unofficial.
April 9, 2024

Simultaneous Final Fours: An Untenable Logistical Conundrum

The women’s Final Four has gotten much too big to take place at the exact same time—in a different location—as its men’s counterpart.
April 8, 2024

With Back-To-Back Titles, UConn Proves Basketball Is About More Than Power

Unlike in FBS football, a non-Power 5 basketball school can dominate.
April 8, 2024

South Carolina’s Title Win Smashes Ratings Records in Caitlin Clark’s Finale

The NCAA title game became the most-watched women’s college basketball game.