George Kliavkoff, Pac-12 officially agree to part ways

On3 imageby:Nick Schultz02/16/24

NickSchultz_7

The Pac-12 has agreed to part ways with commissioner George Kliavkoff, the league announced on Friday. The decision comes after the conference board provided notice of a potential “leadership transition” on Feb. 13.

Kliavkoff’s last day will be Feb. 29.

“The Pac-12 Board of Directors announced today that the Conference and George Kliavkoff have mutually agreed to part ways, effective February 29, 2024. More details about new leadership of the Pac-12 will be announced next week,” the conference said in a press release.

Kliavkoff took over for Larry Scott as Pac-12 commissioner in July 2021 after serving as the president of entertainment and sports for MGM Resorts International. Before that, he worked for MLB Advanced Media and Hearst Communications, and joined the Pac-12 without college administration experience.

Upon Scott’s departure, the Pac-12 opted to bring Kliavkoff in what Oregon president Michael Schill described as a “new prototype” for a commissioner. He took over at the start of the “NIL era” in college sports, and joined SEC commissioner Greg Sankey for conversations on Capitol Hill in May 2022.

Now, as the Pac-12 gets ready to lose 10 teams in July, Kliavkoff is on his way out the door. It’s the latest step the two remaining schools – Oregon State and Washington State – are taking as they assess what’s next for the league.

A closer look at George Kliavkoff’s tenure as Pac-12 commissioner

Kliavkoff’s tenure was a bumpy road, though. As the Big Ten and Big 12 worked out new media rights deals, the Pac-12 found itself falling behind from the other power conferences. Things got even more challenging on that front when USC and UCLA announced their departures for the Big Ten. Although the conference announced it was starting media negotiations, no deal came to fruition.

After Colorado announced its plans to return to the Big 12 in July, Kliavkoff presented a potential deal with Apple. Then, later in the week, a meeting was called as part of a “last ditch effort” to keep the conference together. However, Arizona State president Michael Crow said Oregon and Washington didn’t show up – and the league split up.

Oregon and Washington are joining USC and UCLA in the Big Ten in 2024, while the “Four Corners” schools of Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah are all headed to the Big 12. Cal and Stanford later announced they were joining the ACC. That left effectively the “Pac-2” of Oregon State and Washington State  to figure out what’s next.

The two remaining programs announced a scheduling agreement with the Mountain West in football and plans to join the West Coast Conference in non-football sports except baseball. The conference also still has a seat at the table in College Football Playoff as discussions continue about a “5+7” format. Under that model, the five highest-ranked conference champions – the now “Power Four” and a Group of 5 – would receive a bid in the 12-team field.