Report: Pac-12 starting 'process of separating' from commissioner George Kliavkoff

On3 imageby:Nick Schultz02/13/24

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The Pac-12 is beginning the “process of separating” from commissioner George Kliavkoff, Pac-12 Hotline’s Jon Wilner reported. He’s in his third academic year with the conference.

Kliavkoff joined the Pac-12 in 2021 after starting his career as a sports entertainment executive. He succeeded Larry Scott and signed a five-year contract upon his arrival.

The Pac-12 announced the news in a statement.

“The Pac-12 Conference Board has given the departing 10 schools notice of a proposed leadership transition with an invitation to provide comment,” the conference said. “We expect to provide more information following a decision in the coming days.”

Kliavkoff previously worked for MLB Advanced Media and Hearst Communications before landing at MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas as president of entertainment and sports. Upon Scott’s departure from the Pac-12, the conference opted to bring Kliavkoff in as what Oregon president Michael Schill described as a “new prototype” for a commissioner.

His tenure was a bumpy road. 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, and while the conference announced it was starting media negotiations, no deal came to fruition.

Colorado announced its plans to return to the Big 12 in July, and Kliavkoff presented a potential deal with Apple in later in the month. A meeting was called later in the week as part of a “last ditch effort” to keep the conference together regarding the grant of rights. 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, leaving effectively the “Pac-2” of Oregon State and Washington State behind to figure out what’s next.

Once both schools received control of the conference, though, questions arose about George Kliavkoff’s future as commissioner. It appears the plan is for both sides to move on, and Tuesday’s announcement was the first step in that process.

Oregon State and Washington State 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 discussions with a “5+7” format on the table. 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.