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Report: Pac-12 cuts costs, commish salary for coronavirus shutdown

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott speaks during the Pac-12 NCAA college basketball media day Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

The Pac-12 conference is making taking steps to save money as the coronavirus has caused a shutdown of sports worldwide, The Mercury News’ Jon Wilner reported Monday.

Among those steps is the reduction of commissioner Larry Scott’s salary by 20%, down from his normal $5.3 million annual earning, Wilner said. That salary figure was based on his fiscal year 2018 tax return as discovered by the Mercury reporter.

Wilner also reported the reduction of executive salaries by 10% and laying off 8% of the Pac-12 Network employees.

The news has different connotations depending on your perspective. On the one hand, it represents a sacrifice being made by Scott at a time when businesses far and wide are being adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Wilner reports, the conference expects to lose as much as $15 million in 2020 because of the cancellation of basketball events.

On the other hand, Scott and the Pac-12 have come under scrutiny in the past for a variety of reasons while the commissioner is among the highest paid in college sports. This, despite the fact that the Pac-12 hasn’t had a consensus national football champion since USC in 2004, a title that has since been vacated, nor a national championship in men’s basketball since Arizona in 1997.

The Pac-12 also has its headquarters in highly priced San Francisco and has aired high-profile games on its Pac-12 Network, which has less-than-ideal exposure to fans. The league’s time zone on the West Coast also has presented scheduling challenges, which have gone largely unmitigated.

All of this is to say that the optics of layoffs are poor for a conference that already was viewed as bearing unnecessary expenses and underperforming compared to its Power Five counterparts.

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