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Pac-12 headquarters cuts staff in half in the aftermath of shutting down football for the 2020 season

Both the network and conference operations are hit with layoffs and furloughs

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Faced with a massive decline in revenue in the aftermath of shuttering the 2020 football season, the Pac-12 on Wednesday reduced its workforce by approximately 50 percent across the conference and networks divisions — at least for the time being.

The networks, which have no live events to broadcast until next year, were hit with 66 furloughs and 10 layoffs, in addition to dozens of open positions that have been forfeited.

The conference side lost 13 employees to furloughs and five to layoffs.

All told, Pac-12 headquarters went from 190 full-time employees to a remaining staff of 96.

The furloughs begin in early September and are for three months, allowing time for the vacant positions to be filled if competition resume in early 2021.

Two weeks ago, the presidents and chancellors postponed all fall and winter sports until at least Jan. 1.

“We greatly value the contributions of all of our team members and understand the important role that each of you plays in our organization,” commissioner Larry Scott wrote in a staff memo obtained by the Hotline, which has been published in full below.

“At the same time with sport competitions postponed for the months to come, and without a certain return date, wemade this difficult decision to address our financial reality and to align with the approach being taken by most of our campuses.

“Given the current outlook, we can only keep on the number of staff necessary to carry out critical duties required at this moment for our members, student-athletes and organization.”

As with the budget cuts reported on the Hotline two months ago, this round of downsizing is designed to track with expense reduction measures unfolding on the campuses.

Athletic departments across the conference are expected to implement significant layoffs, furloughs, salary reductions or all three.

Some, like Oregon State and Washington, have already done so, while others have not finalized or announced plans.

All hope to avoid eliminating the Olympic sports teams whose budgets depend on football revenue.

The moves made Wednesday at conference headquarters are the latest attempt to stabilize the Pac-12 Networks’ budget.

In the spring, the Pac-12 announced an eight percent reduction in the networks’ workforce and salary reductions for executives that have been extended through the 2020-21 school year.

The pay cuts are for conference and networks staffers earning more than $100,000 annually and range from a low of five percent to a high of 12 percent for Scott, who is the top-paid commissioner in college sports at $5.4 million annually.

(His 12-percent reduction equals $650,000.)

In the latest reporting period (fiscal year 2019), the Pac-12 Networks generated $123.4 million in revenue against $90.3 million in expenses, resulting in distributions of about $2.75 million per campus.

Without football, the budget outlook is bleak — not only for the networks but the conference as a whole.

Of the $530 million in revenue generated by the Pac-12 in FY19, more than $400 million flowed from regular-season football broadcasts and the major postseason games (the Rose Bowl and College Football Playoff).

The outlook for the budget in the 2020-21 cycle depends largely on the conference producing a football season in the winter or spring — an unprecedented feat that depends, to a large extent, on the Covid-19 situation.