The Pac-12 intends to have a new commissioner in place when Larry Scott steps down at the end of June, according to Oregon president Michael Schill, chair of the conference’s CEO Group.
“This is a plum job,” Schill told the Hotline on Thursday, one day after the announcement that Scott’s tenure would come to an end this summer.
“We’re going to move expeditiously.”
The first step is to hire an executive placement firm to assist with the search — preferably one with college sports experience.
At that point, Schill said, the conference will craft the job description.
Central to that process is determining whether the conference would be best served with someone from the sports media industry or an experienced administrator from the world of collegiate athletics.
“That will be an inclusive process, meeting with our various stakeholders as well as the presidents and chancellors to really talk about what we’re looking for,” Schill said.
“At a minimum, we want someone who has executive capacity, who has financial acumen, who cares about students and higher education, who can articulate the values of higher education. But within that, there are lots of ways we can go.”
Schill, Washington president Ana Mari Cauce and Washington State president Kirk Schulz form the conference’s executive committee, which guides the Pac-12 CEO Group on important decisions.
During a Zoom interview on Thursday, each president offered a slightly different perspective on the candidate model.
“Nothing is off the table,” Cauce said. “Bring me really good candidates.
“If some of them are non-traditional, that’s fine … (But) it’s not like we’re going out there looking for someone that’s different.”
Schulz, who was involved in the Big 12’s commissioner search in 2012 during his tenure at Kansas State, was the most specific.
“My personal viewpoint is that we need somebody that understands the athletics world, understands how to work with a campus, how to work with presidents and chancellors,” he said.
“I watch my own space, the higher-ed space, and occasionally people are like, ‘We’re going to hire a president or chancellor that’s way outside the box.’ And a lot of times, they aren’t successful because they don’t understand the culture that they’re dealing with.
“It’s not that they aren’t talented men and women. All of us have come up through the ranks. And a lot of times you think, ‘If you come up through the ranks, you can’t possibly be a creative, outside-the-box thinker.’
“What I want is someone who brings creative ideas but also understands the culture of the west coast, which is different. I tend to think it’s a great culture, but we have to have somebody who understands that.
“I think we’re going to get incredible talent, and it’s going to come down to what we need.
“If I look at football and men’s basketball competitiveness and our footprint and those type of things, I’m going to look for somebody that doesn’t just have great ideas but has a little bit of a Rolodex and the ability to make some things happen for us.”
The CEO Group has not settled on a future home for the conference office, which is currently located in downtown San Francisco, requiring millions of dollars in annual rent payments.
“We will be hiring a great commissioner and looking for him or her to help advise us about location,” Cauce said.
“We are not wedded to having to be in that location. At the same time, we have not made the decision that we will definitely not be there.”
The same goes for the future of the Pac-12 Networks: No decisions yet from the CEOs.
“We’re not contemplating a restructuring at the moment,” Schill said. “We’ll let the commissioner look at everything, work with us.
“Obviously in 2024, our media deals are up and the landscape could change at that point. But at the moment, we’re not contemplating a restructuring.”
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