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Friday, October 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: The schools in the Pac-12 are falling further behind their peers financially as the conference’s commissioner earns a raise

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott speaks at Pac-12 NCAA college football Media Day, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (Mark J. Terrill / AP)
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott speaks at Pac-12 NCAA college football Media Day, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (Mark J. Terrill / AP)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The Pac-12 decided to share its financial information with everyone yesterday and, while the transparency is appreciated, the idea the conference’s commissioner is making more than $5 million a year seems a bit over the top.


• Larry Scott was paid $5,291,481 to oversee the conference and the Pac-12 Networks. That was in 2017, the latest year available. It also seems to be a lot of money to pay someone whose conference is, financially anyway, falling well behind its peers.

The Pac-12, in a press conference yesterday featuring Scott and University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Phillip DiStefano, also released figures on conference payouts to each school.

The Pac-12 members, including Washington State, received $31.3 million in fiscal year 2018. That sounds really impressive. But then you realize each Big Ten school is receiving $54 million (other than a couple of new members) and you flinch.

Almost $23 million a year in revenue makes it a lot easier to make ends meet. Heck, if Washington State earned an extra $23 million a year it could pay back its athletic debt in less time than it takes an undergraduate to get through school.

Don’t hold your breath, however. The Pac-12’s revenue streams are what they are and they are not going to get any larger. Oh, there may be a one-time infusion of money coming in if Scott’s plan to sell equity in the Networks pans out, but that seems about it.

The conference of champions will always be also-rans financially.

• The conference also announced a couple of other changes yesterday, no longer mandating a year without playing for athletes who transfer between conference schools – welcome to the 21st Century – and injecting itself into non-conference basketball scheduling.

Each school will have tougher guidelines to follow as they schedule their fewer non-conference games next season, limiting a school’s ability to schedule its way to 10 wins. The idea is to improve each school’s NET ranking, which boosts the NET rankings of each school contending for an NCAA at-large berth.

Of course, winning games is still the No. 1 priority if you want to make the tournament.


Gonzaga: Former GU player Zach Collins, the Bulldogs’ first one-and-done, is making an impression with the Trail Blazers. Veteran sports writer Kerry Eggers has more in this story. Collins’ team was swept from the playoffs last night. … Around the WCC, BYU is upgrading its scheduling as well.

NIC: The Cardinals won a couple NWAC titles yesterday.

Preps: Washington’s state golf tournaments begin today and Jim Meehan has you covered. He has a preview of the 4A events here in town and a look at one of the participants. … We also have a roundup of yesterday’s baseball action.

Mariners: We wrote about the M’s struggles to develop a bullpen this year and two things happened recently that fit right in. The Mariners lost 10-9 in Texas last night and Jerry DiPoto made another trade of relief pitchers. … Today's starter has been decided.

Seahawks: The OTAs begin this week and Bob Condotta has five things to watch. … There are also going to be position battles.


• We have a heads up for you. You might notice today’s report is a bit short. There’s a simple reason for that. I’m dealing with some health issues. Nothing major, but it’s enough to keep me bed-ridden for a while. I tried to play golf yesterday and had to pull out after nine holes, despite having a birdie and couple pars (which is great for me). I’ve been barely moving since. Until later …

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