Analysis: New Pac-12 commissioner promises fresh path for conference beset with problems

After just a few minutes on a Zoom call with reporters Thursday, you could tell new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff had done his homework.

Without being asked, Kliavkoff read a laundry list of issues that have roiled the league for years as it relates to the commissioner’s office: listening and building relationships with people on campuses, optimizing revenue, fixing distribution issues with the Pac-12 Networks, re-examining kickoff times and lamenting the lack of championships won in the marquee sports of football and men’s basketball. 

Though it would have been too awkward for Kliavkoff to say it this explicitly, the subtext of the entire presentation was clear: Remember the last guy you complained about until you finally ran him out of town? I’m here to do the opposite.

At the very least, it was a promising beginning for Kliavkoff, whose name sent people throughout college sports straight to a Google search when it first surfaced — which naturally led to some raised eyebrows over a résumé that includes lots of experience in sports and digital media but none on a college campus. 

When the Pac-12 announced in January it was parting ways with Larry Scott, the assumption was that the league’s presidents might lean toward an old hand from the College Sports Industrial Complex as a stabilizer and relationship builder to clean up what had become a pretty toxic relationship between the commissioner’s office and the Pac-12 athletics departments. 

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