Pac-12: The George Kliavkoff Era Begins

Darren Perkins Editorials 38 Comments

It’s a great day to be a fan of the Pac-12 Conference as embattled commissioner Larry Scott makes his exit while incoming commissioner George Kliavkoff takes a seat in the big chair.

We all know the arrogance and poor decision-making that occurred during Scott’s reign. It’s now time to turn that page and take an optimistic approach at the arrival of a new conference leader. While we don’t know a whole lot about Kliavkoff, the man at least deserves the benefit of the doubt as he assumes the role of commissioner.

And to be brutally honest, he can’t be any worse? Right?

What are your thoughts on this transition? What needs to happen to steer the conference in the right direction?

Darren Perkins 
Spokane, Washington
Top photo credit: Twitter

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Thanks, Darren, for your post on the new PAC-12 commissioner. According to the LA Times, Kliavkoff has notable experience in media-related entities, including but not limited to roles with MGM, Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, and NBC Universal-“where he worked on the team responsible for the creation and launch of Hulu — and executive vice president of business for Major League Baseball Advanced Media.”

With his media-industry experience and contacts, if he can expand the influence of the PAC-12 Network, it may give the conference the notoriety that it deserves.

Go, Ducks……


Michael wooten OT from CA just committed to oregon. Rivals

Jon Joseph

Thanks UD.


How about this commissioner lead the charge to silicon valley to use name image and likeness with all of these big corporations like Google and Apple and even at home Nike, to create a recruiting advantage for the West Coast? What does the SEC have to offer in their footprint-Walmart?


I don’t think the big names like Google will really need to use college football players to expand their marketing… It’s the same think I saw on twitter from a UW fan. What does Amazon and Boeing gain from having trent mcduffie post on his instagram? I’d say they would not make a whole lot.

Nike on the other hand could probably do a lot of marketing with the athletes and now they can sell jerseys with names and such. athletic apparel makes sense.

I’d look for more local companies to start out at first, restaurants and local apparel. Next look at places where they can advertise themselves: Twitch, youtube etc.


The second string QB is the most liked guy on the team until he plays. The commish had a career ending injury, and now George needs to step up the game. If Pac12 had a few natties under it’s belt, I suspect many would have overlooked the private jets and such. Yes Larry was toxic, buts it game time for the new guy and he needs to step up in a big way. Blaming all the problems on Larry is not truly acknowledging the depth and number of issues. How about officiating for starters.


He can’t get sc to hire a new head coach, and hopefully the AD keeps rolling over Helton’s contract like the conference did with Larry. The conference would do better if sc did better, but I enjoy sc continuing to dissapoint.

Pac-12 officiating, IMHO, was a direct reflection on how Larry ran the conference.

Jon Sousa

Many people have commented over the last month on the fact that GK has little or no experience with sports. He is a business man with experience in the media world.

One reason for optimism in my view is looking at Oregon’s hire in Mullens. He is an athletic director who had little or no experience in athletics. He was/is a money guy.

Bean counters can learn and grow into their positions. We can say in Mullens’ early years that he made some mistakes in hiring. Looking back over the last few years, Mullens has been hitting home runs with his head coach hiring across multiple sports.

GK’s expertise in counting beans and media are the two areas that are of greatest need in the conference right now. The fact that he is listening to presidents and ACs means he is trying to learn about the aspects of the job that aren’t/weren’t in his wheel house before.


Mullens needs to help the Commish and be part of the solution.


I wish him luck, but most importantly he needs guidance from his bosses. No longer can a commissioner run the conference without accountability. Larry made the Pac-12 conference the laughing stock of college conferences, no longer!

He needs to be told the headquarters will be run within a specific budget. I could care less if the lease Larry signed is longer term, get rid of the contract, and move on. No longer can the Pac-12 outspend other conferences while underachieving on management.

The new commissioner needs to be given a timeline on the need to get a new tv contract. The valuation needs to come from real money not some pie in the sky dream scenario. The tv deal needs to bring in real money and be comparable to other conferences.

If these metrics aren’t met we move on to another commissioner. When you have set up such a poorly managed position these are the kind of metrics which should be created.

The time where a commissioner can just do what he wants and the Pac-12 suffers needs to come to an end. Real accountability needs to have been written into his contract. We will see if those in charge really learned a lesson. The Pac-12, as Bill Walton says too often, is the conference of champions, and it is time again to see that reflected in how it is run.

Jon Joseph

A good start is GK being paid about half of what Larry was bringing in.


Make it incentive bound. Save money on rent make 10% more. Get a TV contract comparable to the SEC get 50% more in salary. I have no problem paying big bucks, but you better bring in the $.


The Larry fiasco blame lays on the university presidents who weren’t paying attention and allowed the malaise and shenanigans to linger. The conference cannot fly without football becoming a high priority of the presidents. They must demand excellence from the top.


So it begins:

With NIL starting today the first Oregon Duck to announce a partnership is TE DJ Johnson. He is now partnered with Yoke Gaming. I have know idea what it is but it looks like a system designed to let you play online video games with your favorite athletes.

I truthfully have no idea on the long term ramifications of NIL, the effects on Oregon football or the effects of college athletics in general but it is going to be interesting to see.

Also in typical UW fashion they originally messed up on half of their rosters social media accounts. I follow a few people who retweeted the following thread. Essentially on the UW athletics page with the listed athletes UW had the foresight to attach twitter and instagram handles to the players profiles. Unfortunately they messed up on over half of the team, including using fan accounts, using random peoples accounts, or attaching the wrong players account to different players.

Jon Joseph


Jon Joseph

Lots of deals, as listed by The Athletic, already announced and just with football players. But Miami QB King has signed a $20,000 advertising deal.

Lots of athletes offering autographs for a fee. The above-referenced King wants $500 a pop!


GK is what the Pac-12 needs at this point….a fresh set of eyes on everything.

Larry Scott fleeced the conference for years, not only with his exorbitant salary, but how about some of the perks: A huge loan to buy a home (which apparently has not as of yet been paid), first class travel, often by private jet, lush offices in a downtown SF high rise, accommodations in 5-star hotels….and that’s just a partial list.

When I saw Scott on TV talking about all that he had accomplished as commissioner I wanted to throw a brick at the screen. This guy played us all for chumps and is walking away with a smile on his face and chuckling at the fact that he got over on everybody.

Those who were responsible for hiring him must accept some of the blame for the financial state of the conference today. Scott must have been impressive in his interview. But people have been chirping about him for years. Canzano was a one man wrecking crew when it came to Scott and I think he played a large role in helping to get rid of him.

I don’t know much about GK, other than he’s a businessman, not necessarily a hands on sports guy. The jury is out as far as I’m concerned. I hope he does well.

Regardless, he should be a major improvement over the last guy.

Jon Joseph

He was a student-athlete. He rowed on the crew team at Boston University. Graduated from UVA Law School. Involved as least tangentially with sports for a number of decades.

A cadaver would be an improvement over the last guy. A con man who found easy marks in the folks he reported to.

I wonder if Michael Crow at ASU still believes the conference is ‘perfectly positioned?’

It’s positioned like a certain character from Chaucer’s, ‘Miller’s Tale.’


Autzen stadium going to open at 100% capacity with no face coverings or proof of vaccinatin required.

Jon Joseph


Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Autzen is Open Until it Isn’t….

All COVID decisions have been passed from the state to the county Health Authorities as of today. (Note the word “Authority” in their title…)

–I could no photographers anywhere in Autzen last season, but meanwhile in Corvallis I could have TWO in the stands taking pictures and you have seen a ton of them in articles. COVID science is different in Lane County than Benton County?

–Oregon could not have anyone attending the Spring Game, but Benton County allowed OSU to…

–The Senior Lane County Health Authority Officer stated in the Eugene R-G that he (he is a Doctor as well) expects a COVID surge this fall. (Obviously this would primarily be among the unvaccinated)

What will Lane County Health Authority do? Will they lockdown? What good would THAT do? If the UnVaxxed have made this choice, then what CAN you do when there is a COVID surge?

–What metrics will they dream up for this instance? Number of UnVaxxed? Number in ICU? Number on Ventilators? When will the HUMAN factor, the impact on those who don’t have the disease be taken into account and a part of those metrics?

This is an institution that has the power of GOD in Lane County, and is accountable to no one?

My friends, Lane County Health Authority has a track record of bad decisions, and I do not expect any change from that when there is a COVID surge among the UnVaxxed this fall.


You are right to be concerned. I too worry about agency decisions that effect my every day life.
We can only wait and see.

Jon Sousa

Hopefully, this is one nightmare that we will not have to suffer through. Enough is enough. The vast majority have had enough.


As long as the surge doesn’t create hospitalizations, I “think” we will be OK. Fingers crossed.


I had the vaccinations, but I still plan on wearing a mask on the shuttle bus, walking on the concourse and steps, in the women’s room, etc., and bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer in my pocket (since they have as yet not searched us personally). Yes, I tend to be overcautious, but I’ll feel better doing so.


I’m planning on wearing a mask in the ladies room too😷🤦🏻‍♂️😂😂



Lou Farnsworth

Hey Darren, we could cut and paste a lot of the comments from the day before yesterday and they would fit right in on today’s topic huh?

Slashing the administrative budget is a no-brainer. Start by moving the HQ out of that insanely lavish Bay Area real-estate market.
Jon Joseph’s comments from the day before yesterday about reducing conference games from nine to eight, along with restructuring and eliminating the divisions, are spot on.

Landing a decent media contract is obviously more problematic. Maximizing a media deal requires that the Pac12 commands way more respect than it currently does. That will only change with winning on the field. In the immediate future it would seem that a wise course of action would be to negotiate shorter term contracts of a year or two, banking on the Pac12 becoming significantly more competitive versus other conferences.

The NCAA’s approving NIL profits for student athletes is huge. Most all of the Pac12 schools have well established brands that recruits would likely see as being good wagons to hitch their star to, ( Oregon especially with Nike ). How well GK positions the conference to capitalize on this new landscape would seem to be pivotal.

Clearly these comments aren’t anything remotely insightful. They are as obvious as daylight to anyone who has been awake during the Larry Scott Era. Let’s hope that they are as obvious to the new Commish eh?

Jon Joseph

Lou, terrific and in-depth comment.

Once again the Pac-12 powers-that-be are bringing in a person with no college and no on-campus experience. Considering the available candidates this hire sure seems to be a back-to-back rolling of the dice?

GK has excellent experience in the world of media. However, I expect that one or more consultants will be hired to help with up coming media negotiations? So, do you need a media guru at the top?

Of course, on his way out the door, Larry departs in a trail of snarky comments as he continues to deflect all responsibility for how the conference has suffered under his tenure.

I expect all eyes in SFO will be dry when Larry departs today. An unqualified, overpaid, cancer.

To date, GK is listening to his constituents. Something Larry never did.

After Larry struck out, GK most definitely has to hit a home run in what could be the conference’s bottom of the 9th?

Lou Farnsworth

A grand slam would certainly be nice, but honestly, I would be temporarily satisfied with a series of base hits that pushed in enough runs to send the game into extra innings. Assuming that GK doesn’t need the cranial-rectotomy that LS never saw a surgeon about, such a temporizing scenario might just buy GK enough time to hit a homer or few.

As we all know, the Pac12 has some amazing potential to return to football prominence. Let’s hope that GK’s head stays in the game and continues to be closer to his constituents than a certain exhaust port of his gastro-intestinal system.

Jon Joseph

GK most recently lived and worked in Las Vegas.

CBB tournament (and the NCAA has finally scheduled regional tourney games in LV) and the football champ game, are played in Las Vegas.

Obviously, a much cheaper COL across the board than in uber-expensive San Francisco. And there are many inexpensive flights into LV and many a hotel room that costs less a night than in any decent hotel in SFO. More or less a ‘central location’ for conference members.

Make any sense tp you?

[It’s making sense to a heck of a lot of Californians who are fleeing to Las Vegas in droves.]