The Pac-12 has always made some interesting decisions for their conference, but they made a major splash in hiring George Kliavkoff as the commissioner. This shook up the sports world because he was the president of entertainment and sports for MGM Resorts. There isn’t a big background in college sports for Kliavkoff, but he is the man to shake up the Pac 12, which desperately needs some shaking up. The conference has continued to trend in the opposite way across most major college sports, especially football. Out of the Power 5 schools, the Pac 12 needed a breath of fresh air and a new mind was the way to go here.
Who Is George Kliavkoff?
Kliavkoff is going to replace Larry Scott, who had been the commissioner of the Pac-12 since 2009. He was the president of entertainment and sports for MGM Resorts International. Kliavkoff has dealt with the Pac-12 before, hosting games and events. With a large background in entertainment, Kliavkoff seems to have been brought in to help with the entertainment side of the Pac-12, which has been struggling. However, his eyes are still on much more, “I loved being a student-athlete, and I’m passionate about the doors that college sports and higher education open for young women and men. My job at the Pac-12 will be to help manage the balance between continued academic excellence, student-athlete well-being, and an even higher level of athletic achievement” Kliavkoff said.
Why The Change?
Larry Scott has been at the help since 2009 and has struggled to keep the Pac-12 up with conferences around the country. Kliavkoff has an eye for expanding the College Football Playoff and also tackling the issues with name and image likeness. The competitiveness of the conference on the national level for basketball and football has been lacking over the last decade. USC and Oregon are not the true contenders they once were and the basketball scene has fallen off in multiple states.
One of the major issues continues to be that the Pac-12 Network has been a trainwreck. They are far behind the Big 10 and SEC when it comes to revenue numbers. Kliavkoff has talked about being open to changes to help the network grow. One of the areas Scott lacked was his relationship with athletic leadership at schools. Scott was perceived as out of touch. Kliavkoff is going to have to make an instant impact here and capitalize on where Scott couldn’t.
There is some concern with the hire because of the lack of background in the collegiate world. We have seen other conferences struggle with bringing in new commissioners with a non-collegiate background, but given revenue and media rights are going to be an early task, Kliavkoff is going to be able to get his handprint on things early.