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    The Pac-12 surprised its fans and the college sports world at large on May 13, 2021, when it named George Kliavkoff, the president of MGM Sports and Entertainment, as the seventh commissioner in conference history. But Kliavkoff “won the first day,” according to Oregon president Michael Schill, chair of the Pac-12 board. “He got us all to like him and have that level of confidence that he had the skill set for what it would take to be successful.” And to hear Kliavkoff’s bosses tell it, the winning streak is 364 days and counting. “He has exceeded expectations,’’ Washington State president Kirk Schulz said. “I thought he would be a great listener and suggest new ideas, but I’m impressed by how quickly he has developed into a national leader on issues like name, image and likeness (NIL) and the alliance (with the Big Ten and ACC) and in talking to our media partners. “The board didn’t lay all this out; he just did it. Not only has he done okay, but I’d argue that he has become a leader after...
    In his first account of the Pac-12’s heavily-scrutinized vote against College Football Playoff expansion, commissioner George Kliavkoff said he wanted to support the 12-team proposal but didn’t because of how the vote was framed. Kliavkoff explained his decision during an appearance on The Dave Pasch Podcast. His conversation with the ESPN broadcaster was recorded late last week and published Monday. The Pac-12’s vote has been the subject of much attention and confusion following two seemingly contradictory developments: On Jan. 10, the day of a crucial vote on expansion, the conference issued a statement saying it supported all of the proposed formats — and was, in fact, the only conference to take such a flexible stance. One month later, it was revealed that Kliavkoff had actually voted against expansion hours before the Pac-12 issued its statement supporting both the eight- and 12-team formats. Opposition to expansion by the Pac-12, ACC and Big Ten during that fateful Jan. 10 vote likely means the CFP will remain a four-team event through the 2025 season. “Lots of other stuff is going on in college...
    Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff’s strategy for the momentous media rights negotiations next year will focus on revenue opportunities, content distribution and competitive advantages, a nuanced component that could result in football start times being set a week before kickoff. As Pac-12 fans know all too well, that process has existed for a decade: The conference’s media partners (ESPN and Fox) dictate which games are played in the various broadcast windows, either six or 12 days in advance. But Kliavkoff’s plan comes with a twist: The Pac-12, not its media partners, would determine which games are played in the various time slots in order to maximize exposure for teams in playoff contention — even if it means taking a little less money from the networks. “One of the things I want to negotiate for, along with revenue and broad distribution, is the opportunity to have some flexibility with respect to when games are played and who plays in those games,’’ Kliavkoff said last week during a podcast with AJ Maestas, the CEO of Navigate, which provides data and analytics to clients...
    Two Pac-12 assistant football coaches earned at least $1 million in 2021. In the SEC, 16 assistants had seven-figure salaries. The top-paid strength coach in the Pac-12 was merely the 19th-highest paid in major college football. Meanwhile, the biggest recruiting budget in the Pac-12 doesn’t crack the top-12 nationally, according to a published report. The only thing easier to spot than Pac-12 bowl losses are examples of the conference not plowing as many resources into football infrastructure as its peers in the Power Five. New commissioner George Kliavkoff hopes to change that state of affairs by making the case to the university presidents and chancellors that investing in football can provide returns that benefit not only cash-strapped athletic departments but entire campuses. “Historically, I don’t think we’ve made a great case for the ROI of footbalI,’’ Kliavkoff told the Hotline. “I’m not going to take the opportunity to speak to my 12 bosses without talking about it. It’s going to be a constant topic. They are going to get tired of hearing it from me.’’ If Kliavkoff succeeds in convincing...
    It sounds like the College Football Playoff won’t be expanding in the near future. Despite lots of hope and optimism over the summer that the CFP would be expanding to 12 teams, it seems like those dreams are dead for the time being. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football) The College Football Playoff is on the verge of officially expanding to 12 teams. – 6 highest-ranked conference champs – 6 at-large bids – 1st round home games This is going to be ELECTRIC. — David Hookstead (@dhookstead) June 10, 2021 According to Ross Dellenger, PAC-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff touched on the topic and said, “Candidly, given everything that’s been said publicly, looks like we are stuck at four for a while.” Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff on with @johncanzanobft about CFP expansion: “Candidly, given everything that’s been said publicly, looks like we are stuck at four for a while.” More on the expansion situation in our @SInow story that posted today – https://t.co/IseFoYN4Zs — Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) January 5, 2022 This is absolute...
    The Pac-12 commissioner’s office has been a no-spin zone since George Kliavkoff took charge of the conference on July 1. That remained the case following the conclusion of his first football season — a ghastly four months that saw an unprecedented number of non-conference losses and a winless bowl season. “I would call it a disappointing season,’’ Kliavkoff told the Hotline on Sunday, the day after Utah’s loss in an epic Rose Bowl brought 2021 to its conclusion. “We had our worst non-conference performance, by winning percentage, since 1983, and a very unfortunate bowl season. We have a lot of work to do, and I’m excited to get to it.” The Pac-12 was 9-23 against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents, with 11 losses to the Mountain West and Brigham Young. It went 0-5 in bowl games and failed to produce a playoff team for the fifth consecutive season. All in all, it was an eye-opening first fall for Kliavkoff. “I saw a lot of Pac-12 football in person, and I would put our skill-position players up against any in the country,’’...
    LAS VEGAS — Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff lauded the coaching moves made recently by several schools as the carousel spins at a dizzying rate. “The news from the last week was terrific,” he said prior to the conference championship at Allegiant Stadium, “and it wasn’t just the news from USC, although that was fantastic.” The Trojans made the marquee hire, luring Lincoln Riley, a three-time playoff participant, away from Oklahoma. But Washington picked Kalen DeBoer from Fresno State, Oregon State locked up Jonathan Smith with a contract extension, and Washington State promoted interim Jake Dickert to the permanent job. In addition, Arizona State confirmed that Herm Edwards will return next season, and UCLA seemingly moved closer to retaining Chip Kelly. But the carousel hasn’t stopped spinning. Reports surfaced Friday that Miami is targeting Oregon coach Mario Cristobal, who played for the Hurricanes and is from Miami. Sources believe the Hurricanes are preparing an offer for Cristobal that could double his current salary of $4.3 million (approximately). And if Cristobal stays in Eugene, he would assuredly receive a huge contract extension,...
    New Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff says conference expansion isn’t necessary, but he’s considering it with “many schools” already reaching out. With Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, the topic of conference realignment for other conferences has never been hotter. When it comes to the Pac-12, new commissioner George Kliavkoff is playing coy about the possibility of expansion. “We believe the move by Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 to the SEC strengthens our unique position as the only Power 5 conference with teams in the Mountain and Pacific time zones,” Kliavkoff said during remarks at Pac-12 Media Day. “We have a stable, highly successful, and well-positioned membership with a high bar to entry. “Given our investments in football and men’s basketball, our historic domination of other sports, we do not think expansion is required to continue to compete and thrive. That said, the fallout from Texas and Oklahoma gives us an opportunity to once again consider expansion.”The Pac-12 has received “significant inbound interest” on expansionKliavkoff acknowledged the Pac-12 has had “significant inbound interest from many...
    New Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff said Tuesday that expansion is not “required” for the conference to thrive but all options will be considered in the wake of Texas and Oklahoma applying for membership in the SEC. In his remarks at Pac-12 media day, Kliavkoff said disruption within the Big 12 would serve to strengthen the Pac-12’s strategic position with its dominance of the western half of the country. “We do not believe expansion is required to continue to compete and thrive,” he said. The conference has received “significant inbound interest” from other schools, he added, and will evaluate its options “in a very timely manner.” Asked specifically about the Pac-12’s current configuration, with the SEC likely going to 16 teams and the ACC and Big Ten having 14 members, Kliavkoff noted: “We don’t think there’s any risk to staying at 12 teams.” Added Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens: “We have a strong 12.” Kliavkoff called the potential for a scheduling alliance — the Big Ten is the obvious option — an “interesting opportunity” that has been discussed in preliminary fashion....
    New Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff chose his words carefully but made his point clear after a new realignment wave formed in the middle of the Power Five. The conference could be open for business if the right opportunity surfaces. “I consider the Pac-12 an exclusive club with a high barrier to entry,’’ Kliavkoff said Thursday when asked about a Houston Chronicle report indicating that Big 12 anchors Texas and Oklahoma are interested in joining the SEC. “I love the schools and the teams we have today. We are not actively seeking to poach any teams from any conferences. But we’d be foolish not to listen if schools call us.” If Texas and Oklahoma were to join the SEC (or become Independents), it’s unclear which Big 12 schools would be attractive to the Pac-12 given its desire for universities that fit culturally and competitively, bring significant media value and meet the conference’s academic standards. (Of the eight schools potentially left behind, only Kansas and Iowa State are members of the prestigious Association of American Universities.) But Kliavkoff’s open-minded stance on Pac-12...
    In early April, as speculation swirled over the direction of the Pac-12’s commissioner search, the Hotline sought insight from a veteran campus administrator who has witnessed the conference’s behind-the-scenes machinations over the years. The official quickly rebuffed any attempts to discuss names or backgrounds of possible candidates and instead zeroed in on a more fundamental component: “What we need, is the best relationship-builder.” Three months later, with George Kliavkoff set to assume command on July 1, that priority hasn’t changed. For all the focus on policy and strategy, the success of Kliavkoff’s tenure depends largely on his interpersonal skills — on his ability to work collaboratively, communicate effectively, build trust and create an environment in which the campuses and the conference office move in lockstep. Is the former MGM Sports and Entertainment president and Major League Baseball executive capable of forging the relationships necessary to navigate the Pac-12 through a tumultuous period in college athletes and emerge stronger competitively and financially? The Hotline can’t answer that question because we have never met Kliavkoff. But because it’s arguably the foundational question...
    George Kliavkoff’s tenure atop the Pac-12 begins July 1 — a groundbreaking day within a tumultuous summer within an historic year for college sports. It’s the first day athletes can receive compensation for marketing and promotional endeavors through the use of their Name, Image and Likeness. It’s the deadline to transfer without penalty for the upcoming sports cycle and the start of a new fiscal year for athletic departments reeling from the COVID shutdown. And it all comes one week after a key step in the playoff expansion process and a searing rebuke of the NCAA by the Supreme Court. Against this turbulent backdrop stands a conference desperate for new leadership and vision — a conference concerned about its relevance and its future. This much seems clear: When he takes charge Thursday, Kliavkoff will have strong support from the campuses, including the school with the most valuable football brand in the Pac-12. “I’m excited to partner with George and help execute a vision for the future of the conference,” USC athletic director Mike Bohn told the Hotline last week, in...
    The Hotline mailbag is published each Friday. Send questions to [email protected] or hit me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline. Due to volume — and in some cases, the need for research — not all questions will be answered the week of submission. Thanks for your understanding. Some questions have been edited for brevity. Given that he doesn’t start until July 1, what would be your recommendations to new commissioner George Kliavkoff to immediately improve @Pac12Network for football viewing fans this fall? @BruinSharman Terrific question, largely because the focus is specific to football programming and production. (Distribution is another matter entirely and cannot immediately be solved.) And it just so happens that the Hotline has some ideas, although with one giant assumption: That Kliavkoff is willing to spend a little money. The budget is understandably tight on 3rd Street, especially on the Pac-12 Networks side of the operation. Subscriptions are evaporating — a secular issue in the cable TV industry — and as a result, revenue is declining. Yet the Pac-12 Networks are obligated to produce 850 live events each year and meet...
    George Kliavkoff was a rower at Boston University in the late 1980s. But unless he qualifies as a super-duper senior, Kliavkoff won’t be taking the field at Ohio Stadium on Sept. 11. The new commissioner’s ability to immediately impact the trajectory of Pac-12 football specifically, and the conference more broadly, is extremely limited. But there are steps Kliavkoff can take this summer — both before and after his term begins on July 1 — to address key issues and generate momentum for his first year on the job. Here’s our list. 1. Hire a diversity officer. The conference announced last summer, in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, that it would create a “head of diversity and inclusion position.” Yet here we are, some10 months later, and the job remains unfilled. Kliavkoff should make it his first staff appointment, with the goal of having someone in place by Sept. 1. The Hotline calls ’em like we see ’em, and here’s what we see: A senior-level position, reporting directly to Kliavkoff, is...
    George Kliavkoff’s name would not have appeared on a list of 25 possible candidates for the Pac-12 commissioner vacancy. Or on a list of 50 possible candidates. Or 100. His appointment to the post on Thursday was both completely surprising and entirely predictable. The Pac-12 presidents never miss a chance the zag when every shred of evidence suggests they should zig. In this case, zigging meant hiring someone with experience on a college campus or in college football, or both. In other words, the antithesis of Larry Scott, who arrived 12 years ago from the Women’s Tennis Association (and then proceeded to hire an attorney as his chief football supervisor). “Coming off a failed experiment,” one industry source said last week, “the Pac-12 cannot follow that up with another experiment.” Kliavkoff has neither campus experience or football expertise. He’s from the sports and entertainment world, with a background in the media space. His resume more closely resembles Scott’s than it does any of the Power Five commissioners whose tenures are considered successful. After they finished a Google search for Kliavkoff,...
    At the close of his first media session as Pac-12 commissioner, George Kliavkoff ventured down a path his predecessor rarely, if ever, traversed. In response to a question about women’s basketball, Kliavkoff said: “We know where our bread is buttered. We’re focused on the revenue sports and winning in football and men’s basketball.” That’s a sentence Pac-12 fans have longed to hear from a conference that seemingly cares as much about success in the Olympic sports as in the prime revenue drivers. In fact, Kliavkoff, who was introduced Thursday, went so far as to admit improvement is needed. When asked about the Pac-12’s weaknesses as a conference, Kliavkoff responded: “If we’re being honest, it’s the number of years since (the Pac-12 has) won a football or men’s basketball championship.” That would be 17 and 24 years, respectively, and the honesty will no doubt play well with a constituency used to spin and platitudes. At one point during the media session, Kliavkoff, whose tenure begins July 1, sketched out a plan to improve...
    Instagram now allows users to select up to four pronouns Mountain Dew Is Releasing a Cake Smash Flavor That Tastes Like Dessert © Provided by Sports Illustrated Kliavkoff will replace Larry Scott, who has been the conference's commissioner since 2009. The Pac-12 has hired sports entertainment executive George Kliavkoff as its new commissioner, according to the Associated Press' Ralph Russo.  Kliavkoff was the president of MGM Sports & Entertainment since 2018. In his role, Kliavkoff had been responsible for the operations, finance, strategy, booking, marketing, sponsorships and ticketing for MGM Resorts' more than 30 theaters, showrooms and arenas. Prior to his time at MGM, he served as the CEO of Jaunt Inc., an augmented and virtual reality start-up that worked with clients like NFL, NBA and MLB, to develop immersive content technologies. He also previously served in executive roles with Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, NBC Universal and Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Kliavkoff replaces Larry Scott, who announced his departure in January but is staying on until June 30. Scott took over as commissioner in March 2009 after previously serving as...
    SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — The Pac-12 has hired sports entertainment executive George Kliavkoff to be the conference’s next commissioner, replacing Larry Scott with a person with a similar resume short on college sports experience. The Pac-12 announced Thursday a news conference for 11 a.m. Pacific. A person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press that Kliavkoff, the president of MGM Resorts sports and entertainment, was the choice. READ MORE: 3 Suspects In Custody In San Jose Jewelry Store Armed Robberies Conference officials confirmed the selection Thursday morning. George Kliavkoff to serve as new Pac-12 Commissioner. A sports & media executive, he brings unparalleled expertise in managing change & driving results from roles at MGM Resorts, Hearst, NBCUniversal & MLB Advanced Media. Full Info ➡️ https://t.co/MmlYtnYvN5#BackThePac pic.twitter.com/JSJbTzjL4h READ MORE: College Admissions Scandal: Mill Valley Executive William McGlashan Sentenced To 3 Months Prison — Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) May 13, 2021 “This is a challenging time for intercollegiate athletics, but I believe these challenges also create significant opportunities,” Kliavkoff said in a statement. “I loved being a student-athlete,...
    MGM executive George Kliavkoff is the new commissioner of the PAC-12. According to a release from the conference, the incredibly high-ranking entertainment and business executive has been tapped to lead the PAC-12 after Larry Scott was kicked to the curb. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football) George Kliavkoff to serve as new Pac-12 Commissioner. A sports & media executive, he brings unparalleled expertise in managing change & driving results from roles at MGM Resorts, Hearst, NBCUniversal & MLB Advanced Media. Full Info ➡️ https://t.co/MmlYtnYvN5#BackThePac pic.twitter.com/JSJbTzjL4h — Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) May 13, 2021 Admittedly, I don’t know anything about Kliavkoff. In fact, I’d never even heard of him before it broke that he was being hired. However, I know the PAC-12 has to swing for the fence, and all options have to be on the table as the conference slips into irrelevancy. The PAC-12 went from being legit to being a joke over the course of the past decade. Now, Kliavkoff has been tasked with turning the ship around. BREAKING The next #Pac12 commissioner is...
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